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.

Veiw the Proclamation

2018 Chapter Outings and Activities

The Northwest Chapter is busy planning outings and activities for its members and the general public in 2018.

Events will be held to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Trails Act, which established the National Trails System.

October 22 – 25: National Convention for the Partnership for a National Trails System, in Vancouver WA.  OCTA will be there. See their website for more information:

Tuesday October 23, 6 pm, Vancouver WA: Meet and Greet Dinner for NW Chapter members with National OCTA officers. An email invitation was sent to all chapter members. If you can not find it, or have questions, please contact Rich Herman.

November: Follow the US Capital Christmas Tree through Oregon. This is not an official chapter event, but members may be interested. See this website for more information and a schedule:

Saturday December 1, 1 – 3 pm, Oregon City, OR.  Stitches and Songs from the Oregon Trail and Beyond. At the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, program by Susan Butruille and Mary Bywater Cross.  Check your email for a notice that was sent to Chapter members.  See the calender on the Interpretive Center website for 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.


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: Rich Herman (18 – 20)
  • Vice President: Paul Massee (18 – 20)
  • Secretary: Polly Jackson (18 – 20)
  • Treasurer: Glenn Harrison (18 – 20)
  • Directors: Sallie Riehl (18 -20)
  • Directors: Ray Egan (17 – 19)
  • Directors: Lorna Waltz (16 – 18)


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 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.