Our interest is in study, research, protection, preservation, and enjoyment of the historic trails in Oregon and Washington. We have the privilege of living in the territory where overland emigrants settled and started new lives.
Many of our members are descendants or know descendants of trail pioneers although many don’t have these connections. We strive to preserve our heritage. Some of the more notable NW sites along the trails are the Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, ruts near Echo, Barlow Road, Blue Mountains, Whitman Mission, the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City, and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City. There is more to see on the Applegate Trail (the Southern Route to Oregon). Our chapter is deeply involved with researching, mapping, and marking the historic trails. We have semi-annual tours which are open to the public of sections of the trails. Please join us – it’s fun.
The mission of the Northwest chapter of OCTA is to support and initiate local efforts using private and governmental partners and to join with adjacent chapters in support of the national association efforts in identifying, preserving, protecting and educating the public about the Oregon Trail and California Overland Trail legacy.
On October 5, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a state-wide proclamation honoring the 175th Anniversary of the Oregon Trail and marking the arrival of the Great Migration in October 1843. The year 2018 was also the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act (1968) and the 40th Anniversary of the Oregon National Historic Trail (1978). Now more than ever the Oregon Trail in Oregon needs protection and its legacy shared with this and future generations.
2021 Chapter Outings and Activities
May 15 – Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs: Protectors of the Emigrant Trails and their Stories. Via Zoom. A joint event of the Northwest and Colorado-Cherokee Trail chapters, including a panel discussion moderated by David Welch and Legacy, a video recently produced by Southern Utah University. See this document for details and zoom login information.
June 26 – 27: Auto Tour – The Oregon Trail Route From Pendleton to the Whitman Mission. Precautions due to Covid: Participants must have their covid shots. We will socially distance at all times. There will be no group events for lectures or meals. Travel will be by personal auto. See this document for details and contact information.
Additional Outings, to be determined:
Possible “outings” at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot, Boardman Bombing Range/Nature Conservancy might be scheduled at a later date.
Explore the Cowlitz Trail
Shortly after Ezra Meeker completed his ambitious 1906 expedition to preserve the Old Oregon Trail the Daughters of the American Revolution approved a proposal to honor the memory of Oregon Trail pioneers in Washington State. The Sons of the American Revolution give support to DAR’s program.
Explore the Naches Pass
The Naches Trail crosses the Cascade Range through Naches Pass, roughly from today’s Bonney Lake in the west to Yakima in the east. Later the name was applied to the route from Walla Walla to Steilacoom, as an extension of the Oregon Trail.
Below is a list of OCTA Northwest members holding elected and appointed positions with the chapter. Additional information is available in the link below.
- President: Sallie Riehl (1/20- 12/21)
- Vice President: Bernadette Hammelman (1/20- 12/21)
- Secretary: Jenny Miller (1/20- 12/21)
- Treasurer: Glenn Harrison (1/20- 12/21)
- Director: Roger Blair (1/21- 12/21)
- Director: Dave Welch (1/20- 12/22)
- Director: Polly Jackson (1/21- 12/23)