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OCTA welcomes volunteers, professionals, educators, students and anyone interested in preserving historic emigrant trails to join our preservation activities.
OCTA Preservation Committee
Under a preservation policy adopted by the OCTA Board in 2013, the focus on preservation will be at the chapter level. Each chapter preservation officer(s) will be on the national committee and the chair of the committee is the National Preservation Officer.
The OCTA Preservation Committee (Fall 2017) membership:
OCTA National Preservation Officer – John Winner
- California-Nevada – John Winner
- Colorado-Cherokee Trail – Vacant
- Utah Crossroads – T. Michael Smith
- Gateway – Allen Reichert
- Idaho – Lyle Lambert and Wally Meyer
- Kanza – Vacant
- Nebraska – Bill Petersen
- Northwest – Billy Symms
- Southern Trails – Vacant
- Wyoming – Randy Brown and Fern Linton
- Trails Head – Vacant
Projects & Activities
Wilderness provides a unique experience and the essence of this experience is the lack of modern intrusions. Advocates and visitors have long recognized the importance of preserving landscape, and have fought for more than a hundred years to set aside areas where today’s visitor finds a setting basically unchanged over the centuries. I suspect something within us preserves the memory of our ancestor’s first intrusion into the natural landscape.
We have struggled for the past twenty years to protect key segments of the trails from oil and gas development with some success. We are better about mitigating adverse impacts, but the bottom line is always the same: loss of trail and setting. Fortunately, the oil and gas activities are limited to certain areas and as a result some other areas remain relatively pristine.
Most of us agree that the pursuit of renewable energy sources is a necessity. We may not agree on the justification, but in the end the need is there. This recognized need has resulted in a rush to build renewable energy sources not unlike the oil field developments in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We are still living with the adverse impacts of those developments. Are we repeating the same mistake today?
Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the first priority when seeking to mitigate an adverse impact is avoidance. We therefore recommend that both wind farms and transmission lines be placed in areas not visible from the National Historic Trails and historic trails authorized for study under the Public Lands Act of 2009, except in areas already heavily impacted by other development.
“The Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) is one of the newest and most productive gas fields in the continental United States with estimates of 20-25 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas that could be recovered.” (BLM project description)
This Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describes and analyzes alternatives for the planning and management of public lands and resources administered by the BLM, Lander Field Office.
OCTA is a member of the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS). The National Trails System is made up of National Historic and National Scenic Trails throughout the USA. The PNTS is an advocacy organization for the National Trails System. Member nonprofit organizations like OCTA have voice through the PNTS to work in partnership with federal agencies that administer and manage the national trails. OCTA has a representative on the PNTS Leadership Council. Check out their website: http://www.pnts.org/
Trail Inventory Project
The Trail Inventory Project is summarized. Included is a description of the project’s content and work accomplished to date. The project’s objective is to record the condition of the Oregon Trail in Oregon in the summer of 2014. Both the condition of the trail and its setting are documented through survey forms and pictures. Data are organized by township, range and section.
Four survey forms were used to collected data for the Trail Inventory Project (TIP). The forms cover trail segments and sites as wells as the setting. A fourth form is designed to collect data on the kiosks built for the Oregon Trail Sesquicentennial in 1993. All data is entered into an Access database.