Oregon and California NHTs: 2018 Highlights

Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)

  • Developed a new website and brochure program. The website makes it easier for volunteers to report their hours, mileage, and unreimbursed expenses, and also incorporates interactive trail maps of the Cherokee Trail in Colorado and the Southern Routes. The 68,000 printed brochures have been distributed in trail States from Missouri to the West Coast, and the online version has been viewed over 24,000 times.
  • Expanded and improved its online offerings, including launching a new Utah Crossroads Chapter, building a new website with interactive maps and digitized diaries of emigrants for its Gateway Chapter in St. Joseph, MO, and planning for a new Trails Head Chapter website in the Kansas City area.
  • Partnered with the National Park Service and American Solar Challenge to stage a unique “race” along various branches of the Oregon Trail, from Omaha, NE to Bend, OR. Dozens of universities the world over built space-age vehicles powered only by the sun to traverse the 2,000 miles, with events held at each checkpoint that introduced OCTA to new audiences.
  • Held a Southern Trails Symposium in Gila Bend, AZ, with about 125 people attending to learn about another route to California that OCTA is working to make a national historic trail.
  • Held OCTA’s 36th annual convention in Ogden, UT, with over 300 people attending to learn about topics including the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express NHTs, local American Indian tribes, fur trade, and transcontinental railroad.
  • Completed a weeklong charette in St. Joseph, MO, led by OCTA’s NPS partners, to work with the community to better highlight the California and Pony Express NHTs, help create more heritage tourism opportunities, and plan for the future of development along OCTA’s trails in the area.
  • Greeted the 80-foot U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, harvested from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest, in various trail cities from Oregon to Missouri enroute to Washington, D.C.
  • Multiple State Governor Proclamations (Missouri, Kansas, and Oregon) encouraged people to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail.
  • Contributed $20,000 toward legal fees in an effort to keep the Boardman to Hemingway powerline project in Idaho and Oregon off the Oregon Trail. Rerouting the powerline project at Sutherland, NE is also on OCTA’s agenda, as it would cross well-preserved parts of the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express NHTs.
  • Attended the National Council on Social Studies Conference in Chicago, IL, where OCTA shared its primary source documents and curriculum found on its websites with thousands of educators from around the country and garnered a dozen new memberships.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in Pathways Across America is public domain. All views expressed herein are perspectives of individuals working on behalf of the National Trails System and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of the Federal agencies.

American Solar Challenge at Scotts Bluff National Monument following the Oregon Trail. Photo Credit: Amanda Gibbs.