time . The hardest part about Covid for her ? “ I really miss going to Boquillas ,” she says wistfully . The little border crossing is still closed as of this writing , the villagers waiting in limbo for their friends — and their livelihood — to return . The Covid-prompted closure is reminiscent of the devastating , decade-long closure after 9 / 11 .
At the same time , Terlingua is in the midst of a major boom , with new residents and businesses , and record numbers of visitors , flooding into the formerly sleepy little desert town . Allbright notes that in decades past , building in Terlingua was for restoration — people would take a little stone shack and stabilize it , make it into a home off the grid and enjoy the quiet life at the edge of nowhere . Now , there is constant building and the focus is more toward visitation , with dozens of new and trendy AirBnBs popping up , and heavy advertising campaigns aimed at enticing tourists . “ There ’ s a strong core of people who have lived here a long time ,” she says , “ and while I love sharing the Big Bend and everything
it has to teach us with visitors , I hope the growth plateaus . We need time to look at the problems and come to a community resolution about how to deal with them .”
Some of the difficulties with the sudden surge in business and population have to do with resource capacity , mainly water , which is notoriously scarce in south Brewster County . Even the Rio Grande , on which Allbright used to be able to raft nearly yearround , has struggled mightily in recent years . The rafting season is now brief and spotty , and at times it can be difficult even to take a canoe trip without having to ‘ walk ’ your boat through shallow sections .
In spite of the challenges , Allbright is heartened to see new adventure companies coming to the area , bringing with them an influx of young people eager to learn about the area and teach others how to protect it . “ There ’ s lots of demand for what we do ,” she says , “ and there are all these new young people here to help visitors enjoy and appreciate this place .” She notes that outfitters , including Desert Sports , work
Cenizo Summer 2021
with each other and agencies like the State and National Park , sharing what they all know and working together to make sound decisions for the community , visitors and the unique ecosystems of the Big Bend . One example of this collaboration is the summer art program with which she ’ s been involved with Amber Harrison from Big Bend Ranch State Park . The program ties science in with the arts for children ages four through high school , allowing them to learn about the unique place where they live and use this knowledge to develop their creativity .
Allbright would like to see a greater emphasis on this kind of community development . “ I feel like the heart of the community is contained in the school ,” she says . “ And our school is so awesome . So many wonderful things happen there .” She hopes the many changes happening in her community will turn the focus inward , toward the next generation , to create a place for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come .