Ken Frye, President
The Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA) originated in the San Luis Valley as a result of an organizational meeting at the Rio Grande County Museum in Del Norte, in February 1994. Since then the association has expanded into an international organization. OSTA has directors from all six states through which the trail passes (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California). The Old Spanish Trail was designated by Congress to become part of the National Historic Trails system in 2002.
In 2003, San Luis Valley members re-organized their original county chapters in to La Vereda del Norte Chapter. The La Vereda del Norte Chapter is dedicated to preserving, marking, and interpreting the Old Spanish Trail through the San Luis Valley and southwestern Colorado. Formed to help locate unknown, long-buried information regarding the trail, the chapter works in partnership with regional Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service staff (Public Lands Center), the San Luis Valley Archaeological Network, the San Luis Valley Heritage Tourism Project, Los Caminos Antiguos, the Sangre de Cristo Heritage Area, the San Luis Valley Museum Trail Association, and a broad base of individuals interested in Valley history. Interesting field trips, lectures, and a publication, Trail Tails, highlight Valley history.
Visit the Rio Grande County Museum in Del Norte, the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Ft. Garland Museum, Saguache Museum, San Luis Valley Museum (Alamosa), and visitor centers in the San Luis Valley. If you follow the Main Branch of the trail through southwestern Colorado to the trail crossing of the Colorado River, just north of Moab, Utah, plan to visit the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio, the Animas Museum in Durango, the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores and Ft. Uncompahgre in Delta Colorado.
This information was written by Suzanne Colville Off, of La Vereda del Norte Chapter. Her mother, historian Ruth Marie Colville, began researching, tracing, and writing about the Old Spanish Trail in the 1960s. In addition to the writings of Ruth Marie Colville, other contributors include historian Patricia Richmond, past president of La Vereda del Norte Chapter and Ken Frye, retired US Forest Service and current President of the Chapter. Colville, Off, Frye, and Richmond were among the founding members of the Old Spanish Trail Association. Lorrie Crawford, Carson and Rio Grande National Forest, and Dr. Douglas Knudson, past president of OSTA also assisted, along with Stuart Bryan, historian.