ECR Trade Days?

First steps taken last week for countywide economic effort

Just think about it. Crafts, antiques, jewelry, art, food, whatever you can think of, lining roads from Rockdale to Thorndale to Cameron and beyond.

That, or something like or maybe something completely different, is an idea that’s marinating in the minds of some Milam County residents.

While it doesn’t yet have an official name, something on the order of El Camino Real Trade Route, or ECR Trade Days or ECR Trade Route Days, was mentioned Friday as about 40 county leaders gathered at Apache Pass.

Milam County has taken the lead among the many Texas County’s which will be part of the El Camino Real National Historic Trail, a National Park Service-designated route which stretches from the Mexican border to Louisiana.

In fact, Milam will be the first county in Texas to have signs installed for the trail, centering for now on historic Apache Pass, a signature river crossing in Native American and pioneer times.

Here’s the reasoning. “History tourists,” said to be the second largest group of tourists after shoppers, will one day be coming through Milam County following the trail.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they had places to stop and contribute a little, or a lot, to our area’s economy.

There’s already a “Sale on the Trail” effort along the ECRdesignated route in east Texas and Louisiana, stretching about 160 miles.

Why not here? Indeed, why not? Friday’s session produced a steering committee and enthusiastic support for the idea, along with the realization that it will need to be a cooperative effort of cities, the county and more.

As to the direction it eventually takes? It may meander a bit, like the El Camino Real trail itself did, but it sounds like the journey could be worth it.—M.B.

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2012-06-28 digital edition

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