E-News April 16, 2021

OCTA’s Newest YouTube Video:
Butterfield Overland Stage and the
Southern Route Through Arizona

OCTA’s newest YouTube Channel offering on the Butterfield Overland Stage and the Southern Route Through Arizona debuts today. Join OCTA experts, college professors, professional historians, and Bureau of Land Management archaeologists as we explore this rugged route across the deserts and mountains of southern 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 every Friday as we continue to roll out all of the videos we filmed over the past year. Our schedule of release is as follows:

Friday, April 23: St. Joseph, Missouri: King of the Trails
Friday, April 30: The Oatman Massacre and the Girl with the Blue Tattoo
Friday, May 7: Painted Rock Petroglyph Site
Friday, May 14: Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains

On National Trails Day, which is Saturday, June 5, we plan to debut a video about Lexington, Missouri and its long history as a campsite of Lewis & Clark, a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the headquarters of famed freighters and Pony Express founders Russell, Majors, & Waddell, and site of the Saluda steamboat disaster that killed 125 Mormon emigrants and 49ers. This video concludes with the famous 1861 Battle of Lexington and Jesse James’ daring 1866 bank robbery there.

We thought it would be fitting to debut the final video in this inaugural series by featuring a town that touches on the six National Historic Trails on National Trails Day: the Oregon, California, Santa Fe, Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, and Lewis & Clark National Historic Trails all have their histories wrapped up in this one obscure small town on the Missouri River.

This final video will also wrap up the work we did with our former intern, Sam Sullivan, who filmed and edited these videos with Association Manager Travis Boley producing and directing (and occasionally appearing). Lexington, Missouri is, as you will learn about on June 5, our Association Manager’s home town as well.

Also, stay tuned for future videos. We recently won a grant to film this summer at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield outside of Springfield, Missouri to look at the role that the Butterfield Overland played in that battle. OCTA members from southern California are looking to complete a video on the route of the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Overland through Anza Borrego State Park and the surrounding area in San Diego County.

We are also waiting to hear if we won another grant that would allow us to create a 30-minute documentary for PBS that will look at the history of wagons and stagecoaches as well as the modern-day person who keeps the craft of their construction alive. We hope to land a new intern very soon who has many of the same skills that our previous intern possessed so that we can continue this series over the next year. If your chapter has an interesting story to share, please let us know so we can start planning on how to capture it for our YouTube Channel. 


Complete List of OCTA’s YouTube Videos

Last week, some people had issues with our Lone Elm Campground video. We reloaded it and it is working now. Click on its link below to watch that video and be sure to view the other 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!

Elko Convention Update

Last week, we shared with you the results of the survey we sent out numerous times over the last month or so regarding your thoughts on holding a convention this year. We were thrilled to see that well over 200 of you would love to attend the convention, so we are 99.9% certain we will be holding our convention in Elko from September 13-16. We are waiting for some updates from both the state of Nevada and Elko County regarding new COVID rules, and expect to have new guidance some time in May. We plan to finalize registration materials shortly thereafter and will have both online and paper registration. It is expected that this will all be available by June 1. In the meantime, visit our website for hotel and other information and be sure to take advantage at the extremely low rates we have for you at three hotels that are within walking distance of the convention center. We truly look forward to seeing you all in Elko!


Gateway Chapter Newsletter

Please enjoy news from our Gateway Chapter, representing St. Joseph, Missouri and NE Kansas. And remember, next Friday we’re debuting our newest YouTube video about St. Joseph. Subscribe to our channel now and get alerted the moment it goes live.


Northwest Chapter Meeting on April 17

Please come join our Northwest Chapter on Saturday, April 17th for a General Chapter Meeting on Zoom. They want to meet as many members as they can at this meeting so they can inform you of their plans for Trail Tours; the OCTA Convention in Elko; the need for people to help install T-Rail signs; and to answer any questions you might have about the Chapter and the Trails.

They have three short programs to show you presented by:

  • Roger Blair – Advertising the Trail
  • Dave Welch – Mapping and Marking the Trails
  • Robin Baker – The Eastern side of the Barlow Trail

The meeting will be from 1:30 to 3:30 PM (Pacific).

Zoom info is as follows:

Topic: NW OCTA – Spring General Meeting

Time: Apr 17, 2021 01:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 835 0696 5967

Passcode: 1234

One tap mobile

+13462487799,,83506965967#,,,,*1234# US (Houston)

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Dial by your location

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

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Meeting ID: 835 0696 5967

Passcode: 1234

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcu09CmitM

Two-Time Olympian Kim Conley
Trains on Historic Trails – Part II

Kim Conley is pictured here with the Solano House Pony Express Station Marker on the campus of the University of California – Davis (Picture from the blog of Kim Conley)

Last week, we introduced you to Kim Conley, a 35-year-old two-time Olympian, who loves to train on historic 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 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 training on the Pony Express Trail in both Davis and Sacramento, California:

“There’s a pile of rubble in the UC Davis Arboretum that always invokes some nostalgia. As a freshman in the cross country program, I developed a habit of stopping at Ruins “to stretch” because I had a hard time keeping up with the older women on the team. From there I could slow to my own pace and follow a dirt road into the campus equestrian center. If the colts were in their pasture, I treated myself to a second break.

“Last August, Drew and I ran down that familiar path, past Ruins to the equestrian center. I was lost in freshman memories when he stopped abruptly. I turned back to see what was the matter, and found him reading a stone marker similar to what we’d found on the Beale Wagon Trail.

“A historical marker?” I asked hopefully. He looked back at me, grinning.

“In the wake of learning about the historical railroads of Flagstaff, I had developed an interest in the intersection of history with the places I’d run. My mind was spinning with the possibilities. The Battle Road Trail in Boston came to mind, but I wondered too about the routes I’d explored while training in Kansas City before the 2019 US Track Championships. Weeks earlier I had begun researching historical trails to see what I could find. I set my starting point as the midwest, on account of my time spent in Kansas City, and because it was historically the end of the rail line, leaving the rest of the West to be explored by wagon.

“As I looked at the maps linked through the National Park Service, the Pony Express Trail jumped out at me. From somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I remembered a connection between the Pony Express and my 4th grade field trip to Sacramento. But as I zoomed in on the map and traced the trail west, I was amazed to discover that the final segment of the trail ran along the American River, through what is now part of the American River Parkway. When I graduated from UC Davis in 2009 and moved to Sacramento, the Parkway became my training grounds, and in the ensuing years I built my career on the twenty-three miles of bike path that line the river. Sitting in the living room at home, I cried out to Drew to deliver the news.

“Can you believe this?! The Pony Express Trail came right along the American River, cut through what is now Sac State, then went down J Street to Old Town.”

“He laughed at my surprise. “I did know that, Kim. We run right by a plaque every time we cross from Sac State to the bike path. You’ve really never noticed it?”

“I hadn’t, but I was eager to see it now.”

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!

Volunteer Opportunity at
Trego Hot Springs in Nevada

A cleanup day at Trego Hot Springs was organized to restore it to a more pristine and natural state. Disrespectful human use has degraded the area and help is needed to restore it! Snacks will be provided.

When: Saturday, April 17 10:30 am – 5 pm

General Itinerary (subject to change):
10:00 am – 10:30 am – Volunteers arrive at Friends of Black Rock-High Rock Visitor’s Center.

10:30 am – 10:45 am – Meet and greet! Brief Orientation, review of basic liability and safety protocols before departing Gerlach.

10:45 am – Caravan to Trego.

11 am – 11:15 am – Arrive at site and organize parking.

1pm – 1:30 pm – Break for lunch. Snacks and water will be provided by Friends of Black Rock High Rock.

5pm – End of volunteer cleanup! Thank you to all volunteers, suggest camping or recreation options for those who wish to stay.

Sign up here:

Mask Requirements:
Masks must be worn for social distancing, including while working with others in close proximity and while indoors. Masks do not need to be work when you are in your car, or working alone far away from others.

OCTA Seeks Digital Media Intern

OCTA’s previous intern, Sam Sullivan of Shawnee, Kansas, recently accepted a full-time position in Boulder, Colorado with a video production company. A graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, Sam created OCTA’s Instagram page and Twitter feed, filmed and edited nearly two dozen videos for OCTA’s YouTube Channel, created and managed Google Ads that led to an increase in new memberships and sales of products and services, and provided updates for all of our digital media channels.

OCTA now seeks a new intern who will continue and build upon the things achieved during the previous internship.

The intern will:

1) learn how to manage OCTA’s Facebook page

2) learn how to manage OCTA’s Instagram page

3) learn how to manage OCTA’s Twitter feed

4) have the opportunity to create content via MailChimp for OCTA’s periodic E-News

5) have the opportunity to create and manage Google Ads and to learn the algorithms to help steer traffic to those ads

6) have the opportunity to create video for and manage OCTA’s YouTube Channel

7) have the opportunity to help OCTA continue to increase its reach via its established websites at octa-trails.org, octa-journals.org, paper-trail.org, and inpursuitofadream.org

8) have the opportunity to strategize on methods to reach younger and more diverse audiences as well as international audiences and to help create content on various platforms targeted at those audiences

The position will require approximately 17 hours a week and will pay $15 per hour. Complete details about the internship and the method of application are contained in this attached document. Please share with any university students or recent graduates you may know.


National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Seeks Education Intern

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is seeking applicants for its summer Teacher on the Public Lands internship! This internship is open to any K-12 teacher who is interested in assisting center staff with creating new and inspiring outreach and educational programming for the next generation of public land stewards.

“Our nation has a rich history, and telling our story can be challenging at times,” said Shane DeForest, acting BLM Vale District Manager. “Embedding a teaching professional with our interpretive staff will help us to tell these stories that much more effectively.”

Compensation consists of a $2,200 educational stipend for completing 160 hours of service between May and August 2021, plus free tuition for 3 graduate credits through the University of Colorado-Denver.

Work will include developing curriculum-based programming focused on Native American perspectives in relation to the Oregon Trail, natural history, and early settlement.

The intern will also collaborate with Interpretive Center staff to develop outreach programs and events that engage youth and families in outdoor recreation and foster positive visitor experiences and conservation stewardship of public lands.

Applications must be received by May 1, 2021.

Apply: https://on.doi.gov/3fw0eNN

Questions? Contact Sandra Tennyson: (541) 523-1836 or stennyson@blm.gov,


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 https://www.kccoffeeroasters.com/order-online to order now.