La Linda Bridge

Up-date – RGI has advised the Depatment of State ( US-Mexico Bridges and Border Crossings Group) that the COLINDA  proposal for reopening the border crossing to La Linda is on-hold, pending advice by Interior Department and SEMARNAT regarding the bridge’s  role in any future plans for a conservation partnership covering Big Bend and Maderas del Carmen region.

Tyrus Fain September 2011

(For more on La Linda Bridge Q and A on RGI under “About us”)

18 thoughts on “La Linda Bridge

    tyfain responded:
    June 11, 2009 at 2:41 am

    La Linda, Coahuila Brewster County, Texas
    Bridge spans the US Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River and Mexico’s equivalent Monumento al Rio Bravo del Norte

    LOCAL NAMES: Gerstaker Bridge, Puente La Linda, Heath Crossing , Hallie Stillwell Bridge

    LOCATION: Latitude: 29° 26′ 60 N, Longitude: 102° 49′ 0, Altitude 1781
    TxDOT District: El Paso,Texas. US – County: Brewster (unpopulated, not a city) Mexico – La Linda is an unpopulated settlement within the jurisdiction of the Municipio de Acuna, Coahuila

    DESCRIPTION: This is a single-lane structure ID number-24 022 291301 001 01 Bridge length: 382 feet, width: 10 feet., barricaded above US shoreline. Sources: U.S. Coast Guard deposition dated November 30, 1964, TxDOT, International Relations Office, April 2007

    BRIDGE OWNERS: U.S. section is owned by Consortium of La Linda (COLINDA) a Texas partnership of non-profit organizations now owns entire US section following state court mediation of ownership dispute in 2007. Managing partner contact:
    The Government of Mexico owns the Mexican section. Contact: at Asuntos Fronterizos at Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. Source: Brewster County Clerk

    YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION: Bridge 1965 (barricade 1998) Source: Bridge Inventory and Inspection File, TxDOT

    STATUS: The La Linda Bridge closed to traffic on July 30, 1997., barricaded from 1998 to date..
    In 1998 the previous US owners, the National Parks and Conservation Association & Kurie family were granted a three-year suspension of a US Coast Guard removal order. That was affirmed through an exchange of diplomatic notes; valid only if US owners could adequately demonstrate an economic/eco-tourism plan for the surrounding border area which satisfied the concerns of the Customs and other inspection agencies.

    After the April 2002 U.S.-Mexico Binational Bridges and Border Crossings Group Meeting, a diplomatic note was exchanged between the U.S. and Mexican governments extending the moratorium on the removal of the bridge through June 2003. Subsequent notes and negotiations allowed the discussions to continue between the U.S. and Mexico. Ownership issues arose in 2004-5 leading to litigation and a 2007 settlement consolidating ownership of US section in Consortium of La Linda. (COLINDA). Work continues to meet State/SRE -provided list of 16 requirements for consideration of re-opening. State of Texas support for re-opening was asserted in HCR 164 enacted and signed by Governor Perry in January 2008. Sources S.C.T., December 1998, TxDOT International Relations Office, March 2006; U.S. Department of State, March 1999. COLINDA, June 2009

    A new proposal on the future of Las Linda was introduced at the June 3, 2009 Bridges and Border crossings meeting in Brownsville . It followed an extensive review of current conditions, past experience, eco-tourism feasibility studies and alternative business plans by bridge owners and stakeholders on both sides of the border. When finalized the proposal will depart from earlier requests for a 24/7 port of entry, calling instead for a provisional re-opening of the bridge.

    Crossing traffic is to be restricted to no more than several days per month to accommodate previously approved scientific and educational field seminars or travel by designated natural resource managers, emergency management officials and authorized law enforcement officers. There are to be no cargo trucks, no transport of commercial goods and no crossing by anyone other than the above . To formalize its proposal COLINDA is securing input from an array of sources, including Customs and Border Patrol, TxDOT and Coahuila Obras Publicas & Turismo, Big Bend National Park, Comision Nacional de Areas Protegidas, El Carmen conservation groups, secondary schools and colleges in the US and Mexico ,Texas Parks and Wildlife, IBWC/CILA and private property owners. Earlier feasibility studies are being updated and a series of US and Mexican planning workshops are planned with stakeholders, educators, travel professionals, etc. Target presentation date in late 2009.Source: COLINDA,June 2009

    U.S. PERMITS AND MEXICAN APPROVALS: U.S. Presidential Permits are not required for bridges built before 1972. La Linda was built and is authorized to operate as a toll facility under Public Law 87-525 Army Corps of Engineers Permit: DA-N-005-41-PERMIT-9, dated October 30, 1962. COLINDA’s June 2009 request for renewal of permits and approvals is being formalized by its attorneys. Sources: U.S. Coast Guard deposition dated November 30, 1964
    TxDOT, International Relations Office, April 2007, COLINDA, June 2009

    BORDER STATION: When the bridge was operational, the only inspection station was on the Mexican side and was owned by the Mexican government. Source: El Paso District, TxDOT

    CONNECTING ROADWAY: U.S.: FM 2627, a two lane paved road interconnects US 385 serving Big Bend National Park 25 miles to the south and Marathon 38 miles to the north.


    ring said:
    October 20, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Hello Campers,

    We need to keep the bridge because it my be our only escape route out of the south county when the feds come to take us to their new prison camps. The TLF is in favor of keeping the bridge.


    James Evans said:
    April 18, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    As soon as you open another port of entry human smugglers and drug runners will use it. There is no way anyone can say this will not be a part of the reality of opening this bridge. In Juarez, not very far away, there is drug war going on there that is worse than the war in Iraq. Over 1800 people have been killed there since January of this year.


    Our government would have to build and man the port of entry. If this only cost a million dollars a year and 100 tourists a week crossed the bridge The taxpayers (YOU AND ME) would be paying $200. per person for the visit.

    The truck traffic that it would attract would bring not only more drugs and illegal activity to the area, but Mexican trucks are not regulated like American trucks. They would bring more pollution to our national park and our night sky. The kinds of trucks that use to cross in the past were not


    Opening the Lalinda Bridge will not help our Mexican neighbors. There is nothing to go to. There are no efforts for a bi national park. There never was and there were never will be. The opening of the Lalinda Bridge is not supported by the National Park, The Stillwell’s, most park employees, the border patrol or the local sheriff’s department. Don’t be fooled by anyone who tells you different.

    The truth about the Lalinda Bridge is this. The American side of the bridge is owned by Alberto Garza and Ty Fain, this is who “Colinda” is. There is not much value in the land around the area unless it is becomes an international crossing. Alberto Garza has purchased as much of land as he can around the area. They have also purchased a ranch on the American side. There is no money in tourism. However an international port of entry would make make the land and surrounding area worth millions. That is what this is about. The smokescreen of tourism is flat out deception to try and sell it to politicians and the public. Don’t believe it for a minute. If politicians or the Rio Grande Institute wanted to help our Mexican neighbors they would be working to reopen the soft crossings at Boquillos , Paso Lajitas and Santa Elena. A place where tourists met with and had wonderful experiences with our border friends. This could be easily accomplished by cross training our park service employees and documenting the movement. It is done in Canada every day. The cost would be minimal, and we would have friendly eyes on both sides of the Rio Grande again watching our borders.


    The Lalinda Bridge was supposed to be torn down, but CoLinda and the Rio Grande Institute got a stay of execution if you will because they were trying to get it open and they established ownership. I don’t know how long the owners have to get it open before the idea of tearing it down is back on the table. I have written to the Coast Guard, but have not gotten a response. Reopening this bridge will bring nothing positive to the United States. Mexico would gain a new and quieter drug corridor. The taxpayers (YOU AND ME) would essentially be subsidizing a port of entry so a few extremely wealthy people could make millions from their property investment.

    Ty Fain said:
    April 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    James Evans – What a shame, parts of his diatribe remind me of Messrs Beck and Dobbs on cable news. He is a man with strong opinions and a curiously weak grasp of what is going on along the Big Bend – Sierra del Carmen stretch of the border. He should know better, perhaps he does.
    James has been told that he has his facts wrong on the La Linda matter and is hurting innocent people but for some reason he continues spreading lies and inventing motives. He should stop before any more harm is done.
    Evan’s statement of “the truth” regarding the La Linda bridge matter is incorrect, malicious and could be truly harmful – not merely rantings from an angry eccentric.
    The US side of the bridge is NOT owned by Ty Fain or Alberto Garza and never has been. It is NOT part of a real-estate speculation or a front for anything. COLINDA is a Texas partnership between two highly regarded non-profit organizations, one Mexican and one US. There are not millions of dollars in land specualtion involved. There is no proposal for a commercial crossing.

    The Rio Grande Institute became involved in efforts to reopen the La Linda bridge at the request of the Brewster County Commissioners Court and under the terms of a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. RGI enlisted involvement of el Museo because of that organization’s interest in bringing tourists from the US to visit its nature preserve within the Maderas del Carmen Protected Area across from Big Bend.
    The idea of an international park continues to interest many people, including the current Secretary of Interior and Director of the National Park service who are currently exploring possibilities with their conterparts in the Mexican government.(
    The Rio Grande Institute and Museo Maderas del Carmen are actively supporting efforts to re-open the Boquillas crossing and creating new cooperative opportunities for nature-based tourism and conservation work.
    The origins and purpose behind the cooperative work underway on the Big Bend stretch of the Rio Grande are described in a publicly available website –
    There are respectable arguements for and against opening or closing border crossings, removing or installing bridges, barriers, fences etc but there is nothing to respect in the lies that Evans is spreading. It is more than just sad and hurtful or deeply troubling. Anyone who is a friend to this man should offer counsel. He needs some help.
    Ty Fain

    James Evans said:
    April 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Name calling is a weak response. I am not crazy or in need of counseling. Every thing I say is a legitimate concern if the Lalinda was opened to the public. Tell us who bought the bridge? Who is Colinda? It’s you. Tell us who owns the American side of the bridge? Tell us who has purchased Adam’s Ranch on the American side of the bridge? Tell us who pays you to work so diligently to get it open? Tell us who benefits, Really? While my speculations are “worst case scenario” they are reasonable and thinking in what would it be like 50 years from now if this bridge is opened. It is easier to call someone crazy than answer the questions and concerns I pose. Which is all you have ever done. The bridge has had a violent past, and there is no way you can assure the public that this won’t happen again if the bridge is re-opened. If RGI is truly concerned with preserving what we have at Black Gap, how can keeping the bridge closed with no population or development be better than opening it. While I honestly appreciate RGI on many of its endeavors, this is not one of them.

    Tyrus Fain said:
    April 23, 2010 at 3:25 am

    James Evans, in answer to your questions:
    1. The Consortium of La Linda, a Texas partnership, owns the US section of the bridge. For more detail go to or the County Clerk’s office in Brewster County and look at the deed. Nothing is being hidden from you or anyone.
    2. The CEMEX company bought the Adams ranch some years ago and as far as I know they still own it. Neither the Rio Grande Institute nor I have any association whatsoever with CEMEX and never have.
    3. I am not being paid to work on re-opening the La Linda bridge and never have been. The La Linda initiative has been an uncomensated project of the Rio Grande institute since we were first got involved under a cooperative agreement with the Big Bend National Park of the National Park Service and a request from the Brewster County Commissioners Court. Some travel expenses to meetings pertaining to the bridge were reimbursed by Brewster County’s Tourism Council and Lic. Alberto Garza Santos who is President of Museo Maderas del Carmen. RGI has received contributions from individuals to a La Linda preservation fund and that money has been used to meet the costs of holding public meetings in the area (you attended one).
    4. Regarding your question about “who benefits?”: I think it depends on how the bridge and other historical border-crossing areas are going to be managed in the future. If ignored by local, state and federal authorities of the US and Mexican government and not put under some level of environmental and public safety engagement I think they could turn into a dangerous badland dominated by smugglers or polluters or worse — maybe all of that. So, in my view “no action” is neglect and would have bad consequences. I also believe that re-opening the bridge as a commercial 24/7 port-of-entry, even with strong law enforcement would run the risk of fostering an environmental and law enforcement calamity similar to what we see elsewhere on the border. The better approach and the vision we are advancing is for interested federal, state,local and landowner interests in the US and Mexico to create a cooperative arrangement where the bridge and crossings at Boquillas, Santa Elena and Lajitas provide infrastructure for more legal small-scale cross-border interaction associated with conservation projects,educational travel, scientific research and eco-tourism. We are hopeful that will be an outcome of planning now underway between the US Depoartment of Interior and the Secretaria del Medio Ambiente and Recursos (you can learn more at the Interior Deparment or BBNP websites).

    I have given you a long answer to a short question – “who benefits?” I suppose another way to respond is to say that ordinary people can benefit if a la Lina re-opening proceeds in a realistically planned manner – although it will take time and some pain. If not planned and tough-minded and things are just left as they are I fear that the area will eventually get taken over by criminal elements and/or industrial/mining interests.

    In the very short term the area around La Linda and other corssing points will probably continue being great places to come visit,hike, bike, photograph or whatever (if you are lucky enough to have access)but I dont think that is sustainable. Some would have a wall or fence built between us and Mexico but that approach foolishly isolates us from what Mexico has to offer and probably provides little protection. What we have been working toward on La Linda is part of a vision that offers an alternative.

    Some may think our vision at the Rio Grande Institute is delusional but anyone who says it is inspired or nourished by greed is dead wrong. I don’t mean to say they are deranged, just wrong and need some help getting the information in order.

    Posted by Ty Fain 4-22-10

    James Evans said:
    April 28, 2010 at 4:20 am

    1. Yes, I have gone to the court house and looked up the records as to who owns the LaLinda Bridge, and it says it is owned by CoLinda. A consortium is one or more groups of people with like minded interests. The county documents do not name individuals. So for the record you are saying you or Mr. Alberto Garza do not own and/ or never have owned a part of the Lalinda Bridge.

    2. Yes, Cemex owns a piece of land, a ranch, on the American side of the bridge. I am not saying you or Mr. Garza have any connection to Cemex, but Mr. Garza must know the owners at the very least. What do you think Cemex purchased it for? Are they running cattle? Because it has access to the Rio Grande?

    3. I understand you being compensated for meetings and travel. So for the record, Ty Fain is not paid a salary from the Rio Grande Institute?

    4. Well I just don’t believe the first part of your statement. No one but you and Mr. Garza are trying to get the bridge opened. Smugglers and polluters will only come if the bridge is reopened. As far historical associations there is nothing of historical relevance about the bridge. It was built by Dupont to haul mined fluorspar to Marathon were it was processed right across from the Gage Hotel. There were a couple of guards who you had to pay bribes to to cross the bridge. They were robbed and killed there in the mid 90’s which was the reason for closing the bridge. Not after 9/11 as some might think.

    I didn’t know that RGI is trying to get Boquillos, Santa Elena and the Lajitas soft crossings open. This is a new piece of information, and I encourage you to try and make that happen, and I would help in any way I can. Especially Boquillos. It would best thing for BBNP and the border Mexican community. And it could be done very inexpensively by cross training the park service employees and documenting any activity

    I appreciate you starting to answer my questions. It is knowledge that quells fear or speculation, and is the best way to get support or discouragement.

    James Evans

    gk said:
    June 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I gotta agree w/ Ty. Keep up the great work. An honor to meet w/ you fall of 08 to discuss my research. all best


    Tony Mancini said:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    James your comments about the bridge are wrong. You say that having the bridge will bring pollution and drug trafficking but then make another point that only maybe 100 tourists will use it a week? The two don’t make sense. Your GOING to have illegals and drugs at ANY high volume point of entry. If drug and illegals are going to cross then do not need to at this point of entry if it were ever to come back. As you have noted its in the middle of very little tourist and population area for now. Your facts and statements are based on fear and speculation.
    Not think out side the scope and think about why the bridge was made originally for… natural resources, mining, and perhaps some tourism. By tearing down this bridge you put our relations with Mexico, commerce, and tourism three steps back. If silly to consider the money we spent for a “fence” to hold back the tied of drugs and illegals would actually work. Nothing that a portable diamond blade can remove in 3 minutes! Think about ALL the money spent on that. In conclusion KEEP the bridge, but perhaps make it a by pre permit only for visitors on business our tourism. But don’t let speculation and fear from keeping us going forward. Exactly what 9/11 has done to us as Americans.

    James Evans said:
    August 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Tony you missed the point. Not ONLY tourists would use a point of entry. You open the gate and you open it up to everything. It’s not fear and speculation at all when there has been over 23,000 drug related murders in Mexico since January 2006 Opening another port of entry is not worth the tradeoff even if it were only a remote possibility. Black Gap is beautiful just the way it is, closed and sparsely inhabited. You need to read and understand what I am saying. It is not about fear. RGI is not thinking about all of the consequences of their proposals and actions. Just today there is an article in the paper how RGI was a part of the introducing and releasing of 300 Tunisian Beetles to eat the salt cedar on the Rio Grande. In less than a year they devoured 23 miles of salt cedar, and now there are millions and millions of them eating the good trees too. I am not basing anything on fear, but trying to think of all the possibilities.

    Tony said:
    August 27, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Well let me just say this… I just came back from a mining location not far from La Linda bridge and the facts are this… illegal immigration IS rampant through the whole area and has been… WHY we spent millions on a fence is a joke… The La Linda area is a HUGE drug and illegal immigration portal. Has been more so than other actual border crossings. Why? Because of its remote location. So your fooling yourself in thinking that in not opening the bridge will keep things “safe” in the area. If anything opening the bridge we bring in more federal funds to protect the area from a already rampant entry of drugs and immigrants. This is very common knowledge from the other side. Sooo opening the bridge will only bring more federal enforcement not bring in more drugs or illegals into the country. But if anyone is really reading this… And truly wants to crack down on drugs and immigration… its pretty simple… bring in the drone planes… bring in the blackhawk paramilitary repelling Homeland security troops who can repel from the helicopter and stop illegal entry or drug entry. If this is truly a “war” on drugs and immigration this is what it takes. For the Mexican government its not hard. They need to follow Columbia’s tactics. Establish paramilitary US trained block groups of 50 men squads living on military bases on each border city and squeezing out the “bad people” through US intel, and by the MEXICAN people telling the government where the “bad things” are going on. Now this is a true resolution to a bad problem but it will get much worse before it gets better. But if its truly a “war” then this must be done. Your comments are welcome….

    James Evans said:
    August 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    1.It is just not true that the LaLinda area is a HUGE drug and illegal portal. That is a flat out lie. Anything that comes through that area is on foot. Not trucks.
    2. There is no war on drugs. There never was.
    3. Your suggestions are completely foolish.

    Tony said:
    August 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    1. Yes on foot… how do you think they get to the middle of nowhere? On foot? the transport is done by car/truck/mule to the “border” then you think it walks its way all the way into the interior hubs? I won’t even discuss volume…
    2. No war on drugs? Soooo the 20k+ mexicans dead and the money thrown at the problem is not a “war” Is it a movement? Towards?
    3. My suggestions have already been done and enforced in South America. Do your research, know your history before say “foolish”. Another prime example look at our current two war fronts. How do you think our troops weed out terrorists? Knowledge is power brotha…

    Glen Peddy said:
    October 10, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I used to cross the bridge, immediately turn left and go a few hundered yards upstream, put our canoes into the Rio Grande and canoe to Dryden Crossing. (We had hired drivers to take our vehicles to the Dryden Crossing.) It was a great trip back in the early 1990’s. On our last trip we put in down stream of the bridge because the Mexican government had put a radio tower in the middle of the road that lead upstream.

    Glen Peddy said:
    October 10, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Previous comment should have said turn RIGHT upstream.

    Dave English said:
    October 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

    James Evens reads like a typical environmental activist, hates the rich, wants to close areas he likes to us little people, doesn’t want any use of these areas by anyone who may make money, that is unless it’s for 284,800 acres of solar energy farms (445 square miles). I would like to see the La Linda bride open again, too little access for so many miles along this part of the Texas/Mexico border.

    Glen peddy said:
    October 24, 2012 at 2:41 am

    The LaLinda bridge area used to be a good area to launch a canoe for a trip down the Rio Grande. We put in on the Mexican side until they put the radio tower in the middle of our river access road, after that we had to pay an access fee to put in on the American side. Please keep the area accessible.


    Dave English said:
    October 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t like the idea of closing public lands because someone or group wants their own private eco retreat. There’s no good reason not to open the bridge, someone or group wants to control the use of the land and stop any practical use of it other than just looking at it. In the Mohave Desert, after going to court to preserve desert views for anyone who wanted to mine, put in power lines or build access roads, environmentalists now support 445 sq. miles of solar farms. Talk about an eyesore! What ever happened to the desert views? Stick to your rights because the whims of environmentalists can change any time but your interests can be ruined or changed forever.

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