July 24-31 Proclaimed Old Spanish Trail Days by Mesa County

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners has declared the week of July 24-31 as Old Spanish Trail Days! This coincides with our Back to the Trail event and our 2016 OSTA Conference. Thank you, Mesa County!

One Hundred Eighty-Year-Old Trail Segments Made into Historic Landmarks 

The Delta County Board of County Commissioners has approved designation of  the Delta County segments of the Old Spanish Trail as a county historical landmark.  The application for designation was submitted by the North Branch Chapter of the OSTA of Grand Junction and received enthusiastic support from the Friends of Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail, the replica of Roubideaux’s  trading post in Delta.

Recommended by the Delta County Historic Landmarks Board which is  headed by OSTA member Leigh Ann Hunt, the Landmark designation will help increase awareness of this rare resource in western Colorado. Delta County contains some of the only undisturbed yet recognizable tracks of the trail that exist in Colorado. They are located near the Mesa-Delta county line adjacent to Highway 50 on Bureau of Land management land. The segment locations were identified  based on extensive research funded by BLM and carried out several years ago by Alpine Archaeological Consultants of Montrose. As a local landmark, the site may allow for state grant funding for research and interpretation, but will not change or restrict the BLM’s management options in the trail area, which is subject to Federal historic preservation laws. This is the fifth property to be listed by the Delta County Historic Landmarks Board, which was formed in 2013.

January, 2016

Eyes on the Desert

The Board of the Old Spanish Trail Association has approved a unique campaign to bring attention to the valuebikestf and diversity of our Southwestern deserts, through which many sections of the Old Spanish Trail traverse.

OSTA members Reba Grandrud and Elizabeth Warren have noticed the tendency for some people to use the term “wasteland” when describing desert areas, especially by those who may be unfamiliar with the importance of the desert to flora, fauna – and people. The term seems to connote that deserts have little value, and thus have little or ineffective representation.

The resulting campaign materials were designed to illustrate through effective, quality pictures, the importance of the desert, with a short narrative, “What a tenderfoot calls…” The campaign will also demonstrate that there are eyes on the desert – and therefore on our Trail.

Press releases to regional and national news organizations will be issued this spring. The materials will be used on OSTA’s websites/facebook pages and will also be available to partner and associated groups/organizations free of charge for their usage.

As the campaign develops, more information, and all of the materials, will be available on OSTA’s website at oldspanishtrail.org. Call Vicki, Colorado Director, at 970-245-8484 with any questions.

Old Spanish Trail subject of New Dimensions Presentation

Jonathan Carr, President of the North Branch, will give a presentation of the Old Spanish Trail March 24, through New Dimensions Lifelong Learning Institute at CMU, offering Grand Valley adults 50 and over the opportunity to enroll in a variety of non-credit classes focused on academic and personal enrichment. You do have to enroll in the program, which is only $50 per semester and allows you to attend a large variety of classes. Sign up at http://www.newdimensionsgj.org/

1 Session: 2 hours

Thursday: March 24

9:00-11:00+ am

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley
536 Ouray Ave. (north of library)

Let’s Trade!

The Board of the Old Spanish Trail Association has approved a policy to allow OSTA chapters the opportunity to trade memberships with to local organizations and groups.

Currently, an OSTA Chapter can add an organization/club/group to the OSTA membership roster with the sole intention of sending the OSTA newsletter to that organization/club/group. Chapters can now establish a more structured, beneficial – and communicated – approach for an OSTA Chapter to form community partnerships, with the following significant advantages:

  • Increase community attention and education about the Trail and the OSTA Chapter – and to increase membership thru outreach to like-minded members of the community.
  • OSTA Chapter members would be introduced to a wider variety of community members – including business owners – who might be interested in the Trail and the Chapter.
  • Many groups have meetings and activities – including networking opportunities (i.e., Business After Hours) where OSTA Chapter members might be able to attend as members.
  • While speaking opportunities are often open to non-members, actual members might have not only more and longer speaking opportunities but “enhanced introduction” opportunities at meetings. Additionally, OSTA Chapter meetings would give similar opportunities to the partner.
  • Links to websites and other information about the OSTA Chapter would be included in the partner’s newsletter, mailings, and Internet features, and would be reciprocated by the OSTA Chapter, if applicable.

OSTA Chapters can use complete discretion over the groups that are considered for membership trade, and it is completely optional. The trade is a full trade – no discounts. Partners would not receive the printed versions of Traces, but would be able to access the e-editions.

While the OSTA Chapter can consider any group for the trade, some “obvious” local groups are: Museums and libraries; historical societies; Native American and Hispanic groups; and smaller Chambers of Commerce.

More information will be developed and added to the website at oldspanishtrails.com. Call Vicki, Colorado Director, at 970-245-8484 with any questions.

December, 2015

Announcing a new guidebook “Driving the Old Spanish Trail Through Utah and Arizona” available through the OSTA retail site! The Old Spanish Trail traverses some of the most beautiful and most challenging terrain in the West. You will develop a new appreciation of the difficulties facing the historic travelers as you UT-AZAutoTour-CoverPhoto-200x290_000drive the route they trod with mules through southern Utah and northern Arizona. Our modern roads and highways follow the historic route closely, since passage through the canyons and across the rivers of Utah and Arizona left, then as now, few options.

This guidebook gives you explicit directions, including some GPS points, to view terrain similar to what the Old Spanish Trail travelers saw, and points out historic landmarks and signage. 52 photos, 8 maps, 64 pages. Available for $9.50 plus shipping. Click here for more and to buy!

We are pleased to announce that Jon Nelson of Montrose is our NEW Vice President of the North Branch! Many of you will recognize this name – yes, he’s Jack’s son, and he has agreed to be our VP. He brings lots of enthusiasm and great ideas. He will also join the organizing committee for the 2016 conference!

John is a retired special education teacher of 25 years in Colorado.  He is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside with an AB in History (American West, English, and Colonial History; language:German); MA, Colorado Western State Collage (Social Studies with a master’s thesis on “Glossolalia in the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”); MA, Colorado Western State Collage (Special Education).  His interest in the history of the south west goes back 45 years.  Living in Montrose since 2006, he is the owner of West Elk Web Media.

Make plans now to join us March 24, 2016, at Colorado Mesa University for a class on the Old Spanish Trail. Jonathan Carr, President of the North Branch Chapter of OSTA and co-author of “The History of Las Colonias Park: Historic Crossroads along the Riverfront of Grand Junction, Colorado,” will be offering a three-hour session on the Old Spanish Trail as a part of the New Dimensions activities series. This special class will be from 9 am – noon.

Carr will discuss the trail’s history from the 1600s through the 1870s, especially focusing on the North Branch section of the trail system. He will also describe the creation of OSTA and how some tenacious members from the Grand Valley helped put the Old Spanish Trail on the National Registry of Historic Trails. We will have more info on registration soon!

We’re excited to announce that the 2016 Old Spanish Trail Conference will be hclarion-logoeld in Grand Junction July 29-30! The Clarion Inn will be our host and we’ll have the schedule available soon.

La Vereda del Norte Chapter

La Vereda del Norte Chapter Summer newsletter, July, 2015 – read about the Bunker Archaeological Site, Crestone Charter School tour, and the Old Spanish Trail Theater Company!

North Branch Chapter Articles (open as pdfs)

The History of Las Colonias Park: Historic Crossroads Along the Riverfront Of Grand Junction, Colorado by Jonathan Carr and Claire Kempa, April, 2015

Railroads left once-critical Cochetopa Pass in the dust, Daily Sentinel, Bob Silbernagel, August 17, 2015