MISSION, Texas - First the National Butterfly Center, then the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and now Bentsen State Park is in the crosshairs of the Border Wall.
Rio Grande Valley residents are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to put a stop to levee-border wall plans threatening the park; as the levee stands between Bentsen Visitors Center and its trails. They say since a similar-levee border wall was built at the World Birding Center in Hidalgo, about 900 acres of the wildlife refuge and its hiking trails closed in 2009.
Some fear the same would happen at Bentsen State Park.
Resident Scott Nicol says, "As of now the federal government has been given the money to turn all of Hidalgo County’s levees into levee border walls except at Santa Ana. That means Bentsen, the Butterfly Center, La Lomita Chapel, all of that would be behind the new levee border wall."
Nicol also adds that the area relies on Bentsen for ecotourism dollars. A large part of the economy comes from birders that visit the area. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club says the proposed levee-border wall would be an 18 foot-tall concrete slab that would not allow for the passage of wildlife.