The Department of the Interior has named 19 new national recreation trails, and Texas is home to two of them: the Guadalupe Ridge Trail that runs across the Texas-New Mexico border and the Salado Creek Greenway in San Antonio.
The designation recognizes trails “of local and regional significance,” according the Interior Department, which assesses trail applications annually. The trails’ availability to the public and their quality and staying power are key factors.
The Guadalupe Ridge Trail stretches 100 miles through Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Lincoln National Forest, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park before ending in White’s City, New Mexico. The Salado Creek Greenway stretches 15 miles along Salado Creek in San Antonio.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Superintendent Eric Brunnemann said multiple state and federal agencies started collaborating in 2015 to link several existing trails into the Guadalupe Ridge Trail. People have been using the trail for thousands of years, he said, and when the agencies realized they could take the smaller trails and join them into one, it made it a lot easier to manage all those miles.
“The idea has always been around but nobody really thought we could do it,” he said. “That was the main thing—just recognizing the obvious.”
Elizabeth Jackson, Guadalupe Mountains National Park chief of interpretation, education and visitor services, said the project received overwhelming support from all sides.
“We are really super fortunate that we had state, federal, local, and congressional support,” Jackson said. “That’s the real achievement, that in the time frame we achieved this, we managed to have unprecedented support all across the board.”
Running through northeast San Antonio, the Salado Creek Greenway is part of a network of city trails that together span about 65 miles of the city.
Brandon Ross, the special projects manager for the city’s Linear Creekway Parks Program, said he’s grateful that the community has been able to increase park access throughout the city.
“We are proud of the work that has been accomplished by our citizens and partners to preserve land along the creekway in San Antonio and to create outdoor recreation activities,” Ross said.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a press release that these trails were chosen because of the hard work their communities put into maintaining them. The national recreational trails system is made up of over 1000 trails across all 50 states, including 28 in Texas.