Newest Public Park in San Antonio

Written by Randy Watson

Inaugurated on October 15, 2005, the Government State Canyon Natural Area, is an 8,622 acre area located just a few minutes drive outside of San Antonio, but once you\'ve arrived, you\'ll feel like you\'re in a different world altogether.

For those who feel at home amid the song of wild birds, the bubble of the brooks and streams, and the whistling of the wind through the Mesquite, Juniper, and Wild Oak trees of South Texas, the GSCNA is a wonderful new park to escape the traffic and travails of the city, and to relax in peace.

Although the area is still being developed, and can still be considered a work in progress, the park has been hosting visitors for a year and a half, and has many more improvements slated for future completion.  Currently, there the Natural Area Headquarters building is open, featuring an exhibit hall and the Texas State Park Store.  The group picnic pavilion is open and ready to host, and also many other picnic areas, bathrooms, and classrooms nearby.  Government Canyon also features WIFI (wireless internet), which patrons are able to use.  A nature trail is planned for the future.

The natural beauty, and the diversity of foliage and wildlife in the park are surely enough to justify a visit, but the park gets its name from the delicately crafted canyons that carry cool, clear water through south Texas’ rolling hills and grasslands.

The park is also home to two endangered species of bird: the Golden-Cheeked warbler, and the Black-Capped Vireo.  But the canyon also protects another endangered species: water.  The Edwards Aquifer recharge is the only water supply for San Antonio, and the majority of the park covers this zone.  In helping to keep San Antonio’s water supply clean and available, the park is insuring that the city will continue to thrive.

Since Government Canyon is such a precious and delicate area, rules are in place to insure that the region remains unspoiled, clean, and that the animals are able to thrive.  Visitors of all types are welcome, and the trails are frequented by hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders, and families just out for an afternoon picnic or stroll.  All visitors are asked to participate in the “Leave No Trace” maintenance program, and carry out all trash and help to reduce the impact of humans on nature.

Government Canyon is currently open for day use only, and no camping is allowed.  The park is OPEN Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 8 AM-6 PM, and is CLOSED Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Visitors should call the park before heading out to make sure that inclement weather hasn’t closed a road, or that repairs aren’t underway.