This 8-mile linear park has over 16 miles of trail along the river for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy, plus a paddling trail for canoeing and kayaking. These trails connect to stunning Mission Portals which are large works of art serving as gateways to the San Antonio World Heritage Mission Sites.
The Mission Reach looks much different than the historic San Antonio River Walk and the Museum Reach. It is a shining example of urban ecosystem restoration. You may run into some of our River Authority landscape team members keeping the area free of trash and nurturing the native Texas grasses and wildflowers that provide seed, pollen, fruit and nectar for wildlife. The result is a serene, natural landscape where visitors can enjoy the inherent beauty of the river. The restoration has also improved the San Antonio River’s water quality, ecosystem function and health. The ecosystem improvements allow fishermen, birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts more opportunities to enjoy wildlife in an urban area. You might even join some of the River Authority recreation staff for a fishing or birding clinic!
This park hosts 5K fun runs, art classes, festivals and many other community events. You can host events of your own at one of the many pavilions available to reserve. Be sure to check out the River Authority events calendar and park registration system, and also download The San Antonio River Walk map to learn more about everything this park has to offer.
Mission Reach - Prescribed Burns
Periodic, low-intensity fires and other natural processes that reduce competition from taller plants and trees can benefit native plant communities, especially grassland systems. Land managers use the science of fire ecology to restore such areas through a process called prescribed burning. It is a controlled, planned, and safe management tool that is widely used to manage vegetation under very specific conditions. Prescribed burning, when used as part of an adaptive management program, can improve the landscape’s overall health by removing dead plant material, restoring nutrients to the soil, and suppressing some non-native species as well as trees. The San Antonio River Authority utilizes prescribed burning to maintain the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration Project.
In June 2018, the River Authority conducted its first prescribed burn to promote a resilient and diverse plant and wildlife community, reduce thatch, restore nutrients to the soil, suppress invasive species, and promote environmental education and sustainable landscape practices. The River Authority conducted its second burn in February 2019.
Prescribed burning can be conducted in two seasons: “cool” season burns, or burns that are conducted in the winter, are more likely to promote the growth of native species, whereas “warm” season burns, or burns conducted in the summer, are used more often to suppress the growth of non-native species. Regardless of the season, prescribed burning will aid in management by reducing cover, removing thatch, suppressing woody encroachment, and restoring nutrients to the soil.
After a prescribed burn, there is usually an increase in the diversity of plant and animal species. Additionally, plants exhibit new growth that is beneficial to wildlife. Although wildlife may be temporarily displaced during a prescribed burn, they often return to find the habitat improved. Furthermore, research shows that there are usually more insects found in rejuvenated burn areas compared to unburned areas. The increase in insects means more food is available for birds and other wildlife.