- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is annexing 137 acres of land that officials hope will attract more visitors to the park and help it secure World Heritage Site status.

The land was added as part of larger bill President Barack Obama signed into law last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1zVuO7B ).

Adding the land “will allow for much easier management of the resources by the park service,” said Susan Chandoha, executive director of missions’ friends group Los Compadres.

The law will affect San Antonio’s four Spanish colonial missions, which are maintained by the National Park Service. The newly annexed land, around missions San Jose, San Juan and Espada, will include part of the San Juan Dam and the head gate to the San Juan Acequia, a Spanish colonial-era drainage structure. The park also includes Mission Concepcion.

The park service owns 30 of the additional acres. The rest is owned by the San Antonio River Authority, the city and Bexar County.

The river authority planned to donate land to the park, but that wasn’t possible before the expansion, said Mardi Arce, park superintendent.

“The most exciting part of it is the idea that these labores will be protected, and that will help tell a more complete story for the entire park,” Arce said.

Adding acreage is considered another step in efforts to secure UNESCO’s World Heritage Site status for the four missions, the newspaper reported.

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Online:

http://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com

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