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Welcome to New OCTA Intern
Charlie Hsing-chuan Dodge

OCTA is pleased to announce the addition of our newest intern, Charlie Hsing-chuan Dodge. Charlie graduated from Temple City High School in suburban Los Angeles where she was a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. She is set to begin her senior year at New York University in the autumn and will graduate next spring from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in 21st Century Storytelling.

Her past internships have included stops at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Artists Talk on Art in New York City, WriteGirl in Los Angeles, and the Gallatin Writing Internship in New York City. During her time with us, Charlie will focus on helping OCTA to launch a podcast, expand on our social media offerings and YouTube presence, and work with us to reach new audiences in California's Chinese-American community to help OCTA better tell the story of the Chinese during the Gold Rush. Her favorite classes in school centered around the Gold Rush, so she is thrilled to get to work on this bit of American history.

She is hoping to attend the convention in Elko so hopefully many of you will have the opportunity to meet Charlie then. Until then, join us in welcoming Charlie to the OCTA family!

OCTA to Offer Zoom Facilitation Training

If you’ve been facilitating meetings for your chapter, or if you’re interested in getting started, this training is for you. Learn how to:

  • Protect public zoom meetings from “Zoom bombing” through event registration.
  • Use the waiting room to get meetings started promptly and on track.
  • Help participants chime in when they need to while keeping background noise and interruptions out of the meeting.
  • Put participants into break out rooms for small group discussion.
  • Use the poll and chat functions to effectively solicit feedback from attendees.

When: Thursday, June 17th, 2021 at 7 PM Central

Register here:

Utah Crossroads Chapter
Tour of the Hastings Cutoff

We are touring from Horseshoe Spring in Skull Valley to the Grayback Mountains on the edge of the Salt Flats following the Hastings Cuttoff.

This Saturday, May 22!

Ray Kelsey of the BLM will be our Tour Guide

Meeting Place: Horseshoe Springs, Skull Valley, Utah.

Time: 10 AM

Vehicle type: SUV of any kind.

No CB radios required.

Bring lunch, water, sunglasses, a wide brim hat, binoculars, and snacks. Face masks are not required but feel free to wear a mask if you wish.

Directions to Horseshoe Spring: 

Drive west on I-80 past Tooele and Grantsville to Exit 77. Drive south on SR196 about 9 miles to Horseshoe Spring. Turn west on the dirt road 100 yards to the parking area.  

We will travel on dirt roads most of the way across Skull Valley on the Hastings Cutoff, through the Cedar Mountains over Hastings Pass, and then across the I-80 Exit 56 bridge to the Rest Stop. From there we will travel to the Grayback Mountains (just some hills actually). That is the end of the tour. We will stop along the way to see amazing things and test our pioneering, problem-solving skills.

To return to SLC drive from the Graybacks to the Exit 56 bridge and take I-80 East.

If you can't make the tour, please enjoy this BLM video of the Hastings Cutoff.

OCTA to Dedicate Gregory Franzwa Memorial Bench on National Trails Day

On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 5, 2021, OCTA will dedicate the Gregory Franzwa Memorial Bench at OCTA HQ in Independence, Missouri. Gregory, who left us after a short illness in 2009, was a founder of OCTA in 1982. We are working with an Eagle Scout candidate and the City of Independence Parks & Rec Department to beautify the area outside the entrance to our office with new plants and flowers ahead of the bench installation before the dedication at 9 AM CDT on June 5. Plan to join us for remarks about Greg and his contributions from OCTA Past President Ross Marshall, then head out to Black Jack Park west of Gardner, Kansas for the dedication that afternoon of their new walking trails through the deep wagon swales in celebration of the Santa Fe Trail's 200th anniversary. This event will be livestreamed on OCTA's Instagram and Facebook pages. If you don't have either of those forms of social media, we will send out an archived link to the event in the following E-News. 


OCTA's Newest YouTube Video:
Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains

Several people notified us last week that the link to the newest YouTube video was not working for them, so we are sharing it again here now. You can always go directly to OCTA's YouTube Channel to watch all of our videos.

New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!

Even among iconic frontiersmen like John C. Fr mont, Kit Carson, and Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger stands out. A mountain man of the American West, straddling the fur trade era and the age of exploration, he lived the life legends are made of. His adventures are fit for remaking into the tall tales Bridger himself liked to tell.

Here, in a biography that finally gives this outsize character his due, Jerry Enzler takes this frontiersman's full measure for the first time--and tells a story that would do Jim Bridger proud. Born in 1804 and orphaned at thirteen, Bridger made his first western foray in 1822, traveling up the Missouri River with Mike Fink and a hundred enterprising young men to trap beaver. At twenty he "discovered" the Great Salt Lake. At twenty-one he was the first to paddle the Bighorn River's Bad Pass. At twenty-two he explored the wonders of Yellowstone. In the following years, he led trapping brigades into Blackfeet territory; guided expeditions of Smithsonian scientists, topographical engineers, and army leaders; and, though he could neither read nor write, mapped the tribal boundaries for the Great Indian Treaty of 1851.

Enzler charts Bridger's path from the fort he built on the Oregon Trail to the route he blazed for Montana gold miners to avert war with Red Cloud and his Lakota coalition. Along the way he married into the Flathead, Ute, and Shoshone tribes and produced seven children. Tapping sources uncovered in the six decades since the last documented Bridger biography, Enzler's book fully conveys the drama and details of the larger-than-life history of the "King of the Mountain Men." This is the definitive story of an extraordinary life.

OCTA HQ has ordered a limited supply of Jim Enzler’s book.  OCTA membership discounts do apply!  Retail $29.95 plus S/H. 

To order:  Call – Kathy Conway at OCTA Natl HQ at 816/252-2276. If she's not in, leave a message and she will call you back as quickly as possible. This book is not yet available on our website but hope to have it added to our online store next week. 

Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs:
Protectors of the Emigrant Trails and Their Stories


Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs Zoom presentation, and to David Welch for organizing it.  In case you missed it, the recording has been uploaded to Dropbox:

The panel discussion that took place following the video included references to the activities of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association after the death of Ezra Meeker in 1928, and the expansion of its mission through the American Pioneer Trails Association. The attached brochures, America's Historical Opportunity and Americanism Through Activities provide further background on the activities that took place in the 1930s and the expanded mission of the organization that Howard Driggs headed from 1928 until his death in 1963.

There was also reference in the panel discussion to the involvement of Merrill Mattes in OTMA/APTA.  He wrote a very interesting report to the National Park Service after his attendance at the 1940 convention which is interesting reading today - 80 years later - as well, a copy of which is also attached.

-Camille Bradford, President, Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter

City of Rocks to Sponsor
Hiking Tour of Pinnacle Pass

Do you want to explore a part of the reserve that is only accessible to the public during a special ranger-led hike? Join a ranger to hike to Pinnacle Pass, an important spot along the California Trail, during Memorial Day weekend. This part of the reserve is on private land, so access is limited except during these special ranger-led tours.

When: Sunday May 30th at 10 am and 4 pm
Where: Meet at the Twin Sisters group parking lot

Details: The hike is fairly level and easy, and less than a mile in length. Visitors will imagine what the landscape looked like as emigrants traveled in wagons over 150 years ago!

Each hike is limited to 15 people. Advanced registration is required so call the Visitor Center 208-824-5901 to sign up.

St. Joseph and the Overland Trails

"Jump-off" with us on Saturday, June 12, 2021 from10:30 AM CDT – 12 PM CDT as we learn more about St. Joseph and what this area was like during the days of the pioneers! Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Call 816-271-5499 to reserve your space today! Cost is the regular admission to the Remington Nature Center.

Topographical Engineer Interpretation Course at Bent's Old Fort NHS
Living History Training
July 26-31, 2021 sy La Junta, Colorado

At our 2009 Loveland Convention, we had a topographical engineer as a guest speaker. Over the years, OCTA member Bruce Watson has queried him on a variety of topographical questions. They periodically hold a six day/ five night class at Bent’s Fort, teaching the technology available to West Point cadets during the period of 1838 to 1850. If you're interested in learning how to attend these classes, please review the informational packet here and if you're interested in attending, please download the application here.

OCTA Photo Contest!

OCTA needs your help with outreach on social media. Send us your favorite photos from visits on the trails with a caption of the places depicted. We’ll give you photo credit when we use your photos to accompany OCTA’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts. Your contribution will help OCTA grow its member base and promote awareness of our historic trails. You will also be included in a photo contest with prizes of free books, maps, and other OCTA goodies given out at OCTA's national convention next September in Elko, Nevada. Winners will be selected based on how many interactions each post gets.

Email your photos with a caption of where each was taken and include your full name.

Order Fresh Coffee and Help
OCTA's Bottom Line


OCTA member Richard Gibson reached out to us with a review of the coffee. He wrote:

"I wanted to say to the group and to the KC ROASTERS that I am thoroughly enjoying my OREGON TRAIL ROAST BLEND COFFEE. It is mellow but full of flavor and is easy to warm back up or drink when cold! Great Idea for whomever came up with this promotion for OCTA! THANKS. I still have another package unopened!"

OCTA Board Member Jean Coupal-Smith added:

"This is a wonderful brew! I love the rich, bold flavor, even though its medium roast and I usually drink dark roast. I rate it up there at the top with my favorite Starbucks blend of Cafe Verona. It is very smooth."

We concur whole-heartedly with Richard and Jean, though this E-News editor is of the opinion that the Butterfield Bean Medium Roast is slightly better than the wonderful Oregon Trail Medium Roast Blend. We remain excited that KC Coffee Roasters created two specialty coffees with 10% of every purchase being donated to the Oregon-California Trails Association. They are currently featuring Oregon Trail and Butterfield Bean blends. Visit their website at to order now.
Copyright © 2020 Oregon-California Trails Association, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oregon-California Trails Association
524 S. Osage St.
Independence, MO 64050

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