Last Day to Register for the 2021 National Convention at the Discounted Rate!

Fill out the online registration form to save your spot.

Get a $20 discount if you register on or before July 31st. Also, we are sorry to report that the California Trail Highlights pre-convention tour is already sold out.

Photo by  Jordan Thomas

Give me the convention details

Where: Elko, Nevada
When: September 13th-16th
Speakers: 13
Tours: 9 (vaccine required)
We are featuring the most diverse group of speakers we have ever had, and there are numerous new tours that will showcase pristine sections of trail all over northeast Nevada.
Learn more about the convention and register by clicking on the blue "Convention Website" button below.
Want to register by mail? Paper forms are being sent out, but you'll still want to check out the convention website for full details on tours and speakers.
Convention Website

In this issue

  • New Nevada Mask Guidelines
  • New Butterfield Overland Trail Auto Tour Section on OCTA's Website
  • Update on Butterfield Overland Legislation
  • New Henness Pass Book Available for Free Download
  • Volunteers in Parks: Special Request From Our National Park Service Partner
  • American Solar Challenge Set for the Santa Fe Trail
  • Elko Convention Apparel Now Ready to Order!
  • Convention Updates for Raffle/Auction and the End of the Trail Banquet
  • Gateway and Trails Head Chapter to Hold Joint Membership Meeting at Lone Elm Park
  • Third Thursday History with the Southern Trails Chapter
  • Southern Trails Chapter President Mark Howe Featured in American Historical Association Magazine
  • Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter Zoom Presentations for Summer and Autumn 2021
  • Trails Head Chapter to Co-Sponsor Bus Tour Along the Santa Fe Trail in Missouri
  • OCTA Partners with the Kansas City Royals on a Fundraiser
  • OCTA Photo Contest!
  • New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!
  • Order Fresh Coffee and Help OCTA's Bottom Line

New Nevada COVID mask guidelines as of Friday July 27

In accordance with new CDC guidelines, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued Emergency Directive 047 on July 27. The directive requires people in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission to wear a face covering while in public indoor locations. Currently, 12 of Nevada’s 17 counties meet that threshold. Elko County is one of the counties affected by this order, so masks will be required to attend the Elko Convention when indoors.

The mandate went into effect yesterday on Friday, July 30.While we are all suffering from COVID fatigue, it is important to continue to exercise safety and caution as cases and positivity rates across the state continue to increase. 

A full version of 
Emergency Directive 047 can be read here.
OCTA Launches New Butterfield Overland Trail Auto Tour on Website
OCTA is pleased to announce that we have launched a new section on our website to assist you on your Butterfield Overland Trail Auto Tour Route adventure. Not only does it include a select number of trail sites to visit, it also includes other nearby attractions. We were able to develop this website at no cost to OCTA in cooperation with the many convention and visitors bureaus and state tourism departments listed at the end of each section. We also have the map available as a brochure, so be sure to stop by the OCTA store at the Elko convention to pick up your free copy!

Update on Butterfield
Overland Legislation

Bill Martin, OCTA's legislative liaison, was recently contacted by Senator Boozman's (R-AR) office asking for our support in finding co-sponsors for the Butterfield Trail designation bill.

He has asked us specifically to contact Democratic Senators in the Butterfield Trail states to encourage them to co-sponsor his legislation. Frankly, he is concerned that, in today's polarized political world, introducing the bill without Democrat co-sponsors will be fatal to its success.

Bill has several items to help you reach out:

1. A sample letter that can be sent over your signature to Democratic senators. Feel free to personalize it as you see fit.
2. An updated backgrounder on the Butterfield bill.
3. A list of Democratic Senators in California, Arizona and New Mexico that I hope you will reach out to.
4. Updated talking points on the Butterfield.
5. The text of the 2020 Senate bill (the bill Senator Boozman is preparing for 2021 will be identical).

Bill will be reaching out to the appropriate staff members in the Senators' D.C. offices, but it will be extremely helpful if you can reach out to the offices in states in which you reside. Hearing from their constituents is important.

New Henness Pass Road Book
Available for Free Download

A 19th century version of the 20th century's Route 66, the legendary Henness Pass Road moved people, goods and gold between California and Nevada. Now you can enjoy the excitement and experience the challenges of the pioneers by driving your 4-wheel vehicle along the partly unpaved actual wagon route. The field guide Over the Henness Pass: Road Barons and Risk Takers takes you to most of the early stage and hotel stops, from Bridgeport, California to Virginia City, Nevada. Along the way, you can learn about the road and bridge builders and robber barons who built the road and many of the other transportation facilities that enabled the Gold and Silver Rushes of the 1850s and 60s. They sped up the opening of the West and helped develop modern day California and Nevada.

Written by Chuck Scimeca, a retired California state park ranger and OCTA member, the ebook contains over a hundred maps and images as well as mileages and GPS coordinates to more than 25 of the original hotel and stage stops. Download your copy here. You can also download a PDF of the book as well as a book entitled Ghost Towns of Nevada County at the You Bet Press website

Volunteers in Parks: Special Request From Our National Park Service Partner

NPS Photo
We want to celebrate YOU for the Anniversary of VIP! When the Volunteer In Parks (VIP) Act was passed by Congress on July 29, 1970, it allowed parks to have “volunteers for or in aid of interpretive functions, or other visitor services or activities.” Since that moment, it has evolved into a vibrant network of talented volunteers across the nation who love contributing to parks’ missions. The program allows volunteers to lend talents, skills, or even learn new ones in partnerships beneficial to both the volunteer and parks (and trails!) It is because of you we have been able to work towards protecting, developing, and promoting the California and Oregon National Historic Trails!

In honor of the anniversary, we would love to share more about your experience as a volunteer. Please share with us your favorite project, your favorite trail experience, and include a photo if you can. Email NPS directly at Thank you for all that you do and for sharing your experience!

American Solar Challenge Set
for the Santa Fe Trail

The American Solar Challenge is set to launch on Monday, August 2. In past years, OCTA has partnered with the American Solar Challenge and National Park Service to stage this unique race along the Oregon Trail, and we look forward to doing that again in 2022. But first, college students from around the world will drive their hand-built solar powered vehicles along the Santa Fe Trail from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe and back to Las Vegas, New Mexico in August 2021. The schedule is as follows:

Mon, Aug. 2:
Public viewing of the cars on the Independence Square from Noon to 7:00pm

Tue, Aug 3:
Start in Independence, MO at Independence Square at 9:00am
Checkpoint in Council Grove, KS at Council Grove Jr-Sr High School from ~12:00pm-2:45pm
Stage Stop in McPherson, KS at Midway Motors from ~2:15-8:00pm

Wed, Aug 4:
Stage Start in McPherson, KS at Midway Motors at 10:00am
Checkpoint in Dodge City, KS at the Boot Hill Museum and Convention & Visitors Bureau from ~12:45pm-4:30pm
Checkpoint in La Junta, CO at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site from ~3:45pm-6:00pm

Thu, Aug 5:
Checkpoint in La Junta, CO at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site (continued) from ~9:00am-3:15pm

Fri, Aug 6:
Stage Stop in Las Vegas, NM at West Las Vegas High School from ~10:00am-8:00pm

Sat, Aug 7:
Stage Start in Las Vegas, NM at West Las Vegas High School at 9:00am
Loop out to Santa Fe, NM (passing through Santa Fe Plaza but not stopping from ~10:30am-1:00pm)
Finish in Las Vegas, NM at Las Vegas Plaza from ~12:00pm-5:00pm

For more information, visit the American Solar Challenge website.


Elko Convention Apparel is Here!

Get your order in by August 15 to ensure your apparel is ready for pick up at the Elko convention! Check out the items you can order now on the convention website! You can place your order even if you've already registered for the museum. Remember, order by August 15 to ensure your items are ready for pick up in Elko at the beginning of the convention. See the convention website for pricing and sizes. 

Convention Updates for Raffle/Auction
and the End of the Trail Banquet

For those who would like donate items for our raffle or auction, please send them to:

Duane Jones
582 Croydon Dr.
Spring Creek, NV 89815

Or, if you prefer, you can bring your items and deliver them at the convention. Please drop Duane a line at if this is your preference. 

Also, for those who want to wear trail-period clothing, please join us at the End of the Trail banquet on the final night of the convention attired in your finest trail items.

Gateway and Trails Head Chapter to Hold Joint Membership Meeting at Lone Elm Park

On Saturday, August 7, Trails Head Chapter of Kansas City area will be holding a joint membership meeting with OCTA’s Gateway Chapter, at Lone Elm Park at 167th & Lone Elm Road, Olathe, Kansas. We will have several impressive speakers talking about not only the history of the site,
which is nearly two decades old, but also the history of the trails that passed through the site. Lone Elm was a key camping site on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California National Historic Trails.

Gateway will car caravan from the parking lot of Remington Nature Center to Lone Elm. The trip takes about one hour. We will leave St. Joseph at 8:30 a.m. The program begins at 10 a.m. at Lone Elm. There will be a great lunch and some special activities. It will be a memorable event! We will return to St. Joseph by 3:30 p.m.

NOW is the time to make your reservation and reserve your lunch.  Attached is the form to order your lunch.  The paid reservation must be made by July 30.

Plan to attend this special event!
1) Send an email to let Gateway know you are attending and if you will meet at Remington Nature Center to join the caravan or if you will drive on down to Lone Elm on your own.  (Due to Covid, we are not arranging carpools. However, if you feel safe with a friend, go ahead and arrange your own carpools.)

2) Fill out
the lunch form and send it and your $10 to Jean Coupal Smith of Trails Head Chapter by no later than July 30.


Third Thursday History
With the Southern Trails Chapter

Join the Southern Trails Chapter the third Thursday of every month on Zoom. A new speaker will present on a historical topic related to southern emigrant trails each month.
Join for our next talk with Gil Storms:
Thursday, August 19th, 5 PM PDT (AZ)/ 8 PM EDT Register by clicking on this link:
** Some recipients had trouble with the registration link sent out in previous emails. You can use the new link post above.

Traveling the Devil’s Road: Charles D. Poston and Raphael Pumpelly Escape from Arizona, 1861

In July 1861, Charles D. Poston, superintendent of the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, and Raphael Pumpelly, mining engineer for the Santa Rita Mining Company, decided to abandon their mines in Arizona because of Apache raiding and escape to California. They did so by traveling over two of the most dangerous immigrant trails in the Southwest—El Camino del Diablo (“The Devil’s Road”) along the Arizona-Mexico border and the route pioneered by Kearney and Cooke across the Colorado Desert to the California coast. On the way, they endured brutal heat and lack of water and met bandits, murderers, and Mexican revolutionaries. Their adventures on these two legendary trails illustrate the risks of travel in the border region and the courage and resourcefulness needed to make the journey to California successfully.

Speaker Bio
Gil Storms has a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He taught American literature and writing at Miami University (Ohio) and currently lives in Tucson, where he researches and writes on Arizona history and literature. His book Reconnaissance in Sonora: Charles D. Poston’s 1854 Exploration of Mexico and the Gadsden Purchase was published in 2015. His book Raphael Pumpelly’s Arizona will be available in December 2021.

Southern Trails Chapter President
Mark Howe Featured in American
Historical Association Magazine

Recently,, Southern Trails Chapter President Mark Howe was featured in the American Historical Association's magazine. However, he recently took a job with the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, so the entry is already out of date. But we still wanted to share the recognition some of our members are receiving. Congratulations, Mark!

Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter
Zoom Presentations for Summer
and Autumn 2021
Please join us for a visit with Colorado historian and author, Dr. Jeff Broome.  A member of OCTA, Jeff is a leading historian on the subject of Indian wars and the author of four books on the Central Plains Indian war.  

His most recent book, Indian Raids and Massacres: Essays on the Central Plains Indian War, published in 2020, covered incidents in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska from 1864-1870 and was the feature of one of our events last year.  

In this year's event, Jeff will delve further into the causes of the Sand Creek Massacre, describe the tragic events surrounding the capture and death of Clara Blinn and her son, and provide further insights into incidents described in his most recent book.  He will also share some fascinating "lessons learned" in the historical research he has undertaken over the past 26 years.
1:00 Pacific
2:00 Mountain
3:00 Central
4:00 Eastern

Topic: OCTA Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter Zoom event
Time: Aug 28, 2021 02:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Future Zoom presentations are as scheduled:

September 25:
Emigrant Trails Hall of Fame
Presentation by the national organization's Hall of Fame Committee on the new inductees for 2021

October 16:
The Oregon Trail is Big Business
Presentation by Roger Blair

November 20:
Finding the Oregon Trail Route to the Whitman Mission
Presentation by David Welch

Trails Head Chapter to Co-Sponsor Bus Tour Along the Santa Fe Trail in Missouri

“Following William Becknell in September 1821:
The Osage Trace/Original Santa Fe Trail.”
Trails Head Chapter President Lila Aamodt and Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association President Gary Hicks are co-sponsoring the bus tour.

Led by trail historians CRAIG CREASE and ROSS MARSHALL, you will travel the ORIGINAL Santa Fe Trail segments from Arrow Rock, MO. to Independence, MO. The bus will leave at 9:00 a.m. and return by 4:00 p.m. from National Frontier Trails Museum at 318 W. Pacific Avenue in Independence, MO.

To reserve your seat, please send a check to Trails Head Chapter for $45 by August 27 (includes box lunch, water, handouts, maps plus two informative and entertaining tour guides) to:               

Lila Aamodt
5938 Reeds Road #202
Mission, KS 66202

Due to a huge increase in numbers of COVID cases in Missouri, you must be vaccinated and a mask will be required to come on this bus tour!


OCTA Partners with the
Kansas City Royals on Fundraiser

Whether you live in Kansas City, near Kansas City, or have plans to travel to Kansas City this year, if a Royals baseball game is on your to-do list, your ticket purchase has the potential to help OCTA's bottom line. OCTA is partnering with the Kansas City Royals to make tickets available to a select number of games, with OCTA receiving $5 from every lower level ticket sold and $2 from every upper level ticket sold. Simply visit and enter the promo code "OCTA" to ensure that all tickets sold are credited to us. 

Games available include: 
  • Sunday, July 25 vs. the Detroit Tigers
  • Tuesday, July 27 vs. the Chicago White Sox
  • Tuesday, August 31 vs. the Cleveland Indians
  • Sunday, September 5 vs. the Chicago White Sox
  • Wednesday, September 15 vs. the Oakland A's
  • Saturday, September 18 vs. the Seattle Mariners
  • Wednesday, September 29 vs. the Cleveland Indians
  • Sunday, October 3 vs. the Minnesota Twins
Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium is located on Blue Ridge Cutoff, very near the route of the Oregon and California Trails. So come and soak in some baseball near the trail head!

OCTA Photo Contest!

An example of a member-submitted photo taken by Steve Voetsch. This one depicts Chimney Rock. Keep the submissions rolling!
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.

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. 

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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