HARLINGEN — History will not be deterred by a little construction.
Officials at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park say the facility will remain open for the next month to six weeks despite the repaving of one of the three main trails.
The U.S. battle line portion of the park’s trail will be closed for repaving beginning Monday, and access to the battlefield overlook may be limited due to construction traffic.
“We have a main trail that goes out to the overlook of the battlefield, and then we have two additional trails that come off of that,” said Doug Murphy, director of operations at the battlefield.
“One goes along the Mexican battle line and one along the U.S. battle line. We’re re-doing the U.S. battle line trail right now because it’s the one in the worst condition.
“It’s about a thousand-foot-long trail and we will have to close it while they’re working on it but we tried to schedule it this time of year when our visitation is a little bit lower,” he added.
Murphy said repaving the trail to the U.S. battle line is part of a series of upgrades the national historical park has been making. He said the trails were laid down as asphalt, which has not weathered the Texas heat well. The new trails will be concrete.
“Our main trail we’ve already re-done as a concrete trail, and this one is off of the main trail,” he said. “Hopefully, next year we’ll be able to do the other last major trail in the park.”
Murphy said the battlefield has been working on new ways to bring visitors to the park, such as family-friendly Saturday morning programs, which are free. The park also has no entrance fee.
“We did a program on the tortoises in the park, and we’ve done one on mosquitoes and how soldiers dealt with mosquitoes and we’re going to do an activity to look at some of the nature on the site in coming weeks,” he said.
One of the programs scheduled will be a look at how the U.S.-Mexican War was presented in the popular press at the time it occurred in the mid-1800s.
“We’re trying to do programs that would be suitable for kids but also for whole families, so it’s not just that you’re doing a kids program and the parents are sitting there wondering why they came,” he added. “For kids we’ll have an activity they can do and for adults something that will keep them interested as well.”
The park’s schedule can be found on its website at www.nps.gov/paal/
If you go
WHAT — Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
WHERE — 7200 Paredes Line Road, Brownsville
DIRECTIONS —The park is located on Brownsville’s north side, near the city of Los Fresnos. It is just north of the intersection of FM 1847 (Paredes Line Road) and FM 511/FM 550.
HOURS — The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park’s busy season runs from November through May. During the month of May, the visitor center and trails are often busy with school field trips in the mornings. Park trails close at 4:30 p.m. All gates are locked at 5 p.m.
COST — Free
WEBSITE — www.nps.gov/paal/