By Angélica Sánchez-Clark, Ph.D., Lead Historian, National Park Service, National Trails Office, Regions 6, 7, 8
The enabling legislation for both El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (ELCA) and El Camino Real de los Tejas (ELTE) National Historic Trails (NHT) authorizes cooperation among the United States and Mexican entities “for the purpose of exchanging trail information and research; fostering trail preservation and education programs; providing technical assistance and working to establish an international historic trail with complementary preservation and education programs in each nation.”
For over 30 years, the NPS and Bureau of Land Management have worked closely with Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) on many ELCA research, preservation, and promotional activities with the goal of preserving our shared cultural heritage. In 2016, the NPS National Trails office (NTIR) and INAH organized the binational workshop, LOS DOS CAMINOS: BRIDGING BORDERS ACROSS THE CENTURIES, held in Laredo, Texas. This workshop focused on the two caminos reales administered by NTIR and which originated in Mexico. These historic trails are significant to the heritage of North America and bridge the border between Mexico and the United States.
One of the priorities identified during the 2016 meeting was the translation into Spanish of the NPS El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro travel itinerary. Agency representatives from the US and Mexico reiterated this goal at the 2018 Dos Caminos binational data sharing workshop held in Santa Fe, NM, and at the 2021 Dos Caminos binational virtual meeting, in which participants expressed the need to expand access to materials about the two caminos in Spanish and English.
University of New Mexico graduate student María Nemelka provided the initial Spanish translation of the ELCA travel itinerary. Thanks to the hard work of Em Kessler, Interpretive Ranger and digital media specialist for NTIR; Nicole Segnini, a Latino Heritage Internship Program intern in the Office of Communication; and Nicole’s supervisor Victoria Stauffenberg, this project evolved into the creation of the Spanish-language ELCA website.
This binational cooperation continues as NTIR and partners work towards finalizing a binational interpretive plan for ELCA and initiating both a binational travel itinerary and interpretive plan for ELTE.
Visit the Spanish language website at nps.gov/es-es/elca