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

  • New Board Guidelines Regarding Proof of Vaccination at Elko Convention
  • Convention Apparel Now Available on OCTA's Website
  • Convention Updates for Raffle/Auction and the End of the Trail Banquet
  • Greenhorn Hike Now Offered at the Elko Convention
  • Raffle/Auction at the Elko Convention 
  • Fire Jumps Mormon Emigrant Trail
  • Mormon Battalion Symposium, Council Bluffs, Iowa, August 20-21
  • Santa Fe Trail Celebration at Kansas City's Trailside Center, September 18
  • Partnership for the National Trails System Historic Trails Virtual Workshop, November 1-4
  • Third Thursday History with the Southern Trails Chapter
  • 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, September 3
Books & Publications
  • Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association August Newsletter
  • New Henness Pass Book Available for Free Download
  • New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!
  • OCTA Partners with the Kansas City Royals on a Fundraiser
  • OCTA Photo Contest! Deadline August 20th!
  • Order Fresh Coffee and Help OCTA's Bottom Line

Vaccine Guidelines for Elko Convention
Last Friday, 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.

Apparel now up on OCTA's website!

If you registered for the convention before July 20th you may not have had an option to order apparel. You can still order apparel by going to the convention website and filling out the registration form again -- just don't sign up for any convention events. Only fill out required fields and the apparel items. We'll have them ready for you by the convention.
Alternatively, you can go to OCTA's online store and order your apparel there.

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.

Greenhorn Cutoff Hike Now Offered at the Elko Convention

If you filled out your registration before Tuesday, August 3rd, the Greenhorn Cutoff Hike was not available to you to register for. If you would like to join this hike please contact Kathy Conway to let her know. ( The hike is on Tuesday, September 14th from 8 AM to 3 PM. If you registered for a bus tour on Tuesday and choose to go on the hike you will lose your spot on the Tuesday bus tour. Read more about the hike by clicking here.

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.

Fire Jumps Mormon Emigrant Trail, the Mormon Battalion’s Contribution to the 1849 California Gold Rush

The smoke from California wildfires is choking much of the United States. The plumes now stretch more than halfway across the Atlantic Ocean. Some of that smoke comes from the Caldor Fire east of Sacramento, California.

On Tuesday, the fire jumped Mormon Emigrant Trail, now a paved road with an incredible history of fueling the 1849 gold rush and the future of California.

The trail was blazed through the wilderness by members of the Mormon Battalion. In the spring of 1848 they were building John Sutter’s sawmill and mining for gold in what today is Sacramento when Brigham Young called them home. With Sutter’s Mill complete but the snow too deep for passage through the Sierra Nevada, the Latter-day Saint group carved a new, 170-mile road out of the wilderness in 30 days.

Read the entire story at the Deseret News website

Join the Mormon Battalion Symposium
in Council Bluffs for Their In-Person
and Virtual Symposium

Visit for information on how to register for this free online historic trail symposium. It runs August 20 and 21. 

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

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

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. Check out this month's event here.

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 on August 28th. 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. Learn how you can join this Zoom presentation here.

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.”
Learn how to attend here.
Books & Publications

Kansas City Area Historic
Trails Association Newsletter

Please enjoy a free issue of the KCAHTA Newsletter and consider joining them for only $10/year to get this sent to you directly. 

New Henness Pass 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. Read more and download it here.

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. 

OCTA Photo Contest!

An example of a member-submitted photo taken by Steve Voetsch. This one depicts Chimney Rock. Keep the submissions rolling!
Submission deadline: Friday, August 20th

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

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