Santa Fe Trail chapter gives support for county projects

At a meeting of the board of directors of the Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA) March 27-29 at Council Grove, two proposed projects sponsored by the Cottonwood Crossing Chapter were submitted for approval by the National Park Service.

The projects focus on the history of the Santa Fe Trail in Marion County.

One project is to mark the Santa Fe Trail across Marion County by placing signs where the trail crosses county roads.

The other project is to construct an historical interpretive "wayside exhibit" at the site of Lost Spring Station west of the town of Lost Springs.

The county commission previously has endorsed both projects by approving placement of the signs in county road rights-of-way and by accepting an easement for the wayside exhibit from the Virginia Shields Trust.

"Placing signs to mark the Santa Fe Trail is a high priority for the National Park Service and for me personally," said Aaron Mahr, superintendent of the Intermountain Region National Trails System, who met with the board.

The Cottonwood Crossing Chapter has an application pending for funding of the signs, and Mahr said he would work to expedite release of the funding.

Regarding the wayside exhibit project, Mahr said he was favorably impressed by the quality of documentation supporting the project, and that the endorsement by the local chapter will be seriously considered as the National Park Service sets its priorities for funding new projects.

"The SFTA board and the National Park Service are both very appreciative of the support shown for both projects by the Marion County Commission and the county economic development office," said Steve Schmidt, president of the Cottonwood Crossing Chapter.

The Santa Fe Trail was actively used in Marion County from 1821 to approximately 1867. The commercial route connected Independence, Mo., with Santa Fe, N.M. It has been designated by the U.S. Congress as a National Historic Trail.

The SFTA works in partnership with the National Park Service to educate the public on the historical significance of the trail.

For more information on the trail, visit