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OCTA's Newest YouTube Video:
Painted Rocks

OCTA's newest YouTube Channel offering, Painted Rocks, makes its debut today. Join Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Cheryl Blanchard as she explains this site that she manages as part of her duties in Arizona. Be sure to subscribe to our channel so that you get instant alerts the second our videos go live. Once we reach 1,000 subscribers, YouTube will share with OCTA the ad revenue generated by our channel. 

Stay tuned  as we continue to roll out all of the videos we filmed over the past year. We have three more videos in this inaugural series to share:

Friday, May 14: Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains
Saturday, June 5: How Six Historic Trail Stories Converge in One Small Missouri Town

Complete List of OCTA's YouTube Videos

Click the links below to watch the 18 YouTube videos that OCTA has produced so far. Be sure to subscribe! Once we reach 1,000 subscribers we will start earning ad revenue from our channel. Enjoy and share!

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.

Southern Trails Chapter Zoom Event: Terror on the Santa Fe Trail

Zoom Event!
Thursday, May 20th 5 PM PDT(AZ)/8 PM EDT
Register at

The range of the Jicarilla Apache covered a third of the Santa Fe Trail on both the Cimarron Cut-off and the Mountain Branch. At any time, they could cut New Mexico off from the Union striking cold fear in the hearts of leaders in Santa Fe. Three times when angered they closed the trail, but in 1854 they had been at peace for four years. Governor Meriwether predicted a war caused by the policies of his predecessor. But it didn’t come. Then Lieutenant Davidson attacked a peaceful camp of Apaches. They defended themselves with 100 warriors to his 60 dragoons. Twenty-two dragoons died and the rest were wounded while the Jicarilla suffered only 3 casualties. The governor had his war which was officially declared. Davidson became a hero and after almost two years of pursuing and killing Apache, the governor made almost the same peace treaty as his predecessor. Through it all Kit Carson was enemy, neighbor, friend, scout, and their Indian agent and finally, led their last war party.

Presented by the Southern Trails Chapter of the Oregon California Trails Association with award-winning author Doug Hocking.

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

On Saturday, May 15, a joint event of the Northwest and Colorado-Cherokee Trail chapters, "Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs" will feature a panel discussion moderated by David Welch and Legacy, a video recently produced by Southern Utah University.

Panelists include:

  • Andy Anderson
  • Roger Blair
  • Camille Bradford
  • David Welch


  • 1:00 Pacific
  • 2:00 Mountain
  • 3:00 Central
  • 4:00 Eastern
Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 852 1944 2535
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Talks Begin to Create Temporary
Oregon Trail Experience

Plans are moving forward to create an Oregon Trail experience in Baker City during a two-year closure of the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center that starts next winter.

According to a press release, “formal negotiations” are currently underway between Baker County and the Bureau of Land Management, which operates the center five miles east of Baker City.

If an agreement is reached, the BLM would lease 2,500 square feet at the Baker Heritage Museum, 2480 Grove St. in Baker City. The leased area would include the Adler Room, located just inside the entrance, as well as the south end of the second-floor ballroom.

Read the full story at the Baker City Herald website

Volunteer Opportunity at the
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest's
Oregon Trail Interpretive Park


The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest's Oregon Trail Interpretive Park (OTIP) is ready to open for the season and is looking for volunteers host to make that happen. The site is located just west of La Grande, Oregon off the Spring Creek exit from Interstate 84.

Some of the volunteer duties include opening the gate from 9 am to 7 pm, maintaining two restrooms that have running water, grounds maintenance, and basic upkeep of the site. This location does have cell service and the hosts would stay in an RV behind the gated area. The OTIP is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Compensation for expenses is generally $15 per person, per day, 6 days per week, with other amenities reimbursed as agreed. The US Forest Service reserves the right to perform a background check for volunteers.

Please contact Ben Walker at (541) 975-4609 or if you're interested. 

Two-Time Olympian Kim Conley
Trains on Historic Trails - Part IV


Kim Conley is pictured here at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in southern California
(Picture from the blog of Kim Conley)

Three weeks ago, we introduced you to Kim Conley, a 35-year-old two-time Olympian, who loves to train on National Historic and Scenic Trails. A graduate of the University of California - Davis, Kim daily passed the marker for the Solano House, a Pony Express Station that was located where the campus stands today. For the four years she attended school there, plus the additional four years that she stayed on as an assistant coach, Kim trained on and near the Pony Express National Historic Trail. She qualified at 5,000 meters for both the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games, and in June she is heading back to the Olympic Trials in Oregon in an attempt to qualify for this summer's Tokyo Games.

She would later move to Sacramento, and her training then moved to the American River Trail. That trail is, of course, the historic corridor of the both the Pony Express and California National Historic Trails. Kim recently moved her training to the high altitude of Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was there that she decided to start a blog chronicling her love of training on our nation's historic trails. We share with you this week her blog post about a post-race run on the Mission Trail in San Juan Capistrano, California:

"It turns out that not all historical trails retain their sense of history. My last three races have taken place in San Juan Capistrano, and with the famous mission in the heart of downtown, I was eager to run down the paths of Spanish missionaries. The outcome did not live up to the romance I’d envisioned.  

"From downtown you can run to the San Juan Creek Trail, which is a bike path that runs south from the Mission, along San Juan Creek, and ends at Dana Point. The route follows the same path that Spanish missionaries developed in the late 1700s as they came up the coast connecting San Juan Capistrano to the missions in San Diego.

"The morning after Sound Running’s February 10,000m race, I set off with Drew down the path, wanting to retrace the path of the Franciscans who were claiming California for the crown in Spain. The missions were built to allow for one day of walking between each, and the missionaries followed the route along San Juan Creek traveling inland from the coast. In my mind’s eye, I saw a trail running along a scenic creek, connecting the town to the open expanse of the Pacific. 

"The path was narrow and crowded with cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and e-bikers. Mobile homes lined one side of the path, and the other sloped down sharply--San Juan Creek, it turned out, was a trickle of water that sat at the bottom of a concrete gully. 

"We ran three miles down the path to Dana Point, where we turned right to add-on along the coast. It was crowded, but the Pacific was turquoise blue and shimmering in the sunlight. After feeling disappointed by the bike path, I took some comfort in the beauty of the ocean."

Read the rest of Kim's blog post here and be sure to cheer her on as she attempts to qualify for her third Olympiad in June at the Olympic Trials in Oregon. We will continue to share her blog posts about her experiences as well as the results of her races, as it is likely that she will spend some time on both the Lewis & Clark and Oregon National Historic Trails in the coming month as she prepares for the Olympic Trials. Good luck, Kim! The rut nuts of the Oregon-California Trails Association are cheering you on!

A tax break for retirees is back.
Here’s how to use it — and what to avoid

This tax break is a fringe benefit of getting old. It lets some in their 70s use a tax strategy that got canceled for 2020 because of COVID but is now back with us.

The qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows individual retirement account holders to divert some of their federally taxable required distributions to charity. That lets the IRA holders make donations and reduce their federally taxable income — while still letting them take the standard deduction on their federal tax returns.

OCTA is still accepting donations for its year-end appeal, and a QCD might be a way to both help OCTA and your own bottom line. Some members are even donating a portion of their stimulus checks, so thank you to those who called this week and did so! Read more about QCDs at this article from the Washington Post and consult your tax adviser on how to properly utilize this benefit. 

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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