Register for the 2021 National Convention

Fill out the online registration form to save your spot.

Get a $10 discount if you register on or before August 31st. 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

  • Elko Convention: Last Minute Updates
  • Submit Your Volunteer Hours Now
  • New Idaho Chapter website
  • Chapter Newsletters
  • New Board Guidelines Regarding Proof of Vaccination at Elko Convention
  • Convention Updates for Raffle/Auction and the End of the Trail Banquet
  • Third Thursday History with the Southern Trails Chapter
  • Santa Fe Trail Celebration at Kansas City's Trailside Center, September 18
  • Gateway Chapter Bus Tour of Kansas City Trail Sites Set for October 2
  • Partnership for the National Trails System Historic Trails Virtual Workshop, November 1-4
Books & Publications
  • New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!
  • OCTA Partners with the Kansas City Royals on a Fundraiser
  • Order Fresh Coffee and Help OCTA's Bottom Line

Elko Convention: Last Minute Updates


Basque Dancers:
The Basque Dancers will be appearing at the Welcome Reception at Johnny Appleseed Park on Country Club Drive in Elko, NV at 6 p.m. on September 12, 2021. Maps will be available at the registration table.  Billy Rose will provide live music and light fare will be provided. This event is being held outdoors. The dancers will be masked but some may not be vaccinated. Viewers can maintain whatever distance they choose from the dancers in the park setting.

California Trail Interpretive Center Visit:
A fun visit is planned to the California Trail Interpretive Center on Monday evening, September 13 from 7 to 9 p.m.  There will be light refreshments, shopping opportunities at the gift shop, and a chance to view interesting exhibits inside and out. Bus transportation is planned.

Greenhorn Cutoff Hike:
Space is still available for the Greenhorn Cutoff Hike – Sign up at the Registration Desk at the Convention if you are up for a strenuous six mile hike along this trail.  The entire route of the hike has been recently remarked using Don Buck’s field notes.

Gravelly Ford Tour:
Based on a recent field check, the last part of the Gravelly Ford Tour will be modified due to poor road conditions. Unfortunately, road conditions the last seven miles into Gravelly Ford make that leg of the tour impassable for vans or buses. Earlier field trips suggested it would be passable, but that is now not the case. We regret that we cannot do this, but the safety of all of you is our most important consideration. We will still visit lots of great spots, including:

  • Visit to the Elko Hot Hole – used by the emigrants for cooking and laundry
  • Stop at the Chinese Gardens with a special story
  • Visit to a California Trail Wayside on the banks of the Humboldt River with a few of wagon ruts
  • Walk around the Maiden’s Grave with a story about an aged non-maiden
  • View of Carlin Canyon and discussion of Greenhorn Cutoff
  • Stories of ice harvesting from the Humboldt for rail cars bringing CA produce in the days before refrigerated cars

September 14 College Reception Cancelled
Reception at Great Basin College on Tuesday, September 14 is cancelled. Potential attendees are encouraged to visit the California Trail Interpretive Center on Monday evening instead.

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 meeting (including the upcoming Elko convention), research, etc.. 

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!

 New Idaho Chapter Website

After months of delay, the updated Idaho chapter website is now live. It has a fresh modern look and is no longer a hodge-podge repository of stale material. Please check it out. The calendar page will now be able to be kept up to date. Chapter president Jerry Eichhorst encourages you to keep it bookmarked and come join them on future activities. Visit the new website now at

Chapter Newsletters

Idaho Chapter Trail Dust Summer 2021


Vaccine Guidelines for Elko Convention
Last month, the OCTA board meet via an emergency Zoom meeting to discuss rising COVID cases in both Elko and nationwide. As most of our convention attendees are in the age group most impacted by the threat of COVID, the board voted unanimously to require proof of a COVID vaccination to attend the convention. Please either send a photocopy to OCTA HQ at: 524 S. Osage St., Independence, MO 64050, or email a photo of it to You can also show proof of vaccination at the convention check-in. We are striving to keep everyone safe and to still put on a great convention. Thank you for your understanding.

We will also be requiring masks for all indoor activities, whether in the convention center, on the tour buses, or other off-site facilities where OCTA convention activities are taking place. The mask order is per the Governor of Nevada.

The language regarding the COVID motion from the board meeting minutes is as follows:


John Briggs moved, Pat Traffas seconded, that the Elko NV OCTA Convention will require that all attendees for all events be vaccinated for COVID-19, and have proof of that vaccination with them, or will have provided it in advance of the Convention.

Documentation of a negative COVID-19 test will not be acceptable.

The motion passed unanimously.

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.

Third Thursday History
With the Southern Trails Chapter

The Southern Trails Chapter is hosting its next Third Thursday History night. The next talk will be on Marie Felicite St. Vrain, who was a mere 16 years of age when she traveled down the Santa Fe Trail with her Uncle Ceran, destined for Bent’s Fort. The year was about 1839. Register to hear her descendent, Christine St. Vrain, present on Marie’s life at the Oregon - California Trail Association’s Southern Trails Chapter’s next Third Thursday History night.

Thursday, September 16th, 5 PM PDT (AZ)/8 PM EDT

Zoom call link:

Join the Trailside Center in  Kansas City for Their Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Celebration

Gateway Chapter Bus Tour of Kansas City Trail Sites Set for October 2

The Gateway Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) is sponsoring a bus tour on Saturday, October 2 in the Kansas City area and will have plenty of room for people from the KC area to join with them on the tour.

OCTA Past President Ross Marshall will be leading the tour as you travel from Kaw Point (the juncture of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers) through the downtown Kansas City area over to Independence and along the Independence Route of the Santa Fe-Oregon-California Trail south to Red Bridge and over to I-35 and back to the downtown area and Kaw Point.

Attached are all the details of how to sign up and pay for your seat on the bus.

We will leave from Kaw Point at 9:30 and return there at about 4:00.

View all trip details here. 

Partnership for the National Trails System
Historic Trails Workshop Registration Now Live

Join the Partnership for their Historic Trails Workshop, November 1-4, 2021. Register at the link here
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.

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. 

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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