In this issue

  • San Diego Symposium, January 27-30, 2022
  • Notice About Junípero Serra Museum Tour During the San Diego Symposium
  • New Tour of Rosecrans National Cemetery Added to Symposium Offerings
  • Making History Come Alive!
  • History and Change on the Old Spanish Trail: Mountain Springs to Salt Creek
  • Nominating Committee Seeking Board Candidates
  • Harold "Hal" Manhart, 1930-2021
  • Submit Your Volunteer Hours
Books & Publications
  • New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!
  • Go West, Young Man: A Father and Son Rediscover American on the Oregon Trail

  • Southern Trails Chapter Third Thursday Event
  • Marchers Needed for Mormon Battalion Re-Enactment
  • San Diego Symposium (in partnership with the Mormon Battalion Association), January 27-30, 2022
  • Casper Convention, August 28 - September 3, 2022
  • Order Fresh Coffee and Help OCTA's Bottom Line

January 27-30, 2022
San Diego Symposium

Old Town San Diego

Registration is now live at the San Diego Historic Trails Symposium website. You can register online there or print out the registration form and mail it with your payment to OCTA, 524 S. Osage St., Independence, MO 64050. 

Hotel information is at the Old Town Courtyard website.

Masks will be required at the lecture series and while inside the van on the Sunday tour. Proof of COVID vaccine will also need to be submitted to or shown at registration.

Please hold the dates of January 27-30 for OCTA's next event, a symposium in San Diego held in partnership with the Mormon Battalion Association (MBA) as part of the 175th anniversary celebrating the battalion's arrive in Old Town San Diego. 

The OCTA board meeting will be held on Thursday, January 27 with a keynote address that evening by OCTA VP Steve Allison, who grew up in San Diego and will speak on "The San Diego We Know and Love," which lives on in our shared history and our personal and family memories. Steve writes:

"My grandfather’s 16mm films, boxes of photos, my journal, class photos and report cards, and the stories my brothers and I tell each other help me remember My San Diego. As each succeeding generation moves into its future, its past begins to fade. What’s left for historians to sort through gets thinner and thinner the farther back in time we go. On the other side of photographs and newspapers, we homage to those intrepid writers and clerks who kept journals, military and cemetery records, payrolls, land transactions, wills, etc. Beyond that, traveling even farther into the past, the Kumeyaay oral histories paint pictures of their lives and traditions. To know of anything beyond them, we rely on archeologists and geologists to decipher the earth's records. This presentation attempts to give context to our view of San Diego history from my personal experiences and what was known about San Diego before the Mormon Battalion arrived on this day 175 years ago. I will also give an overview of the symposium."

On Friday, we will have a slate of speakers with a wide array of topics, including the Mormon Battalion, the Butterfield Overland, the Gold Rush, local American Indians, the Chinese in California, African-Americans in California, and a host of other topics.

Old Town San Diego will be overrun with thousands of visitors on Saturday, as re-enactors march into this historic section of the city to kick a day of interactive and fun activities. You can be a part of this re-enactment by dressing in period clothes and joining the marchers. Find more details on how to participate here. Two more speaking sessions will occur late on Saturday afternoon, and we've also arranged private guided tours of the Junipero Serra Museum early on Saturday afternoon, but space is very limited so do not delay in signing up.

We will conclude the symposium with a tour of the Mormon Battalion/Butterfield Overland/Southern Route to California through the Yuha and Anza Borrego Deserts in eastern San Diego County. OCTA recently produced a short video about this section of trail and debuted it to an enthusiastic crowd at the Elko Convention last month. Please enjoy it as a preview of what you can see in person when you join us in San Diego in late January. Click here to view
On the Butterfield: Calexico to Oak Grove. 


Notice About Junípero Serra Museum Tour During the San Diego Symposium

Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park (courtesy city of San Diego)

Please take the following into account when booking your tour for Saturday afternoon. If you've already paid for this tour and would like a refund, please contact to request a refund.  The following is from an alert posted to the museum's website:

The State of California and County of San Diego have modified the COVID-19 Guidance as follows:

  • Occupancy levels are restored.
  • Social Distancing is not required but recommended.
  • Masks are recommended for all individuals entering the museum.
  • Masks ARE REQUIRED for guests who are not fully vaccinated. NOTE: The San Diego History Center will not require guests to attest or verify vaccine status. By entering the museum without a mask, you are attesting that you are fully vaccinated and are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 OR do not feel well and healthy, please do not enter.
  • The History Center will maintain sneeze guard barriers on Welcome Desk as well as hand sanitizing stations.

New Free Tour Added to
San Diego Symposium

Rosecrans Cemetery looking west over Cabrillo National Monument and the Pacifc Ocean at sunset. (Picture credit: USA Reisen von Experten)

Mary Ann Kirk, board secretary for the Mormon Battalion Association, just notified OCTA HQ today that she is going to be offering a guided tour of Fort Rosecrans Cemetery with an on-site narrative of the two battalion individuals (a soldier and a woman) and the San Pasqual solders who are buried there. The tour will be held on Thursday, January 27 at 3 PM. There is no fee for this tour and there is no need to register. Simply send an email to to let us know how many will be in your party so we will have a head count. Those interested should meet at the front entrance to the cemetery, located at 1700 Cabrillo Memorial Drive in San Diego. 

Making Trail History Come Alive!

Those of you who attended the Elko convention were treated to some of the best presentations ever seen at an OCTA event. Fortunately, all of the presentations were recorded, and we plan to share one every week for the next few months. 

Last week, we lead off with The Temporary Grave of Sarah Winnemucca with Dr. Sarah Keyes from the University of Nevada-Reno presenting. This week, we offer up "Making Trail History Come Alive!"  This presentation was made by former OCTA Educator of the Year Jill Jensen, a teacher from Wisconsin. We hope you enjoy these encore presentations!


History and Change on the Old Spanish Trail: Mountain Springs to Salt Creek

OCTA is pleased to announce that KVCR, the PBS affiliate in San Bernardino, will debut OCTA's newest 25-minute documentary, at 4:30 PM (Pacific) on Sunday, December 26. It will be re-aired repeatedly for the next five years, giving OCTA a huge number of impressions in an area with a potential of 18 million viewers.

OCTA partnered with the Amargosa Conservancy near Death Valley to secure a grant from the California Humanities Council in order to produce this short documentary about the evolution of what came to be known as the Old Spanish Trail, from its use over thousands of years by American Indians, to its use as a mule-pack trail by Mexican traders between Santa Fe and Los Angeles between 1829 and 1848, Fremont's visit to the area in 1844 and his naming of the trail in his report to Congress, and the eventual improvements that made it a wagon road used by Mormons, 49ers, emigrants, and others during later the American era.

For those not in the Southern California broadcast area, a special sneak preview of the full program is available at the link here:

Nominating Committee
Seeking Board Candidates

Nominations are being accepted through February 15, 2022 for election to OCTA’s National Board of Directors. Directors serve for three-year terms and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Members of the Board are responsible for setting policies and priorities for the organization and electing officers. They also serve as important liaisons with OCTA chapters.

The terms of Board members Bill Martin, Jean Coupal-Smith, Steve Knight will expire in 2022. This is their first term and all are eligible to run again. Bill Martin has elected to not seek a second three-year term. Thus one Board position will be open. Board members serve three-year terms and may serve no more than two consecutively. Directors are expected to attend two board meetings annually one of which is held in conjunction with the OCTA Annual Convention. The second, Mid-Year meeting, usually in late winter or early spring, is held in rotating locations.

In order to be a candidate for the Board of Directors all that is required is being an OCTA member in good standing, a short statement of qualifications and experience, a photograph and the endorsement of three members of OCTA. Candidacy papers should be sent to the Nominating and Leadership Committee Chair Lee Black at or mailed to Lee Black, PO Box 92225, Albuquerque, NM 87199.

For more information about the elections process or the job you may also contact other members of the Nomination and Leadership Committee. Pat Traffas at or Roger Blair at Additional information may also be found in the Members area of the OCTA website.

Harold "Hal" Manhart

Hal Manhart receiving a lifetime achievement
award from his Rotary Club

Following a prolonged fight with cancer, Harold Eugene Manhart, MD, passed away at his home in Montrose, Colorado, Dec. 5, 2021. Harold was born to Lewis F. Manhart and Villa Kramer on Sept. 17, 1930, in Parma, Ohio.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Lauren Manhart and sister Margaret Denzer.

He is survived by Sharon and his three children, Grant, Scott and Anne; grandchildren Katarina, Kenton, Logan, Chase, Louis, and Claire, and great-grandchild Brantley, and his brother Dr. Richard Manhart and sister Jeanne Lewis

Harold married the love of his life Sharon L. Ruh, in Columbus, Ohio, on June 26, 1956.

Harold grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he attended elementary through high School and attended college at Bowling Green State University. He attended Ohio State University where he received his MD. He returned to OSU for his specialty training in otolaryngology following his service in the US Army. He was assigned to the 82 and 101 Airborne in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as a flight surgeon and was always proud of and humbled by the work he did with the WW2 and Korea veterans.

Harold specialized in pediatric ENT practice in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1963-1983. His love of the West brought him to Montrose, Colorado, in 1983 where he established a medical practice that served all of Southwest Colorado. Following retirement from clinical practice, Harold became vice president of medical affairs at Wisconsin Blue Cross/Blue Shield and went on to develop and apply Information Technology systems to healthcare services in the 1990s.

Growing up in rural Ohio provided Harold a strong connection to the land. In 1966 he purchased a dairy farm in Wisconsin with his eye on rehabilitating it to a productive conservation tree farm specializing in American walnut. Over the ensuing 55 years his effort has been rewarded with multiple recognition including Conservation Farm of the year on two occasions. He was a member of the Wisconsin Woodland owners Association, American Walnut council and the American Chestnut foundation.

Harold was a patron of the arts as an avid lover of music and also a skilled woodworker. He learned to paint with many of his esteemed artist friends in the Mountain West in his late 80s and went on to pioneer the art form of preserved Bonsai sculpture which won awards at several art shows in the Southwest.

In Montrose, Harold was active in Rotary, Medical association, Archaeology society, and the Ute Indian Museum. He was instrumental in modernizing the museum and funds for its renovation.

Memorial services will be held later in the upcoming year and any donations can be made in his name to the Ute Indian Museum or plant a tree in his honor.

Crippin Funeral Home is assisting Mr. Manhart’s Family.

Time to Report Your Volunteer Hours!!!!

It is again time to turn in your volunteer hours, mileage, expenses paid by you and not reimbursed, time traveling to meetings (including the Elko convention), research, etc.

To submit hours, visit our online volunteer hour reporting portal for a simple, fast way to share your hard work with our federal agency partners and budget planners in Congress. Your volunteer hours are matched with appropriations and the Volunteers in Parks program to the financial benefit of our trails. Please report all you have done! It's the most important thing we do!

Books & Publications

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. Read more and learn how to order the book here.

Go West, Young Man: A Father
and Son Rediscover America
on the Oregon Trail

At the sound of the bell on the last day of kindergarten, B.J. Hollars and his six-year-old son, Henry, hop in the car to strike out on a 2,500-mile road trip retracing the Oregon Trail. Their mission: to rediscover America, and Americans, along the way. Throughout their two-week adventure, they endure the usual setbacks (car trouble, inclement weather, and father-son fatigue), but their most compelling drama involves people, privilege, and their attempt to find common ground in an all-too-fractured country.

Writing in the footsteps of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Hollars picks up the trail with his son more than half a century later. Together they sidle up to a stool at every truck stop, camp by every creek, and roam the West. They encounter not only the beauty and heartbreak of America, but also the beauty and heartbreak of a father and son eager to make the most of their time together. From Chimney Rock to Independence Rock to the rocky coast of Oregon, they learn and relearn the devastating truth of America’s exploitative past, as well as their role within it.

Go West, Young Man recounts the author’s effort to teach his son the difficult realities of our nation’s founding while also reaffirming his faith in America today. It also features extensive interviews with OCTA Past President Duane Iles, the Historic Inscriptions on Emigrant Trails and Graves and Sites on the Oregon and California Trails author Randy Brown, and OCTA Association Manager Travis Boley, among others

You can
order your own copy of the book on OCTA's website for only $19.95. It would make an excellent Christmas gift!


Southern Trails Chapter
Third Thursday Zoom Event


Author Bill Cavaliere will speak on the Chiricahua Apaches and the Southern Emigrant Trails tonight at 7:30 PM Central via Zoom. Register and get your ticket at:

Marchers Needed for
Mormon Battalion Re-Enactment


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 © 2021 Oregon-California Trails Association, All rights reserved.

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