If you have traveled the trail lately, you might have seen official National Park Service signage indicating you are traveling an Original Route of the trail, or perhaps directing you to a trail site such as Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site. Since 2012, we have been working with local communities, the NPS, and state agencies from Louisiana and Texas to mark and identify El Camino Real.
The effort began in June 2011, when former Texas Governor Rick Perry signed legislation designating El Camino Real de los Tejas as a Texas historic highway. The legislation authorized the Texas Historical Commission to work with the Texas Department of Transportation to “designate, interpret, and market El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail as a Texas historic highway.” Former board member, Carl Mica, worked hard to push for the legislation, which resulted in two bills in the Texas Legislature. These were SB1831 and HB 3421, and the bills were sponsored by Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) and Representative Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels). Within a little over a year of the legislation going into effect, the unveiling of the first-ever official National Park Service signs took place.
On Monday, October 8, 2012 at 10:00 AM, in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas, former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, NPS Superintendent Aaron Mahr, former Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Historical Commission, Terry Colley, and a host of others took part in the unveiling and dedication. Attended by over 1,000 people, the event signified the enthusiasm for signing that was to come!
To date, there are signs in fifteen out of forty counties and parishes across the trail, and there are three additional counties that will have signs in them within the year. Plus, we are planning on signing in three additional counties in FY17.
So, if you are in San Ygnacio, along the Rio Grande, or in Natchitoches, on the Cane River, keep an eye out and look for signs that you’re traveling the trail!
Trail signage by region.