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Celebrating 30 years of preserving San Antonio’s precious past

San Antonio, Tex.  – The five icons that comprise the San

Antonio Missions have been a longtime treasure and testament to the city’s

history and culture.  The importance to preserve these Missions was

recognized on a national level in 1978 when the United States Department of

the Interior collaborated with the Archdiocese of San Antonio to establish

the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.  


On May 17, 2008 the City, joined by the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas members, gathered

together to celebrate the success and accomplishments of the groups that

have collaborated across three decades to make the San Antonio Missions a

commemorative piece of history available to future generations.


The collaboration which now includes Los Compadres, the official friends

group for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Old

Spanish Missions, Inc., has successfully preserved more than 43 historic

structures.  Additionally, the group has developed the Missions into San

Antonio’s third largest non-commercial tourist attraction with

approximately 1.2 million visitors each year. About half of the annual

visitors participate in programs such as today’s Girl Scouts Junior Ranger

Day at Mission San José. The Girl Scouts Junior Ranger Day at Mission San

José event launched the commemoration ceremonies and is the first of a

series of free youth outreach activities that will continue throughout the



“It is our hope that by increasing the community’s awareness about the

Missions status as National Parks we are able to instill and reinvigorate

our residents’ pride about our national treasure. Our goal is for the

long-term preservation and sustainability of the park so that future

generations are able to reconnect with the rich cultural heritage that is

located on the city’s South Side,” stated Stephen Whitesell, SAAN

Superintendent and future Associate Director of National Park Services for

Lands, Policy and Facilities.


The contribution of the partnering organizations is a continuous and

ever-expanding effort whose future plans include establishing the Spanish

Colonial Demonstration Farm, the development of Rancho de las Cabras near

Floresville, the establishment of a new biking trail from Mission San José

to the Hike and Bike trail by the San Antonio Riverwalk and presenting

exhibits at San Juan Museum.


“Our city’s culture is reflected by its vivacious past and the historical

remnants that are reminders of our rich history,” stated Bexar County

Judge, Nelson Wolff.  “For 30 years these groups have worked diligently to

ensure that these traces of history will remain for future generations,

giving San Antonio continued reasons to celebrate.”


Joining Whitesell and Wolff at today’s celebration were Patricia Diaz

Dennis, Chair, National Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the USA

and Murphy Emmons, Board Chairman for Los Compadres along with numerous

Girl Scouts troop members, their families and friends. Participating Girl

Scouts members earned the San Antonio Missions Tour Patch as well as the

opportunity to become a National Park Service Junior Ranger member and

receive the Junior Ranger badge.


For more information about the National Park Service and San Antonio

Missions National Historical Park, visit For more

information about the friends group, Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions

National Historical Park, visit