2019 Oregon and California National Historic Trails Highlights

Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)


Technology — OCTA launched a new website (gateway-octa.org), which contains over 200 original trail diaries from those who jumped off from St. Joseph, MO, plus over 200 Pony Express documents and an interactive map that details the trail-related businesses found in St. Joseph, MO in the 1840s-50s. NPS helped fund the digitization of those documents. OCTA launched a new YouTube Channel, which will be populated with advocacy videos.

Events — OCTA hosted the “Truman and the Trails Symposium” in Independence, MO and its annual convention in Santa Fe, NM. 

Exhibits — NPS entered into an interagency agreement with BLM at the Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, OR to revise the Tribal exhibits in the center with support through NPS Connect Trails to Parks funding.


Planning — OCTA previously developed a comprehensive 216-page planning document with NPS to assist in developing a 47-mile long retracement corridor through the Kansas City metro area. A groundbreaking was held for a new $3.5 million bridge along U.S. Hwy. 24 in Independence, MO, which is being built in concert with the $25 million expansion of the nearby Harry S. Truman Presidential Library that will showcase the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe National Historic Trails. OCTA is working with NPS, FHWA, and the Missouri Department of Transportation to plan out the riverfront in St. Joseph, MO to fully develop the story of multiple national historic trails (Oregon, Pony Express, and Lewis and Clark) as new plans are made for the I-229 project in the same area. 

Advocacy — OCTA is advocating to reroute the R-Project Powerline near Sutherland, NE and the Boardman to Hemingway Powerline in Oregon so they don’t negatively impact the trails in those areas. 

Maintenance OCTA held a cleanup of the wagon swales at Fernley, NV. 

Signage — NPS, USFS, and OCTA properly signed the Oregon Trail through Mount Hood National Forest. NPS signed an updated memorandum of agreement with the California Department of Transportation related to trail marking through signing along the California and Pony Express National Historic Trails.


Strategic Plan — OCTA’s strategic plan expires in February 2020, and the organization has evaluated the success of the previous five-year strategic plan with NPS and is planning for the launch of its new strategic plan. 

Funding — OCTA won a Google Ads grant of $120,000 to spend on Google advertising in perpetuity. A PNTS grant will fund a digital media communications intern to help guide OCTA in its approach to targeting online audiences.