The Caracara Trails: Building and Bridging a Community Together

Imagine 428 miles of nature and culture at the reach of your fingertips–or in this instance, your feet. The Caracara Trails are just that; a plan to build and connect trails in Brownsville to create a 428-mile network that not only attracts locals, but people around the country as well. Texas is a huge place, so there are so many incredible things to do in Brownsville. Simply because of its size, nearby cities can often get ignored. With the Caracara Trail, we plan to change that. Healthy Living as a Community The Caracara Trails will not only leverage on, but promote a healthy lifestyle in the Brownsville and much of the Lower Rio Grande Valley community. The Caracara Trails encompass such a wide area of Cameron County. Because of this, there is bound to be easy access for anyone interested in visiting the trails or wishing to kickstart their healthy lifestyle in Brownsville and its surrounding areas. In return, the Caracara Trails are meant to create a sense of community and boost the local economy by interconnecting different historic, natural, and commercial sites–making the Caracara Trails more than just a local community emblem, but a tourism magnet, too. From Cameron County to the U.S. We know Brownsville has gorgeous architecture and is vibrant with colors and culture, and the Caracara Trails are meant to showcase these. With South Padre Island and its surrounding areas already being somewhat of a national tourist attraction, the Caracara Trails aim to attract a wider variety of tourists and guide them towards the amazing things Brownsville and Cameron County has to offer, placing the Lower Rio Grande Valley right under the spotlight. In this manner, tourists will not only focus on one section of the county, but are more likely to spread out and explore. Making it Happen The Caracara Trails are still in the process of coming to life. However, a lot of the main components we need to achieve this vision are already there. As part of the big Caracara Trails project, there are six catalyst trail projects that will set the groundwork for the bigger trail network: Arroyo-Resaca Hike and Bike Segment Bahia Grande Trail Segment Battlefield Extension Trail Segment South Padre Island Trail Segment Arroyo Colorado Paddling Trail Segment Laguna Madre (U.S. Bicycle Route) Segment As part of the Caracara Trails project–and in addition to our six catalysts–the Queen Isabella Causeway Project would provide the trail network with a dedicated, barrier-protected bike and pedestrian lane with an additional access route between Port Isabel and South Padre Island. All in all, the Caracara Trails are a project that has only been possible thanks to the joint work of The City of Brownsville, the National Parks Service, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, along with many of its neighboring towns and cities. Once complete, extensions and all, the Caracara trails will comprise 230 miles of multi-use trails, 120 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes, and 78 miles of paddling trails. The Caracara Trails are a project for the community and we cannot wait to welcome you all to the natural beauty of Brownsville! Learn More About the Caracara Trails and How You Can Help Now Contact Us Today

People are Getting Excited About Caracara Trail’s Brownsville Battlefield Trail Extension

Early in 2020, the City of Brownsville, the National Parks Service, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy teamed up with regional and local partners to work on a project meant to improve the health of residents in the Rio Grande Valley. In an effort to give Texans more opportunities to get outside and get active, the partnership is working to complete the Caracara Trails Vision: a plan to develop a 428-mile trail network around Brownsville and its neighboring towns and cities throughout Cameron County. The Brownsville Battlefield Trail extension was the first step in jumpstarting the trail project, providing residents and potential tourists with more fun and healthy things to do in Brownsville. Let’s learn about why this trail was developed, how it was funded, and what’s coming next to the Caracara Trails Vision. Improving Health Outcomes for Cameron County The development of new trails in Brownsville brings with it several different benefits for residents. First, the development of the trail network is expected to increase physical activity by 22% in Cameron County. Physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle and helps reduce individuals’ risk of serious health issues significantly. “As we break ground on the Battlefield Trail Extension, we’re marking a turning point for the health, wellness and economic potential of our region,” Rose M.Z. Gowen, M.D., Brownsville city commissioner and a board member of RTC told reporters. Giving Brownsville a Boost While seeking better health outcomes for Brownsville residents and other Texans is reason enough to invest in a project like the trail and its extension, there are actually other indirect benefits that residents will see, as well. The increase in physical activity is expected to result in savings of as much as $12.3 million in health care costs for Cameron County. The improvement in health, health spending, and living conditions in Brownsville is also expected to contribute to a surge in investments in the area. “The Caracara Trails vision is already bringing new investment to Cameron County in the form of federal and private grants… Our trail network vision and all that it can deliver for the health and economic growth of our region is being realized with each investment, each mile of trail built and each person who gets out for a walk, a run or a ride.” Exciting Upcoming Things to do in Brownsville The Battlefield Trail extension was merely the first step in the Caracara Trails Vision for Brownsville. Moving forward, work is expected to be completed on a 2.5-mile trail project connecting Brownsville to Los Fresnos, as well as a 1.1-mile Los Fresnos Hike and Bike Trail. Outside of the Brownsville area, projects include the South Texas Eco-Tourism Center and the Arturo Galvan Coastal Park. Ultimately, the Caracara Trails are meant to connect the entire Lower Rio Grande Valley and will include 230 miles of multi-use trails, 120 miles of biking trails, and 78 miles of paddling trails. Get Active and Learn More About Our Trails in Brownsville and How You Can Help Today. Contact Caracara Trails Now