Print Page


Re-discovering the Old Spanish Trail

Scholars, historians, representatives from government agencies, Hispanic and Native American groups, mule packers, costumed re-enactors and Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA) members all convened from June 2-5 in Pomona, CA for OSTA’s annual conference. The OSTA's mission is to promote public awareness and the multicultural heritage of the trail by encouraging research, publication and partnering with governments and private organizations. This year’s gathering focused on the California portions of the trail, with speakers and panels exploring a wide range of topics from emigration to the history of locations and peoples associated with this fascinating piece of American History. (text continues below)

two men and a woman stand in front of an old adobe structure
Rolla Queen and Jim Shearer welcome Barstow Field Office’s new Archaeological Intern, Amy Oechsner to the BLM during the Old Spanish Trails Association Conference. The next two years promise to be exciting as Amy works closely with the BLM, the OSTA, and AECOM, (BLM’s consultant on the ARRA National Historic Trail Inventory project) to uncover the secrets of the Old Spanish Trail.

California Desert District Archaeologist Rolla Queen delivered the agency address for the Bureau of Land Management during the plenary session, highlighting BLM’s proactive cultural resources and trail management activities. Later that morning, Rolla and Jim Shearer, BLM’s archaeologist at the Barstow Field Office enlightened the audience in a break-out session about BLM’s exciting new National Historic Trail Inventory project which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Inventory project. When completed, this unique project will provide field inventory and documentation, condition assessment, and a setting inventory for over 500 miles of 6 historic trails managed by the BLM. At least 244 miles of the Old Spanish Trail across New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California will be studied.

BLM was well represented in the exhibits room with an Old Spanish Trail/NLCS exhibit assembled and staffed by Mark Conley, (State Office NLCS program Lead), Greg Thomsen, (CDDO Special Projects Manager), and Barbara Croonquist, (CDDO Public Contact Representative).  Maps and brochures about the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, the Old Spanish Trail, the National Trails system, the ARRA Inventory Project, NLCS and Historic Route 66 were popular titles with the conference attendees.

- Barbara Croonquist, BLM California Desert District, 6/14/11

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 485 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 06-16-2011