2020 Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Highlights

Anza Trail Foundation (ATF) and partners


Website — 

With assistance from a PNTS Intern Grant, the Anza Trail Foundation accelerated the modernization of Web de Anza and prepared it for migration to its new home at the Borderlands Institute at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley. This involved removing the website’s content from its out-of-date 1990’s software and designing a new website that meets 21st century standards for usability, accessibility, and interoperability. 

Web de Anza contains the only bilingual collection of journals pertaining to Juan Bautista de Anza’s two historic 18th century expeditions from New Spain to northern California, leading to the establishment of San Francisco. This modernization will enable the Web de Anza to continue to serve as an important, interactive resource for scholars, school teachers and students, and lay audiences interested in the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.


Accessibility — 

La Expedicion de Anza, 1775 (LEA), an accessible cultural history park within the Santa Cruz River Park opened in Tucson, Arizona along the Anza NHT. This ¼ mile long park adjacent to the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) is accessible to people with hearing or vision loss and those with mobility challenges, and is interesting and informative for everyone. 

LEA includes a new one-eighth mile trail with a Braille cable for way finding, a cloverleaf-shaped sensory garden bed with native plants that encourage touch and smell, and interactive audible stories. The multilingual park uses English, Spanish, Braille, and American Sign Language. 

This place-based park created engagement, educational and recreational opportunities for underserved populations while improving existing site infrastructure. It provides a unique opportunity to learn about the Anza Expedition, native plants, and to take a short “hike.”

The Anza Society International, ANZA NHT, ASDB students and faculty, and the Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation developed LEA with input from the University of Arizona School of Landscape Architecture and Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association.  Anza Trail Foundation and other partners provided financial and fund-raising assistance.


Organization and Planning — 

Anza Trail Foundation conducted Board Skills and Needs Assessments, created a new Council of Advisors, revised its Mission Statement and adopted its Work Plan 2021-2022 Priorities. The revisions to the Mission Statement sharpened the focus of ATF’s work and the 2021-2022. Priorities include ATF’s plans to advocate for the Anza NHT, fundraise and provide financial support for projects along the trail, reimagine the ATF website, and board building.

The ATF and other partners provided input for the Anza Trail Strategic Plan for the 250th anniversary of the Anza Expedition.


Exploring the Anza Trail at Home Education Program — NPS partner Environmental Education Exchange of Tuscon, Arizona changed their in-person 4th grade classroom presentations to a video presentation allowing for many more students to participate. 

Facebook Live Video Presentation — Virtual Anza Trail presentation  premiered on Facebook Live after school closures reached almost 900 viewers and is now available as a teaching resource on Anza Trail website and Facebook page.

Youth Ambassadors of Southwest Cultures (YASWC) —  Internship program with partner Ironwood Tree Experience provided field exploration , educational forums, workshops and 5 day camping expedition to 4 National Parks and Monuments in Santa Cruz River Corridor of Anza Trail to 8 Tucson area high school students.

Virtual Anza Expedition Program for Junior Rangers — Increased number of kids participating in Junior Ranger Program from 120 in 2019 to 322 in 2020 by actively promoting the program through social media and offering online virtual expedition experience to earn badge.

Eagle Scout Project Assistance — Kieran Gehan placed 22 new Anza Trail wayfinding signs in San Fernando Valley to bring awareness to the trail as part of his Eagle Scout Project. It was paired with a social media and outreach campaign.

The Corrido — El Corrido de Anza uses the traditional form of Mexican narrative song – the corrido – to tell the story of the 1775-1776 Anza expedition to settle Alta California. In partnership with the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, California-based Mexican roots band, and nonprofit cultural arts academy, Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) wrote and produced this epic corrido and music video highlighting important historic sites and landscapes along the Anza Trail. The corrido creates a musical journey that, through its form and vibrant style, stitches together the past and present. It reminds us of the cultural contributions this diverse group of immigrants brought to the United States and our strong and enduring relationship with our neighbors in Mexico.  Over 250,000 people viewed this music video  on the Anza Trail’s NPS site at https://www.nps.gov/juba/learn/historyculture/el-corrido-de-anza.htm