Covering Washington, Oregon & British Columbia

Setting a Trail Marker on the Oregon Trail

1/7 Setting a Trail Marker on the Oregon Trail

Confirming Oregon Trail in the Blue Mountain

2/7 Confirming Oregon Trail in the Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain trees growing in the trail

3/7 Blue Mountain trees growing in the trail

2013 Pre-convention Tour west of Pendleton

4/7 2013 Pre-convention Tour west of Pendleton

Swale at Echo Meadows

5/7 Swale at Echo Meadows

Applegate trail marking near Lower Klamath Lake

6/7 Applegate trail marking near Lower Klamath Lake

Applegate trail in Willamette Valley

7/7 Applegate trail in Willamette Valley

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 that was the reason for the emigrant trails.


Many of our members are descendents or know descendents 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.

          2014 Chapter Leadership

          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: Jim Tompkins
          • Vice President: Rich Herman
          • Secretary: Polly Jackson
          • Treasurer: Glenn Harrison
          • Directors: Lynne Alvord
          • Directors: Skip Massee
          • Directors: Ray Egan

          2014 Chapter Outings and Activities

          April 23, Wednesday: OHTAC is scheduled to meet with the Oregon Heritage Commission and the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries at 9:00 a.m. in Albany. At 1:00 p.m. they will depart for a tour of the Santiam Wagon  Road. Contact Glenn Harrison, 541-926-4680.

          April 24, Thursday:  Oregon Heritage Conference in Albany. Contact Glenn Harrison if you are interested. Rescheduled Event:  Shirlee Evans is coordinating the marking of the Jane Elkins Bonney grave site at the historic Wamic cemetery south of DuferRandy Brown will be attending.  Contact Shirlee Evans for details, 360-606-8930.   

          April 29, Tuesday:  Dave Welch will be conducting a training class for the leaders and attendees of the upcoming Oregon Trail survey (see below) in The Dalles at 9:00 a.m. Contact Dave to let him know you are interested in participating in the training as well as in the actual survey, if you have not already done so.  He will assign you to one of the survey teams.

          Spring, Summer: Dave Welch will be leading a project to survey High Potential sites and segments of the Oregon Trail. This will be an excellent opportunity to get involved in field work. Contact Dave Welch, 360-923-0438.

          May 17, Saturday:  Tea By the Sea benefit for Stevens-Crawford Heritage House. Entertainment by Anne-Louise Sterry, MOOT Museum in Oregon City. Contact Jim Tompkins for details.

          May 20, Tuesday (and perhaps Wednesday):  Oregon Trail marking and verification from Vale to Farewell Bend, OR. This is an opportunity to get involved in basic trail identification. Gail Carbiener is leading this outing.

          June 7, Saturday:  Remembering Emma Day, book signing by Jane Kirkpatric of the Emma Wagner Geisy book, at the Aurora Colony Museum. See Aurora website or Jim Tompkins for details.

          June 27–28,  Friday-Saturday: Emigrant Springs outing in the Blue Mountains, in conjunction with OHTAC (Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council). For details contact Glenn Harrison, 541-926-4680.

          July 19, Saturday: Mary Charlotte’s Garden Party, 1:00–4:00 p.m., Philip Foster Farm; appearance by Mrs. Pittock and the Northwest Rose Historians.

          August 5–8: OCTA National Convention, Kearney, NE.  Watch for details in News from the Plains and check the OCTA website,

          Late Summer/Fall,  TBA: Field Trip to Gate Creek area of the Barlow Road, in Mt. Hood NF. This is a great opportunity for trail exploration close to Portland. Contact Henry Pittock or Paul Massee for details.  We will include a visit to the Jane Bonney historic grave at the Wamic Lone Pine Pioneer Cemetery.

          September 5–7, Friday-Sunday: Bonneville route in the John Day area in conjunction with OHTAC (Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council). For details contact Glenn Harrison, 541-926-4680. 

          October 4, Saturday: NW OCTA Annual Picnic and Fall Meeting. For further information, please contact Rich Herman, 360-576-5139.

              Explore the Cowlitz Pass

              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.

              Finding the Free Emigrant Road

              Find the "Free Emigrant Road" from an easy chair!
              Read about things you never knew existed!


                  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 Handbook

                  The handbook provides by-laws 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.

                  ^ Back to Top

                  Regional Chapters Northwest

                  Save the Trail: Preservation
                  Paper Trail: Pioneer Documents

                  OCTA News

                  BLM Rejects Mining in Utah Desert

                  The Bureau of Land Management has rejected an effort by a mining company ...

                  Update on the Petition to Stop Digger Shows

                  In December 2013, we reported on the various "digger" shows currently ai ...

                  Virginia Dale Stage Station

                  Located in Virginia Dale, Colorado, it is maintained by the Virginia Dal ...

                  Bear River Massacre Site

                  Timed to coincide with the sesquicentennial commemoration of Idaho Terri ...

                  Join The Colorado/Cherokee Trail Chapter of OCTA

                  The mission of the Colorado/Cherokee Trail Chapter of OCTA is to protect ...

                  National Park Service Launches New Online Exhibits

                  Our colleagues in the NPS announced that several new online trail exhibi ...

                  OCTA Activities

                  OCTA 2015 Annual Convention

                  Sep 21, 2015

                  Speakers Bureau

                  Mar 31, 2014

                  Join Us

                  FacebookLike us on Facebook OCTA MembershipBecome a member (from $50)


                  OCTA MembershipGet the OCTA Visa® card