The Friends of Government Canyon

The Friends of Government Canyon is much, much more than a friend’s group for San Antonio’s largest State Natural Area.  Formerly known as the Government Canyon Natural History Association, this volunteer, non-profit organization took root in the late 70’s from the passion of “dining room table” environmentalists.  These dedicated individuals saw an opportunity to save a huge swath of the Edward’s Aquifer recharge zone and to provide much needed green space for San Antonio’s ever sprawling city boundary.  Their vision was simple and unprecedented; bring together and pool the resources of diverse entities (Texas Parks and Wildlife, San Antonio Water System, Edward’s Aquifer Authority, Trust for Public Land, leaders within the City of San Antonio and Bexar County and the generosity of individual donors) for a common good — our drinking water.

It is through the hard work, vision and dedication of the Government Canyon Natural History Association (now known as the Friends of Government Canyon) that Government Canyon State Natural Area exists and continues to thrive.

Today, we have evolved into a growing group of active volunteers who take pride in the work we do — from grooming trails to facilitating education programs to advocating the protection of the Aquifer and numerous resources found within the boundaries of the Natural Area.  Since inception we have recorded more than 200,000 volunteer hours.  We are hikers, naturalists, artists, mountain bikers, runners, researchers, clean water advocates and in general, lovers of the outdoors with one common mission; protecting and preserving the Natural Area. 

Our Mission

To promote public awareness, education of conservation and preservation, volunteerism, and non-degredational recreational usage of the rich and ecologically diverse landscape of Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Activities Committee

This group develops and implements interpretive programs, hikes and special events for the Natural Area which allow the public to learn and experience more about the site.  It also supports staff-led programs, events and activities that occur on- and off-site. Members work with other volunteers, staff, community organizations, professionals, educators and others in producing and presenting a wide array of fun and interesting programs for all ages.  Meetings are held once a month at the historic Ranch House. For more information about Activities Committee contact activities@friendsofgc.org

Trail Patrol

The mission of the Government Canyon Trail Patrol is to serve as a communication link between visitors and the Natural Area Management, to work to maintain the safety and integrity of the trail system, to offer information and assistance to trail users, and to protect the resource through encouraging responsible and environmentally sound use of the Natural Area.For more information about Trail Patrol contact trailpatrol@friendsofgc.org

Public Relations

The Public Relations Committee is responsible for preparing communications to publicize our activities and programs, supporting any and all committee work requiring the use of public information, and representing the Organization in matters related to public advocacy. For more information about Public Relations contact pr@friendsofgc.org

Notable Efforts

  • Helping Texas Parks & Wildlife maintain the Natural Area
  • Offering Natural Area “experiences” such as Imagining the Canyon (an event which brought together hundreds of public influencers, artists and advocates to learn more about the Natural Area and to interpret the experience to others)
  • Recording the history of the Natural Area in a documentary
  • Funding support for Government Canyon State Natural Area
  • Assisting with annual International Migratory Bird Day event, Halloween event, and running events.