Unlike a traditional playground, the Nature Playscape is specifically designed to permit and encourage children to explore the natural world around them. The Playscape includes elements related to the ecology and geology of Government Canyon. It includes a dry creek bed, natural plantings, and nature play elements such as a log tunnel, fallen log balance beams, tree stumps of various heights, tree slices, stepping boulders, and impressions of dinosaur and other animal tracks. Interpretive signage adds a specific educational component to the project, educating the children and their families about the ecosystem, the recharge process, the flora and fauna, and the history of Government Canyon. This project was partially funded by a $38,000 grant from the Kronkosly Foundation. The Friends of Government Canyon had to raise a matching amount in order to receive the funds. The project design has been completed by Bender Wells Clark Design.
Joe Johnston Route Rehab
Thanks to funds from the American Hiking Society and REI, plans for rehabbing the Joe Johnston Route have been submitted to Texas Parks and Wildlife for approval. The rehab plans include creek ingress/egress repairs, erosion mitigation for steep trail sections, removing tips of rocks, and basin drains. Work is slated to begin in September 2017.
The Discovery Trail
The Discovery Trail (formerly called the Interpretive Trail) is a 1.25 mile loop in the backcountry. Located west of the Visitor Center, the Discovery Trail is more weather resistant and will likely be the only trail open when all other trails are under a weather closure. It is accessible to visitors of all ages, and is wheelchair and stroller friendly! Interpretive educational signs will highlight features of the Natural Area that might also be experienced on the other trails. Thank you to Impact San Antonio and Texas Parks and Wildlife who helped make the trail possible!
Blackland Prairie Restoration
This project, located next to the fee booth, was funded by a $20,000 grant from the Holloman Price Foundation. Historically, a large portion of the SNA consisted of an open grassland prairie, however, over time with European settlement, this grassland was converted to ranch and farm land and subsequently (with the suppression of natural fire and overgrazing) became overgrown with Ashe Juniper, Mesquite, and numerous non-native grass species.
The 370 acre project is being approached in phases. The number of phases depends on the available funding. The phasing will also depend on how the prairie responds to the herbicide treatments, prescribed burning and plantings. The work in this initial phase will focus on treating the portions of the Blackland Restoration Area that have the worst woody vegetation growth…roughly 50-75 acres. Depending on how these worst areas respond to the treatment, TPWD / GCSNA may be able to move into plantings in phase one as well.
It is estimated that total project will cost approximately $100,000. So, additional funding will be necessary and we will be working with our supporters and friends in the future so this extremely important project can be completed.
Friends of Government Canyon A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of Government Canyon State Natural Area located near San Antonio, TX.