E-News April 9th, 2021

OCTA’s Newest YouTube Video:
Lone Elm Campground 

OCTA’s newest YouTube Channel offering on the Lone Elm Campground in Olathe, Kansas debuts today. Join Pat Traffas, Past President of OCTA, as she describes to you the history of this famed campground on the Independence Route that was about two days out from the Missouri River trail head. 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 16: The Butterfield Overland Stage and the Southern Route through Arizona
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. 

Two-Time Olympian Kim Conley
Trains on Historic Trails

Kim Conley is pictured here with a Beale Wagon Road monument near Flagstaff, Arizona (Picture from the blog of Kim Conley)

Kim Conley, a 35-year-old two-time Olympian, 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 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. Kim soon learned that she was training on the Beale Wagon Road, and we share an excerpt from her blog post about what she learned:

“The adventure began with a book. I like to read novels set in the locations I travel, which is why in January 2020 I began reading Téa Obreht’s Inland during my winter altitude camp. On first impression the book seemed perfect–the tale of a hardy frontier woman in Northern Arizona, on a homestead I imagined to be in the heart of the Verde Valley. But then Obreht began hinting at camels. Camels? In Arizona? I had to put the book down and do some research. Wikipedia rabbit holes led to historical websites, and eventually I uncovered a slice of history with which I was completely unfamiliar.

“First, I learned that in 1857 Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was appointed by President Buchanan to build a trail across the west, connecting Arkansas to California. The name Beale was already familiar to me. Not long before, I had read Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder, which details Kit Carson’s adventures across the west, including his many encounters with Beale. Still, Sides never mentioned any camel sightings. I continued my research and discovered that at the same time Beale was initiating the wagon road project, the US Army was conducting an experiment to see if camels would serve better than mules in the arid climate of the New Mexico Territory. Recently inherited by the US in the wake of the Mexican-American war, this new frontier was a challenging new landscape to navigate. The Secretary of War ordered Beale to command the 1st US Army Camel Corps and test the camels’ effectiveness. Twenty-five camels arrived from Africa and the Middle East just in time for Beale’s expedition. They set out with a hundred men, carving a path across the west that included traversing Flagstaff and the Colorado Plateau.

“I found the history fascinating, and even more exciting when I opened the PDF map of Beale’s route. The dashed red line marking his path crossed over Forest Road 171, one of the most popular long run locations for runners in Flagstaff. I realized almost every runner that trains here has unknowingly intersected with Beale’s path. I needed to find it.”

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 next month as she prepares for the Olympic Trials. Good luck, Kim! The rut nuts of the Oregon-California Trails Association are cheering you on!


Complete List of OCTA’s YouTube Videos

Click on any link 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 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,


Chapter Newsletters

Download the latest chapter newsletters from our Northwest and Trails Head Chapters to see what’s going on at opposite ends of the Oregon Trail:
Trails Head Chapter
Northwest Chapter


Updated Oregon Trail Game
Now Available From Apple

The Oregon Trail might be one of the most iconic games of all time in the United States, having been played by millions of middle and high school-aged students since it was first created in 1971. Considering the original title was developed 50 years ago, elements of the formula are bound to have aged poorly, which is something the latest release of this classic game attempts to address.

Apple’s gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, began the month. One of the most notable inclusions was a new rendition of The Oregon Trail, developed by the studio Gameloft. This release updates the visuals, features multiple playable characters, and most importantly, actively works to improve its representation of Native American people.

Read more here.


True West Magazine’s Next Issue to Feature America’s Historic Trails

For 65 years, True West magazine has inspired travelers to take the road less traveled and explore the historic sites and towns of the American West. Now, in honor of its 65th anniversary, the publishers of True West have compiled the 3rd Edition of this essential Old West guidebook, which takes the traveler to where Old West history happened in 22 Western states. NEWLY ADDED: America’s Historic Trails!
Included in the True West Ultimate Historic Travel Guide

  • “Walk Where History Happened”: Hundreds of places expertly and succinctly described to inspire and guide your tour of the West
  • NEWLY ADDED: America’s Historic Trails
  • Dozens of historic and color photos of Western historic sites
  • 22-colorfully, illustrated state maps
  • Easy-to-use listings with addresses, phone numbers and websites
  • Eight of the best Bob Boze Bell’s Classic Gunfights of the Old West
  • True West’s favorite National and State Parks, Monuments, Battlefields, Sites, Memorials where Old West history happened.\

We like to help our friends, and True West is a true friend to OCTA. They helped sponsor our Yuma Symposium last year and provided all attendees with a copy on their new issue on Olive Oatman and her time in Arizona. Look for the OCTA ad in this issue, which you can order here.

Elko Convention and
Membership Survey Results

For the last several weeks, we’ve asked our members to participate in a brief survey to help us better understand our member’s feelings about attending the convention in Elko next September and to ascertain what it is that keeps you involved with OCTA. We wanted to share the results of that survey and thank everyone who participated.
Do you plan to attend the convention?

336 responses

207 yes (61.6%)

129 no (38.4%)


If you do plan to attend, when would you feel comfortable making your final decision?

April – 106 (31.5%)

May – 67 (19.9%)

June – 88 (26.2%)

no answer – 75 (22.9%)


How did you decide to join OCTA? (More than one answer allowed)

  • love history/OJ/Paper Trail – 212
  • trail preservation – 157
  • preservation of records – 129
  • education – 60
  • other – 47

Thanks again for your input!


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.