Big Bend Ranch Will Host Desert Survival Workshops

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West Texas guide and naturalist David Alloway returns again this fall to the rugged high-country desert of Big Bend Ranch State Park to lead two weekend desert survival workshops.

The El Paso native, who spent 10 years as an interpretive specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife at Big Bend Ranch, will conduct his renowned outdoor classes Nov. 16-18 and Dec. 7-9 at Texas' largest state park.

The adventurer and author, whose book "Desert Survival Skills" was published by the University of Texas Press last year, operates David Alloway's Skills of Survival, a business he started last year. He has been certified by TPW as a commercial guide at Big Bend Ranch State Park, which sprawls over 300,000 acres along the Rio Grande just outside Presidio.

Alloway recently returned from California, where he starred in a segment on desert survival filmed by the Turner Broadcasting System for a television series set to debut this January. The series, Alloway said, is called "The Worst Case Scenario," a title taken by a popular book of the same name.

Alloway practices what he preaches. He holds the distinction of being the first non-Australian to complete the 120-mile Pilbara Trek across the Australian Outback.

The cost to attend the three-day Big Bend Ranch workshop is $350, including meals and lodging at the rustic but comfortable Sauceda Lodge, a western-style bunkhouse located the park headquarters in the heart of the former livestock ranch.

The hands-on outdoor classroom teaches such skills as locating water in a harsh environment, finding natural shelter or making a shelter from desert plants and trees, identifying edible plants and achieving the mindset that will help a person survive a crisis in the wild. Big Bend Ranch State Park lies west of Big Bend National Park.