My River POV: Kristen Hansen

The River Authority
Oct 22, 2021

The “My River POV” series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) staff and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.

Kristen Hansen Portrait - Senior Manager of Watershed Parks and Operations

Kristen Hansen, Watershed & Park Operations and Facilities Senior Manager

I was blessed to grow up near the mountains of upstate New York and spend much of my childhood at our family cabin on a river in the Adirondacks. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work outdoors and share my love for nature with others. My educational background revolved around parks, recreation, and environmental science, and I was committed to find a career where I could put all this experience together. I have worked for the National Park Service caring for sea turtles as well as for small and large municipalities bringing outdoor education and activities to visitors. Now, I get to work as the River Authority’s Watershed and Park Operations and Facilities Senior Manager. In each job, I felt a connection to nature and what it could teach us and how we could protect it.

River Authority's Watershed & Park Operations staff picks up trash on the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk following a storm event.

River Authority Watershed & Park Operations staff collecting trash on the San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach after a post-storm event.

In my role at the River Authority, I oversee a dedicated team of skilled men and women that focus on operations, landscape, and recreational opportunities within the River Authority’s four county jurisdiction. Our staff also delivers a valued public service through the continued implementation of the River Authority’s Dam Management and Safety Program. I also support the team that makes sure all the River Authority’s facilities are fully operational. I want to thank the team for inspiring me and others each day through their hard work and commitment to our agency’s mission.

Mission Reach bike and hike path

The River Authority manages more than 500 acres of parks, which include more than 28 miles of hike and bike trails, and over 60 miles of paddling trails along the San Antonio River’s 240-mile course. The Mission Reach is a great example of bringing people and nature together, something I have always tried to do. Our staff is often recognized by those who visit our parks and trails, and it’s due to their efforts that visitors and residents can enjoy these areas and make meaningful connections with the San Antonio River. It’s our hope that those connections develop a sense of pride and responsibility within our community to protect and preserve our natural resources for future generations.

I have been fortunate to work with likeminded people who are as passionate about these things as I am during my time at the River Authority. Our footprint continues to grow as we expand our nature park presence to provide even more recreational opportunities throughout the San Antonio River Basin. It’s wonderful to see people of all ages run, hike, bike, paddle, and so much more along the San Antonio River. Knowing that our work has helped make their enjoyment a reality is a very rewarding feeling that motivates me to continue in our efforts and our commitment to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers!