San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuner Mission Cemetery near Bard, California
Some highlights from the Yuma Symposium are now on OCTA’s Facebook page. Thanks for those who came and enjoyed the incredible weather, speakers, tour, and entertainment. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the Elko Convention next September! If you haven’t like OCTA’s Facebook page yet, please do so now. That’s the fastest way to stay up-to-date with OCTA!
OCTA Members Asked to Help Push for National Historic Trail Status for the Butterfield Overland Trail
OCTA members are asked to begin contacting members of the U.S. Senate in their states to urge support for legislation drafted by Senator John Boozman of Arkansas that would create the Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail.
The National Park Service has issued a feasibility study determining that the Butterfield, also known as the Butterfield Overland Trail and the Butterfield Stage Route, is eligible to be included in the National Trails System. All that is required is legislation being passed to authorize it.
Senator Boozman has drafted the legislation and is actively seeking cosponsors in the Senate. The 3,292-mile follows a route operated by the Butterfield Overland Mail Company from 1858 to 1861 through Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Key talking points for communications with Senators include:
The Butterfield route served a critical need at that time, tying the country together and providing an overland route within the continent’s borders.
Tourism: The Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail will generate millions of heritage tourism dollars for the economies of the states through which it crosses. Research shows that more people are seeking travel experiences that connect them to local culture and unique stories, such as those offered by the Butterfield.
Culture: The Butterfield was the first “transcontinental” route connecting California and various western territories to the Eastern United States. For Americans today, the stagecoach is a symbol of the Old West and the original trail needs to be preserved.
Economics: The implementation of the Butterfield route brought the country together by providing twice-weekly stages to and from California, replacing, for many, the sea routes via the Isthmus of Panama and the much longer travel over the Oregon and California Trails.
This is a low-cost opportunity to preserve an iconic symbol of the Old West. The National Park Service existing staff will prepare a Comprehensive Management Plan for the Butterfield, which may include signage, brochures, a website and more, all of which will be part of the NPS budget.
In summary, the Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail demands protection for economic, historic and cultural reasons and because of the continuing impact that designation will have on the travel and tourism economies of the states through which it crosses.
It is important that OCTA members generate letters and phone calls to their U.S. Senators urging them to support Senator Boozman’s “Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail Designation Act”.
The designation of the Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail is within reach. Senator Boozman’s draft legislation, the “Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail Designation Act,” is likely to be introduced in the Senate very soon.
The completion of the 4-Trails Feasibility Study (more on this in the next section) means we can also begin soliciting a sponsor to introduce a bill similar to the Butterfield Designation Act for the additional routes and cutoffs of the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails.
We also have an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for a feasibility study on the Southern Trails to California, something we have been pursuing off-and-on for more than a decade. Fortunately, both the Butterfield and the 4-Trails have somewhat different target audiences within the Congress. There is a lot of overlap between the Butterfield and the Southern Trails.
Feasibility Study Revision for Additional
Routes to the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National
Historic Trails Transmitted to Congress
Since the original designation of the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Pony Express National Historic Trails, a significant amount of interest and research has developed concerning additional routes followed by emigrants to Oregon, California, and Utah, and on alternate routes used by the Pony Express.
In recognition of the perceived national importance of these routes and in response to public advocacy for the inclusion of these routes in the National Trails System, Congress passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (Public Law 111-11) in March 2009. The Act in part directs the Secretary of the Interior to revise the original feasibility studies of the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Pony Express national historic trails. The purpose of the revisions is to determine the feasibility and suitability of designating 64 additional components, specifically named in the law, as well as “such other routes … that the Secretary considers appropriate …”
The Secretary chose the National Trails office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to revise the 1977 Oregon Trail Feasibility Study, the 1978 Mormon Trail Feasibility Study, and the 1987 California and Pony Express Trails Feasibility Study for the possible inclusion of the routes named in the legislation, and other appropriate routes so as to provide a more accurate and comprehensive commemoration of historic trends and events.
The revisions were prepared as a single, combined document, not trail by trail. Although initial internal scoping determined that an environmental assessment would be required, policy directed the use of a categorical exclusion for NEPA compliance.
Thank you for your interest in this planning project.
National Trails Intermountain Region
OCTA’s Nebraska Chapter President
Harlan Seyfer Receives the History
Nebraska Heritage Hero Aware
From left, Plattsmouth resident Harlan Seyfer receives the History Nebraska Heritage Hero Award from History Nebraska representative Bryan Zimmer on Monday night. Seyfer is one of just 45 people in Nebraska to receive the inaugural award. The state historical society honored him for researching and chronicling dozens of Nebraska stories over the years.
Congratulations to OCTA’s Nebraska Chapter President Harlan Seyfer, who received the History Nebraska Heritage Hero Award at the Plattsmouth Main Street Association’s annual meeting on Monday night. Seyfer is one of just 45 people in Nebraska to receive the inaugural award. Read the full story at the Fremont Tribune website.
16 April 1964 – 23 February 2020
Alicia Marie Keegan, 55, of Baileyville, Kansas died unexpectedly on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.
Alicia was born on April 16, 1964 in Marysville to Ken and Arleta Schmitz Martin. She attended St. Gregory’s Catholic School and graduated from Marysville High School in 1982. She went to work for Merry Marshall Manor for a short time during her youth. Alicia was later employed by CR Industries in Seneca, there she met Patrick.
On September 15, 1990, Alicia married Patrick G. Keegan at St. Gregory Catholic Church in Marysville. She continued to work at CR for a couple more years; but then to this union they added two sons and a daughter, so she made the choice to be a “stay at home mom.” She was a dedicated mother first and foremost; she treasured her children. Alicia also ran a small day care out of her home.
Alicia was a member of Sacred Heart Parish, the Altar Society and was the Director of the Junior-Senior Religious Education and CYO Sponsor. She participated in Relay for Life, was a member and preservation officer of the KANZA Chapter of OCTA and loved her volunteer work. Alicia had many interests and hobbies- genealogy, reading, puzzles and gardening to name a few.
She was preceded in death by her father, former OCTA Kanza Chapter President Ken Martin and her father-in-law, Bill Keegan.
She is survived by her husband of 29 ½ years, Patrick; two sons, Donovan Keegan of Baileyville and Shea Keegan of Seneca; a daughter Kiera (Jordan Pulliam) Keegan of Cherokee, Kansas; her mother, Arleta Martin of Marysville; siblings, Kirk (Jodi) Martin of Marysville, Jason (Theresa) Martin of Belleview, Nebraska and Quinn (Terah) Martin of Marysville; six nieces and five nephews; her mother-in-law, Carol Keegan of Baileyville; and a brother-in-law, Jim (Barb) Keegan of Hemingford, Nebraska.
Memorials will be designated at a later date.
National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri Hiring for Two Key Positions
Partnership for the National Trails System Executive Director Gary Werner Retires
The Partnership for the National Trails System’s founding executive director, Gary Werner, retired February 9, 2020 at the start of Hike the Hill in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the dozens of trail nonprofit partners, Federal partners, and friends who attended the celebration in his honor, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail Association and American Hiking Society for collaborating to organize the event.
In Gary’s words, “I really do think this is a celebration of us as a community. And the kind of kindness that you’re displaying toward me tonight is simply a recognition of the kind of kindness and dedication and generosity you all give every single day to what you’re doing. And I honor you and applaud you for doing that. We’re all part of this together and we’re going to continue together, it’s just that I’ll be in a different role. And we have very good people working to come along after me to make that progress.”
Interim Executive Director Karen Crossley and Advocacy and Policy Director Kathy DeCoster started their new positions with the Partnership for the National Trails System, effective January 21, 2020.
“We are fortunate to have these two professionals joining the PNTS team during the crucial months ahead,” said Barney Mann, PNTS President. “Our members, agency partners, and affiliates can be confident that we are in capable hands.”
Karen Crossley’s professional career in the nonprofit and public arenas has focused on conservation, higher education, arts, culture, and civic engagement. As a volunteer, she has worked on environmental and sustainability issues, public education, youth leadership involvement, and other areas.
A resident of Madison, WI since 1984, Crossley will manage the day-to-day activities of the Partnership and help with planning for a move of the PNTS offices from Madison to Washington, D.C..
“I am humbled by the confidence placed in me by the Board of Directors and the Transition Task Force,” Crossley said. “We have a great organization in place thanks to the efforts of Gary Werner and the members of the Partnership, and I look forward to building on a legacy of leadership, accomplishment, and relevance. Like so many members, there is no question that our best days are ahead of us and I am enthusiastic about helping set our direction into the future.”
Kathy DeCoster retired last year after 25 years with The Trust for Public Land, including the last 10 years as Vice President and Director of Federal Affairs. She is a former member of the Partnership’s Board of Directors.
Based in Washington, D.C., DeCoster will serve as a consultant and focus on keeping the Partnership and Trail Leaders Council up to date on Federal agency and congressional developments. She will work closely with the PNTS Advocacy and Policy Committee and will have an important role during Hike the Hill.
“As a long-time advocate of the Partnership for the National Trails System and the importance of trails to our national well-being, I’m excited about this opportunity to use my experience on behalf of an organization whose mission and activities are very close to my heart,” DeCoster said. “The relationships our National Historic and Scenic Trail groups already have with our Federal partners are models of successful collaboration and I am grateful to have the opportunity to further these positive experiences.”
Meanwhile, the Transition Task Force has begun planning for the search for a permanent Executive Director, and anticipates having that person in place by the end of summer 2020. OCTA Past President and current board member Bill Martin is a part of the Transition Task Force.
Upgrade Your Membership or Purchase a Gift Membership Now For a Wonderful Present!
For a limited time, OCTA is encouraging our existing members to “upgrade” their membership. This also makes an excellent gift and we’ll send those gifts to your recipient as a present from you. These free gifts include:
if you buy a gift membership for someone new at any level, we will send an item of your choice from the list above to your recipient!
Simply call us at (816) 252-2276 and we will renew your membership at a higher level or simply extend your existing membership for another year past your next renewal date and ship out our “thank yous” immediately. Or, send it as a gift to a friend or family member. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity; it’s only while supplies last.
Finally, if you’re not already a member, join now at the Emigrant level ($50) and we will send you a copy of your choice of items listed above. Not only that, but as a new member you will get immediate access to every single issue of the Overland Journal dating back to 1982 as well as access to Paper Trail, our incredible genealogy tool that helps you search original trail diaries.
No where else will you find such a comprehensive archive of information related to 19th century western emigration trails. Join now and get immediate access to the nearly 40 years worth of the entertaining and informative Overland Journal! Seventy-eight people have upgraded their membership since we began this program. Won’t you become #79?
OCTA to Partner with Southwest Stories With
the Two Steves on PBS to Share Stories of
the Trails of the American Southwest
Steve Rushingwind and Steve Brown, hosts of “Southwest Stories with the Two Steves”
For two seasons, the PBS station out of San Bernardino, California (KVCR) has broadcast a program entitled Southwest Stories with the Two Steves. Steve Brown is out of Twenty Nine Palms, California, while his co-host Steve Rushingwind, a member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, lives in Pomona, California. (Rushingwind also performed at the Yuma Symposium opening night event at the Sanguinetti House). The show has garnered over six million views in the greater Los Angeles area during its first two seasons.
For season three, the show would like to focus in part on historic trails of the American Southwest. KVCR is planning to offer the show nationally across all of PBS in season three, and they are actively in the process of gaining international broadcast as well. In addition, they have also expanded into Roku channels in six foreign countries, including Brazil and Israel (Roku is a kind of on-demand service that comes pre-installed on most new televisions).
Steve Brown, along with his partner Kevin Marcus of Knowledge Tree Films, presented their ideas to the OCTA board last week in Yuma. They expressed their desire to partner with OCTA for season three, with OCTA (especially via its marketing/PR committee) to help guide their team in terms of site location, local experts, and potential funding sources. The OCTA board voted unanimously accepted this partnering arrangement.
The Two Steves filmed much of episode one while in location in Yuma last weekend, including a look inside the Castle Dome Mine Museum and filming at both the symposium opening reception on Friday night and some of the speakers on Saturday morning. We look forward to the potential of this exciting partnership, as it will enable us to expose ourselves to millions of new potential advocates, allies, members, and supporters. OCTA members will help tell the stories of the trails to the PBS audience.