Announces Interior Will Pursue Prestigious World Heritage Site Designation for San Antonio Spanish Missions
SAN ANTONIO, TX — Joining a celebration of the progress in restoring the San Antonio River, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that Interior will actively pursue a nomination for the distinguished World Heritage Site status for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
“San Antonio National Historical Park preserves the four missions that not only represent the cultural roots of this great city, but also the single largest concentration of Spanish Colonial resources in the United States and perhaps in the Western Hemisphere,” Secretary Salazar said. “This exceptional site merits the same international designation already given to places like the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and Yellowstone National Park.”
Today's announcement will initiate an official process whereby the National Park Service will propose the nomination to the 21-nation World Heritage Committee during the next available round of nominations. World Heritage listing is a prestigious designation that acknowledges the historical, cultural or natural value of a site, as well as the commitment of the sovereign nation and the site's owners to its long-term protection and management.
The announcement came today during the grand opening for the first phases of the Mission Reach project which seeks to restore the San Antonio River and connect it to the city's cultural treasures, the Spanish Colonial Missions. With Phase 1 and 2 complete, the restoration currently links the Downtown Riverwalk to Mission Concepcion in the Park.
When completed, the project will create an unbroken urban park encompassing more than 2,000 acres of federal, state, county, and city parks and with more than 12 miles of hiking and biking trails.
“San Antonio is truly a shining example of what communities can do as we seek to establish a new generation of safe and accessible great urban parks,” Salazar said. “This type of locally-led initiative is at the heart of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative.”
The America's Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative seeks to develop a recreation and conservation ethic for the 21st Century and to reconnect Americans – especially our young people – their natural and cultural heritage. An important component of AGO is increasing Americans' access to the outdoors through great urban parks and river ways.
In his remarks, Salazar noted the strong economic benefits offered by the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Attracting more than 1.6 million visitors a year, the Park supports nearly $63 million in local revenue annually. Those dollars translate into over 1,000 jobs for the local San Antonio community. A National Parks Conservation Association report estimated that a $1 investment in the park yields $20 in local economic activity.
For more information on the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park: http://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm
For more information on the America's Great Outdoors Initiative: http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/
For more information on the World Heritage Sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list