El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT: 2018 Highlights

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association (ELCAT)

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department featured the trail in its Spring 2018 magazine and during its weekly PBS series, which aired across Texas in February 2018. It’s estimated that 100,000s of viewers were exposed to the trail during the premier and more during rebroadcasts.
  • ELCAT began the process of creating a traveling exhibit that will tour Texas and Louisiana.
  • ELCAT established its first Model Trail Community in Milam County, TX.
  • ELCAT worked with partners to document Native American and Spanish aspects of the trail in the Rancheria Grande in Central Texas and at Los Corralitos on the Rio Grande.
  • ELCAT dedicated signage at La Villita in San Antonio, attended by elected officials and other partners, and the Lobanillo Swales, which receives over 100 visitors per month and is seen as Sabine County’s biggest tourism attraction.
  • ELCAT dedicated the Lobanillo Swales on April 26, 2018. Composed of seven remnants of the Royal Road in east Texas, Lobanillo was one of the most threatened historic resources in Texas, as activities such as fracking and the harvesting of timber threatened the site. With the support of local officials and citizens, as well as Federal and State partners like the National Park Service (NPS) and Texas Historical Commission (THC), ELCAT raised nearly $50,000 for the protection and development of the site.
  • Three landowners in Milam County worked with partners to conduct historic and archaeological research of their properties, and all certified their sites as parts of the trail with the NPS.
  • The National Parks Conservation Association and local partners started a project that will be many years in the making to create a hikeable and bikeable retracement trail between Austin and San Antonio, TX.
  • ELCAT held a board retreat and training in Bastrop, TX in April.  Board members and Federal agency officials from the NPS and THC engaged in a two-day trail orientation training, reviewing the newly implemented strategic plan and sharing their backgrounds so that strengths of volunteers could be ascertained and tapped into.  
  • ELCAT initiated the creation of talking points and outreach materials for use by volunteers and agency officials when conducting business related to the trail.
  • ELCAT brought on three new interns to assist with GIS mapping, the creation of a traveling exhibit for the trail, and for general administrative duties, and NPS acquired a new intern to help with creation of sign plans for roadway signing along the trail.
  • ELCAT increased volunteer capacity as many individuals have been researching and mapping trail resources in locations across the trail and reaching out to local officials to enlighten them as to the importance of the trail to Texas and Louisiana history.

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Sabine County Judge Darrell Melton cuts the ribbon to dedicate the Lobanillo Swales to the public, as ELCAT board members and staff, and agency officials from the Texas Historical Commission and National Park Service look on. Photo Credit: Jeff Sibley.