by Steven Gonzales, Executive Director, El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT Association
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association (ELCAT) and the National Park Service-National Trails office are pleased to share that the trail has received a $10,000 grant from the National Park Foundation to improve the Lobanillo Swales hiking trail. Located in deep east Texas, about 20 miles from the Louisiana State line, the property is owned by ELCAT and it is the only site on the trail exclusively focused on El Camino Real de los Tejas.
The grant will help fund the installation of erosion control devices at key spots on the quarter-mile trail at the site, as well as to reinforce the driveway entrance of the property. Local partners will provide $10,000 of in-kind support to the project in the form of materials, machines, and labor. A member of the Professional TrailBuilders Association will construct the erosion control features.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is uncertain when the work will begin, but ELCAT, local partners, and other key parties are planning toward the initiative.
The Lobanillo Swales represent human pathways imprinted into the landscape over three centuries of time. The swales are the best-known physical remnants of a path that has long existed as one of the most ancient roads in American history. The property was purchased in June 2013 and it underwent nearly five years of planning and study before opening to the public in April 2018. The swales are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and as a State of Texas—State Antiquities Landmark.
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