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About the
Old Spanish Trail Association

History of the Old Spanish Trail Association

In 1994, historian and trail buff Ron Kessler called a meeting at the Rio Grande County Museum in Del Norte, Colorado to gauge interest in identifying and preserving remnants of the Old Spanish Trail. It was alert OSTA members who persuaded Rio Grande County officials to reroute a new access road to a landfill that avoided destroying a section of the Old Spanish Trail's North Branch.

From those humble beginnings, the Old Spanish Trail Association now boasts over 400 members in 27 states with 10 local chapters in six western states and England. The membership is inclusive and involves historians, archaeologists, public land managers, educators, writers, Native Americans, and direct descendents of those who traveled the trail.

From the Southern Ute to federal land managers to Bruce and Rosina Alderson of England, hundreds of members demonstrate a proud passion for the trail for many individual reasons. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail is perhaps like no other for its rich and fascinating history, its past and present day politics, the unique blend of cultural heritages, and the dramatic landscape experienced along this great western trail.

To read more about the history of the Old Spanish Trail Association download the 10-Year Anniversary Issue of Spanish Traces published in 2004.

Mission Statement

To study, preserve and protect, interpret and educate, and promote respectful use of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and closely related historic routes.

OSTA promotes public awareness of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and its multicultural heritage by encouraging research and publication and partnering with governments and private organizations.

Vision Statement

Our association helps bring to life the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, the stories of its diverse people and their trade connections, and weaves together their role in the development of our nation.

Association Structure

The Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA) is a non-profit IRS 501(c)(3) organization supported by chapters in each trail state (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), and by members at large.

A director from each trail state serves on a board, which meets three times a year. OSTA sponsors an annual conference, usually in June, which offers formal papers and field trips along the trail. Chapters hold IRS 501(c)(3) status under the umbrella of OSTA. Chapters schedule local meetings, events, and field trips throughout the year.

Association Manager
John Hiscock
Old Spanish Trail Association
P.O. Box 324
Kanab, Utah 84741
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Become a Member

Your membership in the Old Spanish Trail Association helps us in many ways.

Membership dues cover the cost of producing the Spanish Traces Journal and provide the association with important funds for trail related activities and interpretation materials.

  • Regular memberships start at just $25 and it includes a subscription to Spanish Traces Journal – the official publication of the Old Spanish Trail Association.  

  • Invitations to national and chapter workshops and other events.

  • Opportunities to work with fellow members on research, development,
    and interpretation of the new Old Spanish National Historic Trail.

Join Now!


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OSTA Members receive
3 issues of Spanish Traces per year and other membership benefits.

Join or Renew Your Membership



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