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OCTA Set to Embark on Feasibility Study to Lead to Major Fundraising Effort
OCTA is pleased to announce that a feasibility study that could lead to a major fundraising effort for the Oregon-California Trails Association was recently approved by the national Board of Directors.

The Board approved a $32,500 agreement with Hartsook Fundraising Counsel Worldwide of Independence, Missouri. The agreement will be funded in four stages, and individual members of OCTA leadership and others have provided $8,125 for the first stage of the study.

The first stage will include a Campaign Readiness Review to determine if OCTA is ready for a major fundraising effort and will include recommendations that will serve as a guide to help OCTA prepare for a campaign.

OCTA’s Fundraising Committee, including OCTA President Lee Black, Dave Welch, Bill Martin, Helen Hankins and John Briggs, has identified a need for as much as $1.7 million to support trail preservation and promotional activities. The Committee interviewed several consulting firms before recommending Hartsook, which has 33 years of experience in helping nonprofits like OCTA.

A final decision on proceeding with the fundraising effort will be made after Hartsook completes much of its work over the next several months and makes its recommendations.

"OCTA has an opportunity to build on its existing network of donors to help achieve its mission of preserving emigrant trails,” Black said. “For the past several years we have been limited by lack of funding from growing into new areas. We are hopeful we can change that.”

The Committee has identified several specific areas that could benefit from the fundraising effort, including archaeology, publications, education outreach, collections and archives, preservation, website development, and building OCTA’s Endowment Funds.

“This is a big step for OCTA and is very exciting for our future,” Black said. “We are looking forward to working with the professionals at Hartsook to identify specific fundraising opportunities and help OCTA preserve trails and grow our organization.”                         


OCTA to Dedicate Gregory Franzwa
Memorial Bench on National Trails Day

On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 9 AM Central, 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 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 Facebook page. If you don't have Facebook, we will send out an archived link to the event in the following E-News. 


Elko Convention Registration
Material Coming This Week

With the ever-changing landscape of COVID restrictions, planning for our upcoming convention in Elko, Nevada from September 13-16 has been a constant challenge. However, the online registration form is nearly complete and will be launched this week, with paper copies to be mailed next week. We will send an E-News and have frequent social media updates once the online form launches. Hotels start at only $59/night, and you can view current convention information on OCTA's homepage. Make plans to join us in Elko and stay tuned for forthcoming registration materials!

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.

Celebration of Life for Michael Brown,
Former Bureau of Land Management Employee and Chairman of OCTA's 1992 Rock Springs Convention



Change of Date for OCTA's 
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 24th, 2021 at 7 PM Central (this was originally planned for June 17)

Register here:

We regret that the date change was unavoidable in order to accommodate OCTA's historic preservation work concerning the B2H transmission line and the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. If you have already registered, you do not need to register again. If you cannot make this new date, please let Isobel know by emailing her at

Idaho Chapter Newsletter

A message from Idaho Chapter President Jerry Eichhorst:

Nancy Briggs has put together another great IOCTA chapter newsletter. I hope you enjoy it. The link below is coming from a new chapter website I am building. Feel free to check out the development version at if you are interested.

We are planning to resume chapter activities within the next couple of months. Please check the calendar in the newsletter or on the new website calendar page. If you have never come out and joined us for an outing, I hope you will consider coming out. We have a great group of friendly people who enjoy sharing and learning about the emigrant trails. Please come join us!

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. 

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.


In the last E-News, we included a video in the Hastings Cutoff tour section and mistakenly attributed it to the Bureau of Land Management. We would like to correct this error and properly attribute it to OCTA member Kevin Lee. Our apologies, Kevin! Please enjoy his video here
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Oregon-California Trails Association
524 S. Osage St.
Independence, MO 64050

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