The Space Between
“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” – Betty Smith, Joy in the Morning
By Sonja Sommerfeld
While 95 percent of the Valley's native habitat is gone, there are a few Hidalgo County nature preserves and parks where native plants and animals thrive. The parks featured here lie nestled along the meandering bends of the Rio Grande.
Santa Ana is one of the crown jewels of the national wildlife refuge system. Its 2,088 acres of wild space along the Rio Grande are home to more than 400 species of birds, hundreds of native plants and half of all North American butterfly species.
Much of Santa Ana and the other parks in this photo essay could end up in the space between the Rio Grande and a proposed border wall.
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and the adjacent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge tracts contain a treasure of tropical birds and Valley specialties, along with valuable woodlands and resacas, or old river channels.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has 18 units across the Lower Rio Grande Valley known as the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area. These thorn forest sanctuaries provide opportunities for hunters and migrating wildlife alike.
The 96 acres next to Anzalduas Dam provide Mission-area residents with a family-friendly park where they can step away from their daily cares and commune with nature.