President's Corner

November 2016


Greetings KCAHTA trail travelers,

  Certainly Fall in Kansas City is in full glory at this time!  Fall is a primary feature of Kansas City’s grandeur! 

  The seasons of travel for westbound emigrants and freighters on the historic frontier trails were coming to an end by this time.  Today, we travel thousands of miles in a matter of hours or days (instead of months!), in air-conditioned comfort, with minimum regard for the season! …….Oh, for those good ol’ days!  

  As KCAHTA’s 2016 activity season comes to a close, we reflect on KCAHTA’s numerous and ongoing contributions to our community. From design of wayside exhibits, community outreach and partnering with area municipalities and the NPS, we remain engaged and dedicated to preserving our past and our trails heritage!

  Our website ( has recently been transformed and certainly reflects the high quality, contributions, and character of KCAHTA!   Jean Coupal-Smith is our treasured Webmaster.

  On January 14 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm  KANSAS DAY is being celebrated at the Central Johnson County Library on 87th Street.   KCAHTA, OCTAs Trails Head Chapter, and the Johnson County Kansas Heritage Foundation will have a table there!  Hope to see you there!

   See ya again soon out on the ‘trail’,

Gary L. Hicks, President


August 2016


 Greetings KCAHTA partners in preservation,

    First, welcome back home to all of our ‘trail’ travelers who ventured to Harpers Ferry for the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation annual meeting (July 24-27), and the following OCTA annual convention (Aug1-5) at Ft. Hall, Idaho.  For those who traveled to both from the KC area, that is about a 4500 mile trek.  Pioneers traveling at 10 miles per day would have needed 450 days just to get to both events!  So much for having national meetings 4 days apart back then! 

   Of course, several of us attended the June workshop in Independence, MO for the Partnership for the National Historic Trails.  That only took several days by wagon!

   As noted, members of KCAHTA and other noted trail organizations (and numerous historic site preservations groups), certainly are ‘partners’ with the public we serve.  KCAHTA’s unique role in the broader complex of preserving the valuable heritage of our greater Kansas City community is the marking of historic frontier trails which passed through our area, particularly Johnson County, KS.  An inherent strategy within our mission is that of being a ‘Partner in Preservation’ with both the private and public sectors of our community.

    Essential elements for our partners in preservation programming are:   1.) Preservation,         2.) Advocacy, 3.) Education, and 4.) Funding.    

   Remain engaged, and remain committed as one of our valuable partners in preservation!

   See ya again soon out on the ‘trail’,

Gary L. Hicks, President


February 2016


Greetings fellow ‘Rut Nuts’ and ‘Trail Trekkers’,

It will not be long before the grasses are tall enough for our oxen and livestock to graze upon, as we plan to head our wagons westward ho!

To the reality of the 21st Century, travels on our modern ‘trails’ provides comforts, conveniences, with allowances to travel not according to the calendar! To this extent, KCAHTA is engaged in its mission 12 months a year, and not simply waiting for how high the grass is in the spring before starting out on its mission to preserve and advocate for our area’s historic frontier trails.

2015 was a dynamic year for KCAHTA as it reinforced its partnerships with the National Park Service; the area municipalities who support our Trail Signage program; and the local OCTA, SFTA, and Lewis & Clark chapters. With the National Historic Trails workshop coming to Kansas City this June, KCAHTA is a partnering sponsor to contributing towards its success!

Remember to attend our Annual Meeting in April! New ‘Name Tags’ will be distributed and we have a surprising and interesting program in store! Our annual meeting is an important opportunity for each of us to share information, and lend support to the efforts of OUR organization!

I look forward to the opportunities before us in 2016, and encourage each of you to bring in a new member; and, to become actively engaged in one of our committees. It’s good that we need not wait today for the ‘grasses’ to be just the right height before we head out on our mission to preserve our trail heritage.

As always, see you soon out on the ‘trail’,

Gary L. Hicks, President

May 2015


Greetings fellow ‘Trail Trekkers’
In May of this year, KCAHTA celebrated 20 years of its mission. …. to promote public awareness of the historic trails in the area and to initiate and coordinate activities to preserve and protect the historic routes, sites and trail remains through research, identification, mapping, marking, interpretation and education. In 1993, we were already a functioning group, yet it was not until May of 1995 that we became a 501(c)(3) corporation, with formal bylaws being adopted.
We celebrate our achievements of these past years and look forward to each opportunity to preserve our past for present and future generations.


As I visit with the public around our metro region, and especially in Johnson County, I am pleased to learn that most people are aware of our ‘brown & white’ signs marking the routes of the historic trails. I am proud to commend KCAHTA for its fine efforts through the years for its research, planning, and installation of signage; and also to establish a program designed to maintain the signs in the future in case of loss, damage, or weathering. And once again, our ‘Signmasters’ are to be commended for a job well done!
I am grateful for the confidence placed in me to serve another term as KCAHTA President, and look forward to another productive year, as KCAHTA continues to nurture and strengthen its partnerships within the community it serves.
See you out on the ‘trail’, Gary L. Hicks, President






February 2015

Greetings fellow ‘Trail Trekkers’,

The year 2014 seems like a distant point on the landscape from whence we came. However, as KCAHTA moves into this year we find a number of last year’s initiatives still requiring our attention, planning, and implementation. The public and private partnerships that KCAHTA has nurtured over the years, continues to be vital to the success of our mission.

Our Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund grant application of $4,960.00 was approved in December . These matching funds will be used to financially aid in our trails signage replacement program. Compliments to Rob Cook, Co-Chair of our Research, Mapping & Marker Committee, for closely coordinating the replacement of damaged, weathered, or missing signs! Each of our ‘Signmasters’ are to also be commended for a job well done.

The planning and design process remains on course for our wayside exhibits project at 80th and Santa Fe, OPK. Again, this is another fine example of KCAHTA partnering with Images Art Gallery, City of Overland Park, and the National Park Service. This has been a cooperative effort by all involved. Our committee looks forward to a late 2015 springtime dedication! Our other wayside projects remain ongoing, and times are sure busy!

See the opportunity for a Pete Cuppage Memorial donation on the above project.

Hope to see EACH of you at our annual meeting at the end of April. Our program shall prove to be VERY informative and entertaining!

As always, KCAHTA could not achieve its volumes of historic preservation and advocacy success without the expertise and commitment of its dedicated membership. And that means YOU!!

See you out on the ‘trail’, Gary L. Hicks, President