Northwest Chapter

Covering Oregon, Washington & British Columbia

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.

Chapter Mission

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 5th 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 is 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.

View the Proclamation

2021 Chapter Outings and Activities

May 11 – Mapping and Marking Committee – Oregon Trail in the Meacham and Emigrant Springs Area

10:00 a.m. PDT

David Welch is inviting you to a Zoom meeting. Robin Baker will speak on the Oregon Trail in the Meacham, OR and the nearby Emigrant Springs area.

Robin’s presentation will cover three aspects:

  1. Location of visible trail ruts as shown by various authors (1959-1991). Robin will show 6 map overlays and discuss the visible trail ruts displayed by each
  2. Robin will show and discuss the surveyor note locations of various roads, by road type (1864-1887)
  3. Robin will show the camp locations of several emigrants as they crossed the Blue Mountains, plotted on the NPS Oregon Trail route from diary trail mileages

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 864 8332 1948
Passcode: 202095
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Meeting ID: 864 8332 1948
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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)




Issues Related to the Trails in the Northwest

This section will address current issues of importance to the Northwest Chapter. Of immediate concern is the proposed transmission line from Boardman to Hemingway. This line will severely impact the Oregon Trail

NW Chapter Newsletter

Northwest Trails is the newsletter for the Northwest Chapter. It is published quarterly (January, April, July, October) in electronic and print versions.

Northwest Chapter Policies and Guidelines

This section provides by-laws, policies, guidelines, and other governing information for the chapter.

Richard & Trudy Ackerman Meritorious Achievement Award

Since 2000, the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center has honored individuals that have made significant contributions to trail history.