Las Lagunas de Anza Certified an Official Site of the Anza Trail
by Hale Sargent, Anza Trail Interpretive Specialist
Las Lagunas de Anza, a Nogales, Ariz., wetland restored and managed by the Santa Fe Ranch Foundation, was designated an official Certified Site of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail at a National Park Service ceremony March 23, 2015.
The certified status designates the natural wetland as one of the premier sites in Arizona and California to experience the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Other certified sites include the Peralta Adobe in San Jose and the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland.
At the March 23 event, Anza Trail Superintendent Naomi Torres, Santa Fe Ranch Foundation President Tony Sedgwick, and the Anza Ambassadors youth group unveiled the new signage connecting the site to the National Park Service.
The Anza Trail commemorates the 1775-76 expedition of some 240 colonists who became the first non-Native settlers to arrive overland into Alta California. The expedition families camped as they made their way across New Spain (present-day Mexico, Arizona, and California). Las Lagunas de Anza marks their first historic campsite located in the United States.
Volunteers and staff of the Santa Fe Ranch Foundation undertook a major restoration of the natural wetland in 2008. The foundation's partnership with the National Park Service began with the creation of the Anza Ambassadors youth group in 2012. Students from Nogales and Rio Rico High Schools use the site as a classroom to learn and teach others about the region's Spanish colonial history. Las Lagunas is now a popular field trip destination for elementary and middle school students from Nogales, Rio Rico, and Elgin.
Historic sites may apply to the National Park Service to earn an Official Anza Trail Site Certification. The sites must be open to the public and have a direct connection to the story of the 1775-76 Anza Expedition. Las Lagunas de Anza is the first site to receive the designation in Arizona.
Directions to Las Lagunas de Anza:
From I-19, exit at Grand Avenue; turn right at the first intersection onto Country Club Drive, and then turn right immediately into Las Lagunas de Anza
Las Lagunas Site Certification
Las Lagunas de Anza site sign unveiled March 23
Participants at the Site Certification Ceremony March 23