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Candy Moulton: On the Trail 3-11-13

The Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon will be part of a tour during the OCTA convention from Pendleton to Oregon City, Ore.

The Oregon-California Trails Association has been working for the past few years to raise awareness of the southern trails that served travelers headed to California by crossing Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the 1800s. This week, March 14-16, OCTA joins with the Arizona History Museum in hosting “Historic Trails Across the Southern United States,” This symposium will take place at the History Museum, next to the University of Arizona in downtown Tucson.

The National OCTA Board will be meeting Thursday (and that is where I’ll be hanging out), but the symposium begins with a showing of the documentary film, “Saving a Legacy.” Through the remainder of the day speakers will provide historical information about the Southern Trails and regional history. Presentations include David Miller, “Southern Trails From Fort Smith, Arkansas” Tom Sutak, “Cooke’s Wagon Road Through New Mexico and Arizona” and Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, “Fourth Wife: Polygamy & Revolution.” During the afternoon take part in a tour of the museum and attend a book signing.

The program resumes on Friday, March 15, with Keynote speaker Andrew J. Masich, CEO and President of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. His topic is “Guarding the Southern Trail: General Carleton and the California Volunteers.” Michael Landon will discuss “Overland Routes in the Southern Half of the United States: Sources in the LDS Church History Library;” Tom Jonas, “Kearny’s March to California;” Cecilia Bell, “Butterfield Overland Mail – First Woman Driver;” and the National Park Service will present “Juan Bautista de Anza Emigrant Trail.”

On Saturday, March 16, head out of the museum and onto the trail when OCTA sponsors a number of tours.

One tour takes in the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, along the Santa Cruz River; route of the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition (1775-76) and later California gold seeker emigrant route. Among the stops are San Xavier del Bac Mission (“White Dove of the Desert”), Pima County’s historic Canoa Ranch, ruins, and present day working ranch. (The only Spanish land grant in the Santa Cruz Valley), Tubac Presidio State Historic Park (1752), and Tumacácori Mission National Historic Park.

A second tour will include some hiking on the Gold Seeker Emigrant Route and the Butterfield Overland Mail and Stage Route. Sites on the tour include historic Apache Spring and Fort Bowie, and Apache Pass Parking for the symposium is one block west of the museum in the Arizona Historical Society garage at the northeast corner of E. 2nd Street and N. Euclid Avenue. Use the E. 2nd Street entrance to the parking garage. Parking is free for museum visitors (validated in the museum).

There are two hotels within walking distance of the museum. The Marriott is right across the street and can be reached at (520) 882-4100. The Peppertree B and B Inn is three blocks to the west at 724 E University Blvd. and can be reached at (520) 622-7167. The Best Western is less than a mile to the west at 1015 N. Stone Ave. and can be reached at (800) 780-7234.

To register (there is a small fee) or for more information contact OCTA at (888) 811-6282.

If you can’t make it to Tucson this week, you have another opportunity to learn about and see trail sites when OCTA holds its annual convention July 21- 27 in Oregon City, Oregon. That convention will include a number of speakers, awards programs, a heritage fair and tours.

The first events are pre-convention tours July 21 and 22 that will take in areas along the Cowlitz Trail to Puget Sound, another along the Applegate Trail, and a third trek follows the Oregon Trail and Barlow Road from Pendleton to Oregon City.

A Heritage Resources Fair will be held July 22 at the host hotel, the Monarch Hotel and Conference Center, 12566 SE 93rd Ave, in Clackamas, Ore. This event will involve historical societies, museums, genealogical societies, and similar heritage organizations. During the week speakers will share information related to the theme End of the Trail and Beyond, including Native Americans, settlement, claiming land, and beginnings of government, and a panel of pioneer descendants.

Additional tours will take in trail sites around Mt. Hood, on the Barlow Road, to Oregon City, or into the Willamette Valley.

Again, if you want more information you can visit http://www.OCTA-Trails.org, or call (888) 811-6282. ❖


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