President's Corner

Nov 2019


Greetings Fellow ‘Trail Travelers’,

As we transition into another season along the trail, we give pause to reflect on this year’s journey of discovery, learning and sharing as we explore and experience the heritage of our nation’s historic trails and roads. It is important to note that many KCAHTA members are engaged in other trail organizations and preservation interests.

Networking, partnership, and leadership are hallmarks of the viability and capability of KCAHTA of membership, and the durable fabric of preservation association.

KCAHTA member Larry Short is to be commended as the newly elected National President of the Santa Fe Trail Association.


Pat Traffas (KCAHTA Vice-President) is to be commended for her recent completion of two years as National President of the Oregon- California Trails Association. Leaders such as Pat and Larry carry the torch lighting the trails before us! Thank you both!

On behalf of KCAHTA I wish to extend gratitude to the family of Lee Kroh (wife Dorothy, and sons Roger and Bryan) for the transfer of the copyright of the Lee Kroh U.S.G.S Quadrangle Maps to our organization. The transferred copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington D.C. This transfer provides for KCAHTA to digitize Lee’s quadrangle maps! Your donation to Lee’s Memorial Mapping Project to digitize 252 of his maps is a major step in making these maps available to the public! (see pages one and three)

Many KCAHTA members attended the annual national conventions of both OCTA and SFTA. Wife Louise and I were in Salt Lake City during the OCTA convention in August to address the audience as ALEXANDER MAJORS. This driving trip covered eight states and 4500 miles!

We attended the SFTA Conference in September, then the car turned east and stopped at the Pacific Ocean! Both trips were extraordinary, with history, heritage, and nature as primary themes.

Gary L. Hicks, President

Aug 2019


Greetings Fellow ‘Swale Swallows’,

Historically, the symbol of an experienced sailor of the high-seas, the symbol of the ‘Barn  Swallow’ may apply to the thousands who have guided their ‘prairie schooner’ across the grassy plains of our western frontier. Today, with the “Dog Days” of August upon us, we may find ourselves basking in the 72-deg comfort of air conditioning and simply imagining the hardship  of frontier ‘trail-life’ of the 1800s. Yet, many ol’ trail ruts and swales remain for us to discover, to learn from, to preserve, and interpret.

Through our partnership with NPS-NTIR and following a 1½ year assessment period of KC area high-priorty locations evalutated for placement of new wayside exhibits, three high priorty sites are being considered for final authorization.

Also, partnering with the City of Shawnee and Star Signs of Lawence, KS, a new replacement plaque will be installed on a large boulder to be relocated into West Flanders Park, Shawnee. The Education Committee is also coordinating the text and graphics for a new wayside exhibit to be placed adjacent to the newly mounted plaque. Both the plaque and wayside exhibit interpret the historic Ft. Leavenwoth - Ft. Scott Military Road which crossed that very site.

Mark Morgan’s ‘soft-point’ trail signage project in Prairie Village, KS remains on course.

KCAHTA members wear many hats serving KCAHTA and preservation organizations, both locally and nationally. Our member commitment to trailst preservation is the hallmark of KCAHTA’s success!

For these past 25 years, regardless of the barking “Dog Days” of August, KCAHTA has preserved historic trails routes mapped by the historian and guided by remnant ‘swales’. Being a ‘Swale Swallow’ of the great plains is akin to being that sailor of the high seas! The challenge though is getting out from the comfort of our 72- degree air conditioning! A ‘Swallow Tattoo’ anyone?…. as did the sailors of old?

Gary L. Hicks, President