County Judge Richard F. Cortez announces Explore Hidalgo County initiative 

EDINBURG – In recognition of Earth Day, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced an ecotourism initiative called Explore Hidalgo County.

The initiative launches a regional approach to highlighting the area’s natural beauty and encourages both residents of the county as well as out-of-town visitors to take advantage of these jewels.

“Within a 40-mile radius, visitors can explore nine world renowned parks and trails alone,” Cortez said in announcing the initiative. “Our vision is to make as many people as possible aware of this region’s natural beauty and our significance in the ecosystem.”

The Explore Hidalgo County Nature Trail is the first initiative aimed at instilling pride in all that Hidalgo County has to offer, Cortez said. In the future, Explore Hidalgo County will highlight the region’s arts as well as its rich history.

The announcement was made at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands & World Birding Center, one of the hidden gems of Hidalgo County.

The first step in this promotional campaign is the production of a promotional video, the launch of a website called as well as a brochure highlighting nine birding centers and natural preserves.

They include the Edinburg Wetlands; Anzalduas Park; McAllen Nature Center; Quinta Mazatlan; Sal de Rey; Bentsen State Park; Estero Llano Grande State Park; Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center; and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Other nature centers will be added in the future.

Local, state and national park representatives expressed excitement at the regional approach this initiative takes. Here is a link to a promotional video.