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Marker, trail commemorate Spanish overland expedition in 1775
YUMA, ARIZONA – The newest wayside exhibit and designated segment of the historic Anza Trail will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Feb. 18 in Yuma.
The wayside marker is located in a public overlook area just outside the entrance to the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. The prison, which is Yuma’s best-known tourist attraction, overlooks the section of the Colorado River where members of the Quechan Indian Tribe helped Juan Batista de Anza and his band of Spanish colonists cross the river in 1775.
A section of a rustic riverside trail through the restored East Wetlands habitat area below the prison is being symbolically designated as an official segment of the Anza trail, though the expedition’s exact route and crossing point has been lost to time and the meanderings of the river.
The ceremony kicks off the second century of service of the National Park Service, which worked with the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area to designate this landmark. The project is a partnership with the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, an NPS program that commemorates the Spanish settlement of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1776.
The 1,200-mile Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail commemorates the Spanish colonial expedition that brought the first non-Native families overland into California.
The expedition reached Yuma at the confluence of the Colorado and Gila Rivers on December 1, 1775. The crossing of the Colorado River with critical aid from the Quechan people was one of the most iconic chapters of the Anza expedition.
Along with a contingent of the Anza Trail Color Guard, park rangers and officials from Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area and the Anza Trail Foundation will cut a ribbon to open the exhibit. The public is invited to attend, with parking available in the adjacent Territorial Prison lots. Admission to the prison is not necessary to attend the ceremony or view the waymarker.
The formal program will be followed by period demonstrations led by the Anza Trail Color Guard. There will also be guided walks along the East Wetlands nature trail that is being officially designated as a segment of the Anza Trail.
The Anza Trail connects historic, cultural, and recreation sites across Arizona and California that reveal a legacy of our country's Hispanic heritage.
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