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.

          New Resource: Northwest Trail Isssues

          If you scroll down to the Resources Section, you will see a new section titled "Northwest Trail Issues". This section will be used to 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.

          This issue was discussed in detail during the NW OCTA Annual Chapter Meeting on March 14. A resolution was passed protesting the proposed route. This was sent as a comment to BLM.

          Several chapter members sent comments as individuals.

          The comment period is over, as of March 19.

          Please read the Issues section for details.

          2016 Chapter Leadership

          Below is a list of OCTA Northwest members holding elected and appointed positions with the chapter. Additional information will soon be available in the link below.

          • President: Rich Herman
          • Vice President: Paul Massee
          • Secretary: Polly Jackson
          • Treasurer: Glenn Harrison
          • Directors: Lynne Alvord
          • Directors: Ray Egan
          • Directors: Lorna Waltz

          2016 Chapter Outings and Activities


          JUNE 11-12    CANCELLED.  The driving tour along Marmot Road is cancelled..  We hope to reschedule in August or September.

          JUNE 25-26.   Oregon Lavender Festival runs from 10AM to 5PM both days.   Jim, Henry, Rich, and Paul will be manning our booth.   Absolutely stunning scenery, good food, beer and wine, music, booths, lavender flavored lemonade and ice cream.  Barlow Road ruts visible across the fence at SW corner of property but they will not be accessible to us.  This event has been rescheduled from July 9/10.  For more information go to their website:     Then click on Liberty Natural Products in the left hand panel.  Then click on 2016 Lavender Festival in the left-hand panel.  Contact: Henry Pittock

          JUNE 24-26.  OHTAC outing to examine the Oregon Trail between Hermiston and Umatilla, OR.   Trip leader is Jennifer Karson Engum.   Contact: Glenn Harrison.

          JULY   The Hix Road, Tygh Valley, Davis Ranch outing is CANCELLED.

          JULY (date to be determined, but probably the 9th or 16th).  Mapping and marking along Dowty Road and Folsom Road in the vicinity of the Eagle Creek golf course.    This is about 5 miles NW of Estacada.   This event may need to limited to 10 participants..    Contact:  Henry Pittock by June 15th.

          JULY 23-24.  Hilgard to Meacham to see pristine Oregon Trail ruts and swales while setting new or cleaning old Carsonite markers in the Blue Mountains near La Grande, OR.  Contact: Gail Carbiener.

          AUGUST 1-5 OCTA annual convention at Fort Hall, ID.

          AUGUST 20.   Family History Day at the Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek, OR.  We will have a booth again as we did last year.   The Barlow Road went right through here, but there are no visible ruts.   11AM – 4PM, with free ice-cream starting at 1PM.  For more information, go to the Philip Foster Farm website.  Contact: Henry Pittock


          SEPTEMBER 10-11.  NWOCTA fall meeting.   Nisqually/DuPont/Steilacoom, WA area. Contact: Paul Massee

          We are having our fall picnic this year in Dupont, Wa., the first Washington named location in the Oregon Territory. Today, it is a modern small city packed with 5700 years of history. We will hear and see the history of Fort Nisqually through the narration of an expert historian on the Hudson’s Bay Co. named Drew Crooks. After a brief business meeting and the picnic, we will adjourn and take a short trip to see the site of Fort Nisqually and, for those who would like a short one mile hike, walk a part paved trail down Sequalitchew creek to see the 5700 year old Indian Village site, the Methodist Mission site, the original Hudson Bay Co. storehouse site and the Wilkes Expedition Observatory site. Sunday, there will be presentations from members Ray Egan and David Welch who will enlighten us with the history of their town. It is really an earful of history you will enjoy hearing and seeing. It will only be a half day.


          SEPTEMBER 16-18. OHTAC outing to Baker City, OR to visit sites on the Oregon Trail affected by the proposed B2H transmission line project.  Trip leader is Gail Carbenier.   Contact: Glenn Harrison.


          Connect with contacts to register or request more information.

              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!


                  Northwest Trail Issues

                  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 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.

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                  Regional Chapters Northwest

                  Save the Trail: Preservation
                  Paper Trail: Pioneer Documents

                  OCTA News

                  Join us for our Vancouver Symposium, March 31-April 2, 2017

                  The Oregon-California Trails Association and the Lewis & Clark Trail Her ...

                  Proposed Transmission line transects Oregon Trail

                  The final Environmental Impact Statement on the Boardman-Hemingway power ...

                  Emigrant Trails Hall of Fame now available online

                  This news is still important!

                  Epilogue of Andy and Joanne Hammond’s book, The Look of the Elephant, ...

                  National Park Service Launches New Online Exhibits

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

                  OCTA Activities

                  Speakers Bureau

                  Jan 30, 2017

                  NW OCTA members hike the Blues, July 2016

                  Aug 20, 2016

                  2016 Annual Convention Highlights

                  Aug 01, 2016

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