E-News August 24, 2020


OCTA Board and Membership Meetings to be Held Via Zoom

The OCTA Board and Membership meetings are being held next month virtually via Zoom. The board meeting will begin at 10:30 AM (Central) on Friday, September 18 and the membership meeting will begin at 10:30 AM (Central) on Saturday, September 19. A meeting ID and password will be required to attend both meetings. Please email board member Jean Coupal-Smith at jcs1fun@kc.rr.com to reserve your spot in either meeting and to get the meeting ID and password. We are hoping to include some fun wrinkles into the membership meeting so we hope to see you all virtually next month!

Summer Fundraising Appeal Set to Close on Monday, August 31

As you all know, OCTA had to postpone its 2020 Elko convention until 2021. Because the convention is also a major source of revenue for OCTA, we had to seek alternative ways to fund the remainder of our fiscal year. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to donate and help us close the gap. We already have 250 individual donors and your response has been both very generous and exceedingly helpful. If you would like to still donate to the summer appeal, we are keeping it open until 5 PM (Central) on Monday, August 31. The easiest way to contribute is via our secure online portal, but you can also call us at (816) 252-2276 or mail a check to:

Oregon-California Trails Association
524 S. Osage St.
Independence, MO 64050

We will announce the fundraising totals in early September. We are so overjoyed at your response and again, thank you so much for your help in plugging the financial gap this summer!

Oregon Trail Music in Independence

OCTA member Brent Schondelmeyer of Independence recently produced a video about the Oregon Trail featuring the music of Independence-based composer Dana Mengel. Dana performed at the “Truman & the Trails” symposium in March 2019. His music appears in the PBS film about the life of Missouri artist and politician George Caleb Bingham and he’s written an entire “Oregon Trail Suite,” some of which was performed at the symposium last year.

This is the first year in anyone’s memory there will be no Santa-Cali-Gon Festival in Independence over the Labor Day weekend – the impetus for creating this music video.

Jackson County (Missouri) Historical Society, Oregon-California Trails Association, Independence Mayor Eileen Weir, Wide Awake Films, Independence Chamber of Commerce, and others helped with assistance and support.

Butterfield Overland Trail Bill Introduced Into the U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas) stands with Marilyn Heifner, Treasurer of Heritage Trail Partners on Monday, August 10, 2020 to announce he has filed a bill to make the Butterfield Overland Trail a National Historic Trail. The announcement was made at Fitzgerald Station, which was a stagecoach stop in Springdale, Arkansas on the Butterfield Overland Mail route in the 1850s and 1860s.

“Yesterday I announced I’ve filed legislation to designate the Butterfield Overland Trail as a National Historic Trail. This trail – about 337 miles of which was in Arkansas – played an important role in our nation’s westward expansion.

“Designation as a National Historic Trail could bring more economic opportunities to the state, and especially communities along the “Ox-Bow Route,” as well as honor the pioneers who traveled it and preserve structures important to our regional and national heritage.

“I’ve been working on this effort for some time and we’ve made much progress. The introduction of this bill puts us one step closer, and we can be very proud that we’re moving in the right direction.

“Learn more about the Butterfield Overland Trail and the announcement of my legislation to make it a National Historic Trail via the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.”

City of Rocks in Idaho Unveils New Interpretive Panels

The Waysides Project, funded by NPS’s Trails to Parks Historic Trails Program, consisted of adding 12 (6 new and 6 replacement) wayside display signs along the trails, each illuminating ancient histories and cultural exploration in the area.

“We coordinated with the Original Territories and Historical Research Program of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall for the theme of the waysides and the text writing. Five of the panels have original artwork (oil on canvas) created by Derek No-Sun Brown that we commissioned specifically for the project,” shares Assistant Park Manager, Tara McClure-Cannon.

She continues, “The theme we came up with through working with the tribe was “The Trail Connects Us All” – in the waysides, we tie into that theme by explaining that geology created the valleys and passageways used by animals. Then the Shoshoneans followed the animals creating trails, then Mountain Men learned the trails from the Shoshoneans and then the emigrants on the California Trail also followed these same routes. And now, these are also the routes that people today use through the park.”

Park Manager and Superintendent Wallace Keck is excited to see this project come to fruition. Honoring a partnership with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, the waysides will give park visitors a better glimpse into the past and bring about a greater sense of appreciation and understanding.

“For many years, we recognized the need to tell a more balanced account of the overland emigration along the California Trail. We did not quite know how to tell the story of the indigenous people. At times we were reminded it was not ours to tell. It took a great deal of trust (which we had yet to earn) for the keepers of those histories to help us understand more broadly that time period, and its affects on the Shoshonean people up to this very day,” Keck explains. “I hope that the thousands of visitors that come to City of Rocks each year will encounter the interpretive wayside exhibits and discover a much richer history and deeper appreciation for the land.”

View and all twelve of the interpretive panels here.