Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sabal Palm Sanctuary to Close

The Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary in Brownsville, Texas, will close to the public from at least May 15 to June 15 due to poor economic conditions and uncertainty caused by the border wall.

The sanctuary's original mission of preserving one of the nation's last oases of healthy sabal palm habitat had been augmented in recent years by nature education efforts that expanded its role to that of a community nature center. Regrettably, donors buffeted by the recession have significantly cut back support and there is uncertainty about the Homeland Security border fence that threatens to cut off the facility from the community, effectively decimating the sanctuary's operating budget....

The 557-acre property, owned by The National Audubon Society, is home to the last remaining largest stand of native sabal palms in the nation; and is among the most biologically diverse regions in the Lone Star state. Aside from being a birder's paradise, rare plants and animals are seen here in this unique sub-tropical habitat.

Audubon will focus its resources on protecting and managing the sanctuary through a new schedule that includes months with limited access to the public. The following schedule will be in effect until further notice:


Oct. 15 – Dec. 15 OPEN WEEKENDS ONLY (Saturday & Sunday)

Dec. 15 – May 15 OPEN Tues – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The center will offer private tours while the center is closed if arranged in advance.

It is unfortunate that such a unique and valuable habitat might be shut off from the rest of the United States due to hostility to immigration. This possibility (perhaps probability) is no doubt hampering the sanctuary's efforts to raise funds to continue serving the public. The heavy-handed tactics of the border wall builders, at least in this case, may end up hurting wildlife and American citizens much more than preventing illegal immigration.