Melinda Arviso-Ciocco named New Mexico State Director

Melinda Arviso-Ciocco has been selected to be the State Director for New Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Indigenous Studies with a minor in Sociology from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, and is currently working on her master’s degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. 

She has over ten (10) years of experience in ethnography, anthropology, and ethno-history, public speaking and organizing events/forums and presentations as well as extensive academic and personal background working with Native communities, economic development, tribal/federal policies, gender inequalities, historical, and cultural awareness, as well as international indigenous government to government relations, and policies.  Fluency in the Navajo language enables Melinda to relate and work effectively with Native/Navajo communities, and in social settings. The seat will be up for election in early fall, 2019.


Mesa & Delta Recreation & Development Strategy Released

Our federal partners, the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service has released the final version of the Mesa & Delta Recreation & Development Strategy. This is the fifth plan for our trail with another being planned for the Northern Arizona area. These plans are full of great ideas, concepts, and graphics and are the result of several meetings and input from our communities. Thank you BLM and NPS!  – click here to view and download!

OSTA Announces Lynn Brittner as New Executive Director
Kitty Nicholason Named Spanish Traces Editor

Lynn Brittner of Albuquerque NM, has been appointed Executive Director of the Old Spanish Trail Association.

She replaces John Hiscock, has been the Manager of the Association for more than three years; he has been instrumental in bringing the 400-member group onto a higher platform of recognition and respect as a national trails organization. Under his management, OSTA has grown with a new website, social media presence, and more involvement with stewardship and preservation activities. Hiscock is leaving OSTA to pursue other opportunities.

Brittner served as the Executive Director for the Santa Barbara Historical Museum from 2014 until recently, and now resides in Albuquerque NM. 

As the former Executive Director of the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum (SUCCM) Brittner has led and represented SUCCM in the development of its $38M 52,000 sq./ft. cultural center and museum campus located in Ignacio, Colorado.  Earlier in her career, she brought her extensive knowledge and skills to diverse museum roles including collections curator, manager, and registrar at several Santa Fe, New Mexico institutions including the Palace of the Governors, the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, the School for American Research and the Georgia O‘Keefe Museum.

She holds a BA from Fort Lewis College in Archaeology/Anthropology and an MA from the University of New Mexico in American Studies.

“I am really excited to join OSTA as Executive Director,” Brittner said. “Preserving this part of western history is so important and I’m really passionate about helping the association grow and educating their communities.”

Vicki Felmlee, OSTA president, said Brittner’s experience with non-profits is an exciting aspect of her background. “She is a well-known professional in this area, has proven abilities to bring people together for a common good. She’s exactly what we need to reach that higher level, not only for our members but also our many volunteers and partners.”

Brittner will be attended the Partnership for the National Trails System in Vancouver, WA, Oct. 22-25. OSTA will also have its board meeting and a special member meeting in Vancouver Oct. 26.

Kitty Nicholason has been selected as the new editor of Spanish Traces, the journal of the Old Spanish Trail Association. She replaces Ruth Friesen, who has edited the magazine for almost 7 years. Ruth is retiring to pursue other interests including travel and writing books.

Nicholason has more than 30 years in the publishing and print business, from brochures to books and has worked with dozens of authors on many diverse subjects, from history to art to eve

n petrified wood. She free-lanced in the San Diego area for about 20 years, winning several awards. Projects ranged from book and magazine design, corporate identity and logos, advertising and photography, to environmental graphics and signage.

After moving to Colorado, she was employed in the graphics department of one of the largest commercial printers in the area and was instrumental in designing and editing several books and journals. She started her own business about five years ago; last year she helped OSTA with its new website as well as a new brochure and other marketing materials.

“I really thank the OSTA board for the opportunity to carry on Ruth Friesen’s excellent work in producing Spanish Traces,” Nicholason said. “Ruth is the quintessential professional, and I know that she is handing me a comprehensive road  – or should I say ‘trail’ – to follow. It is my deep desire to continue the excellence she has curated.”

Vicki Felmlee, president of the Old Spanish Trail Association, said Nicholason will continue that high bar of excellence. “Kitty has helped many publications over the years and has an impressive reputation throughout Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. She is sought after to be the primary editor for several well-known writers who respect her judgment and attention to detail.”

Spanish Traces publishes three times a year and is free for all members. The next issue will be printed in December.

Meet Dennis Brown – Vice President

Dennis Brown, of Castle Valley, Utah, has been elected Vice President of the Old Spanish Trail Association. 

He is a retired architect with a master’s degree in historic preservation from George Washington University, and was founder and managing partner of Geier Brown Renfrow Architects in Washington D.C.

Brown served on the Grant Review Panel for the Institute of Museum Services, advising nonprofit house museums located in historic buildings on how to properly insulate and environmentally protect their historic collections and building. He and his wife lived in London for several years before moving to Castle Valley, UT

They retired to the eastern Utah area several years ago. “We love the desert and the outdoors. Moving here was a natural fit,” he said.

He quickly became immersed in the area’s history: In 2014 he joined the Museum of Moab’s Board of Trustees and was appointed Chair of the Facilities Committee and Chair of the Development Committee. He helped raised $1 million and is spearheading the campaign to transform the Museum into a 21st century institution. A $200,000 major renovation of the Exhibit Hall is under way. In 2018 he was elected President of the Board of Trustees and is also the Project Manager for creating a video about the Old Spanish Trail in southeastern Utah.

Juan Matias Sanchez Adobe receives Site Certification

The Juan Matias Sanchez Adobe, the oldest structure in Montebello, dating back to 1845, has received Site Certification. The Adobe nestled in the hills of North Montebello, within a quiet residential neighborhood, remains a hidden jewel in Montebello history. Read more here.

OSTA Welcomes New Nevada Director

Glenn has lived in the Southern Nevada area for almost 60 years. He now resides in the house he built beside a spring in the village of Blue Diamond or better known to travelers on the Old Spanish Trail as Cottonwood Springs – one days travel from the springs at Las Vegas. His interest in the Old Spanish Trail began because of his friendship with Harry Godshall the owner of the historic Resting Springs Ranch a major stopover on the Spanish Trail.

Glenn is retired from a lifelong career in tourism sales and marketing.  He has worked for the Nevada State tourism office where he promoted tourism to rural Nevada and also for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority where he supervised the opening and operation of the Southern Nevada visitor information centers.

Glenn has had a lifelong interest in Nevada history and was active in several local organizations. He has served as treasurer for the Preservation Association of Southern Nevada, Vice President of the Southern Nevada Historical Society and served on the board of Museums and Attractions in Nevada. 

He has been active in the Nevada Archaeology Association as a site steward. He currently spends his time off-road exploring and leading tours to Nevada ghost towns, mining camps, the Old Spanish Trail and along old wagon trails throughout Nevada.

Glenn has been an active member of the Nevada Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association for many years and has led many of the Chapter’s activities in researching, traveling, marking the Trail and assisting in the planning and execution of the OSTA Annual Conferences hosted by the NV Chapter.


View the Comprehensive Administrative Strategy.

When many people in the West think about the Old Spanish Trail, they might think about history and culture. For the Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA), the trail is also about tourism, exploration, adventure; and, challenges. Planning and installing identification signage and interpretive wayside exhibits, working to develop partnerships with museums and cultural centers, and protecting Trail resources, landscapes and values from the potentially detrimental effects of energy development, mining, commercial developments, and more are just a few of the issues confronting the trail in its six-state region.

An important part of OSTA’s efforts has been consulting with the federal administrators for the Trail – the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) – on a management plan, required by the National Trails System Act. That plan is intended to guide the administration and management of the Trail on federal public lands, and on state, tribal, and local government lands, and private lands through cooperative efforts with such entities and individual landowners. After fifteen years of prolonged planning and discussions the BLM and NPS have released a Comprehensive Administrative Strategy for the Trail. Read more…

View the Comprehensive Administrative Strategy.