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Friedrich Wilderness Park of San Antonio: An Urban Escape With a Mission

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Bequeathing 180 acres of land close to Leon Springs, Norma Friedrich Ward provided the opportunity to the City of San Antonio, Texas, to make use of the property as a park in 1971. With it, she also gave $100,000 for the purpose of making improvements to the land, her wishes being that that the native trees, natural vegetation, and shrubs continue to be protected in her absence and that wildlife and native birds be given the use of the park as a sanctuary. With the intent of enhancing the property, in 1972, Glen Martin and Wilbur Matthews donated an additional 52 acres to the park, under the same guidelines that Mrs. Ward had specified. Subsequently, the beginnings of Friedrich Wilderness Park of San Antonio had commenced.

Friedrich Wilderness Park of San Antonio: An Urban Escape With A Mission

Photo: Facebook/San Antonio Hiking

By 1978, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provided a grant to develop the property, and the park was officially dedicated on August 31 of that year. Today, the park has grown to 600 acres and features approximately 10 miles of hiking trails that vary in degree of difficulty over steep hills and deep canyons. It’s home to rare birds and is internationally recognized for bird watching, including nesting sites for two species that are registered on the federal endangered species listing: the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler.

Friedrich Wilderness Park of San Antonio: An Urban Escape With A Mission

Photo: Facebook/San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department

It’s also home to terrestrial orchids, which can be seen throughout the park along a number of its nature trails, which also include handicapped accessible paths. Friedrich Wilderness Park also features a number of environmental programs to help educate visitors regarding local vegetation and wildlife, and The Friends of San Antonio Natural Areas provide support for the park through volunteer work. Soil composition and water resource studies, archaeology, as well as the study of plants that are native to Texas are completed in the park by the Master Naturalist Program, and although people are welcomed to make ample use of the area, due to the protection of endangered species, pets are not allowed to accompany their families there. It’s a beautiful natural spot within an urban setting in the Texas Hill Country that beckons the naturalist and welcomes the newbie. To learn more about Friedrich Wilderness Park, visit their website, or call (210) 207-7275. Trail accessibility maps are also available by link on their main page, together with a listing of educational and nature programming for the entire family to enjoy.

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