The “Model Trail Community” Program
El Camino Real de los Tejas Trail Association (ElCaT) is partnering with the National Park Service (NPS) and local communities to assist and support communities in developing this vision and becoming “A Model Trail Community” (MTC) by completing their own piece of the trail.
They have been looking at Abingdon, Virginia as the model of a trail community because of the extraordinary things they have accomplished on the “Muster Ground” historic site and the 1.3 miles of trail within their corporate city limits. But, I don’t think we’ve ever asked the questions, “What does it take to complete the trail?” “What does the trail look like when it is completed?”
The answers to these questions are vital because they provide the “criteria” that can give all trail communities a target or the “vision” to shoot for by showing what it takes to complete the trail and helping them define a strategy that will take them there. The criteria also provide a basis for evaluation—to be able to track “where are we now”, and, “what still needs to be done”, and “what can we do next?”
Here are some criteria that start answering the questions. The criteria are grouped together in four logical categories that lead through the process of developing and completing the trail. These are: 1) Building a Trail Constituency, 2) Partnering with the National Park Service, 3) Getting People on the Trail, and 4) Protecting and Preserving the Trail.
To learn about more about the details of the Model Trail Community program, click here to view the full document.
Current Model Trail Community Chapters
Rancheria Grande — Milam County, Texas
Citizens of Milam County organized The Rancheria Grande Chapter to pay tribute to Dr. Lucile Estelle and the late Joy Graham and further promote Milam County’s portion of the trail. Both Lucile and Joy served on the Board of ELCaT and were instrumental advocates of the importance of the El Camino Real in Milam County in the early days of the association. The Chapter is also engaged as advocates of ELCaT by providing educational resources and further researching the historical assets along a northern segment of the trail recognized as Ramón’s Road of 1716. These assets include the Apache Pass, San Xavier Mission Complex, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the Rancheria Grande, a gathering place for 23 native American nations. A recent archaeological investigation of the Rancheria Grande identified several sites of historical significance. In addition, the river crossings of the Little River and subsequently the Brazos River in eastern Milam County as described by Ramón, and later in several Spanish diaries as the Brazos de Dios, was the principal place to cross these streams for those traveling between San Antonio and East Texas missions from 1716 to 1788. You can contact John Pruett, Chapter President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trail de Flores — Floresville, Texas
The El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association’s Trail de Flores Chapter was charted in January 2020 among the first group of the Association’s chartered chapters. The chapter is focused on that portion of the trail that runs through Wilson County, often referred to as “La Bahia Road”, which historically connected the Alamo and other San Antonio area missions to the north, to La Bahia (in present day Goliad) to the south. We are motivated by the Association’s mission to “Preserve, Promote and Educate”, and aspire to realize the shared vision to create a retracement route that will connect Rancho de las Cabras to the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, allowing cultural and recreational tourists alike a new opportunity to have a more vicarious historical El Camino experience. You can contact Dave Regan, Chapter President, at (830) 321-0244 or email@example.com
Check out their Facebook page here
If are interested in starting a Model Trail Community chapter in your area, please reach out to us. Our contact information can be found here.