Preservation Activities

Save the Trail

Pinedale Anticline

Pinedale Anticline

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

      • The Importance of Setting  
        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.
      • Preservation of the Trails and Settings in Wyoming  
        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.
      • Renewable Energy and the Oregon Trail  
        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?
      • Resolution on Wind Energy Development  
        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.
      • Lander – Pinedale Anticline Case Study  
        "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)
      • Lander RMP Executive Summary  
        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.
      • Partnership for the National Trails System ()
        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:

        Trail Inventory Project

        • Presentation at the PNTS Historic Trails Workshop, October 30, 2014  
          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.
        • Trail Inventory Project Survey Forms  
          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.

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