Senator Frank L. Madla Natural Area

The Frank L. Madla Natural Area is named for the late senator whose family is a long time resident of the Scenic Loop area.  The natural area park is owned by the City of Grey Forest that purchased 42 acres at the corner of Scenic Loop and Menchaca through a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife and conservation easement funds from the City of San Antonio.

The park overlooks the Madla farm where the late-Senator Madla was raised. The Park will be designed with hiking and jogging trails that will highlight the native Texas Hill Country environment and is to include information stations throughout the park describing the fauna, flora, geology, history and cultural significance of the area. Additionally, active management of the wildlife habitat will be undertaken to preserve the wildlife located in the Natural Area for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The centerpiece of the Natural Area will be a pavilion located at the trailhead for the enjoyment of visitors to the park and will serve as a meeting sight for future educational programs.

Like the surrounding lands, this the park site has a rich history with structures that date to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The Park site was settled in 1852 by John Conrad Beckmann and his wife, Regina who both arrived in America in 1841. John was a wrought-iron craftsman by trade and had a homestead in San Antonio, Texas near the Alamo. The park site was purchased by John for his wife whom had grown homesick for her native lands of Switzerland. The property was purchased as a weekend retreat for Regina and would in time include a Swiss chalet style cabin. In 1853, the farm was the site of an Indian raid that would result in the deaths of the farm’s caretaker and his family. This picture is of one structure on the park site taken in 1906 and includes Mr. John Beckmann on the far right.

The park is currently scheduled to open during the spring of 2013.  Trails have been cleared and trail markers are being put up, the park entrance is under construction,  walkways around the pavilion and circle of friends have been landscaped.   Over the first quarter of 2013, we will be working toward the Park Dedication and Grand Opeing on March 9, 2013.

The park development is being overseen by a City appointed park board.  The park board members are:

  • Dr. Frank L. Madla II (chairman)
  • Ron Greene Ph.D. (co-chairman)
  • Susan Beavin
  • Storms Duthie
  • Don Darst
  • Kyle Cunningham
  • Jen Nottingham (City Council Representative)
  • Ron Reinhard (Mayor – non voting member)

The Senator Frank Madla, Jr. Park Conservancy has been established and donations to complete and maintain the park project are gratefully accepted.  Go to Madla Park for more information.