|Willard Young greets convention goers at the Museum of the San Rafael.|
The Old Spanish Trail Association held its annual convention in Green River, at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum. This was the 13th annual meeting of the OSTA members. Nearly 80 people from Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, the United Kingdom, and Utah attended the annual meeting.
Since the designation of the Old Spanish Trail as a National Historic Trail on Dec. 4, 2002, the OSTA and its board have worked with the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service in scoping, mapping and planning the management of the trail.
Members of the OSTA meet at this annual convention to be updated from the federal partners about the scoping process, and also to visit portions of the trail. They met and many informative workshops were held.
Along with the workshops, the group was taken on a float trip on the Green River where they viewed the ford location the trail took through the river. Those who did not attend the float trip were taken by vehicles for a tour of the Green River area which also included a look at the ford on the river. These tours were led by local residents who were able to relate some local history and folklore.
To conclude the conference, the group took a tour of the trail route from Green River to Castle Dale. Along the way, they were treated to many of the points of interest in the San Rafael Swell.
Upon their arrival at the Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale, they were welcomed by Commissioner Gary Kofford, and Sylvia Nelson and Bert Oman of the Emery County Historical Society. Commissioner Kofford asked them what they thought of Emery County and was answered with a thunderous round of applause. "We are very proud of our Old Spanish Trail heritage. We are very happy to have you here and you are welcome to come back anytime," Commissioner Kofford said.
The group was given a tour of the museum and encouraged to ask any question concerning Emery County or the Old Spanish Trail in our area. Many of the attendees were interested in the size of Emery County because they had left Green River and traveled all day and were still in Emery County. They were also interested in the geological aspects of the Swell.
One visitor, David Fallowfield of Penrith, Cumbria, England, stated, "I have been on the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Pony Express Trail, and I think this portion of the Old Spanish Trail is the most diverse. You see a different view through the windscreen every five minutes. This place should be a national park."
Fallowfield explained his interest in the trails in the United States. "When I was growing up, many of my family members would immigrate here, and they never came back. As I grew, I needed to know what was so special about the US. In 1985, I became interested in the Family History Society and discovered a family connection with the Old Spanish Trail. William Workman, who used the trail was in my family history, so I wanted to see it. I came over on vacations and have become very fascinated with the lands here," said Fallowfield.
He went on to say that the town he was from in England, Penrith, meant red hill in Celtic. "I find it very ironic that I'm from red hill and come here and I am surrounded by red hills."