Bozeman National Historic Trail Project

November 2021 Update

We continued efforts to garner support for designation of the Bozeman Trail as a National Historic Trail (NHT).  I accepted an invitation to speak at the celebration and interpretive sign dedication ceremony for the Bozeman Trail in Virginia City, Montana in July.  In August I presented a program on the Bozeman Trail to the Wyoming Legislature Standing Committee on Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources (TRWRC), requesting support from the committee for the NHT feasibility study.  In addition, we continued outreach to organizations and communities throughout the state seeking letters of support to be submitted to our U.S. Congressional delegation for legislation to authorize the NHT feasibility study.

This year we renewed efforts to connect with tribal communities for the NHT effort and to begin discussions about future interpretative displays and education programs.  This summer we hosted visits to the Fort by the Northern Cheyenne and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Historic Preservation Offices. We began a discussion with the Crow Tribe Historic Preservation Office as well and hope to host a visit with them soon. Tribal community members have a wealth of knowledge about their ancestor’s lives in the Powder River Country including participation in events surrounding the Bozeman Trail.  We look to continue strengthening our relationships with the tribes and partnering with them to expand and enhance presentation of their rich and important chapters in our history.

Thank you for your continued support as we travel along the Trail to national recognition.

Dave McKee

 

Meanwhile, in Montana:

The effort by Our Montana (www.ourmontana.org) to establish the Bozeman Trail as a National Historic Trail is moving ahead with growing public support. Our Montana is working with the Fort Phil Kearny /Bozeman Trail Association in Wyoming, and the Beartooth Resource and Development organization in Montana on the project. In addition, (Bozeman National Historic Trail Committee Co-chair) Mike Penfold has been giving talks about the project to local service and historical groups.

Our Montana board member Ralph Saunders has been studying the diaries of Bozeman Trail travelers of the 1860s and relating that information to photography on Google Earth. This type of forensic work has not been done to locate the Trail and the Trail corridor. There are several purposes for this work, including providing an accurate location for the Bozeman Trail to the Montana Historical Society, locating excellent interpretive sites for the traveling public, informing communities and landowners about the Trail's location. This work will also be helpful to facilitate the accomplishment of the feasibility study necessary to get the Bozeman Trail designated as a National Historic Trail. Volunteers are accomplishing additional fieldwork with landowner interviews and checking office work. Board member Howard Boggess, who has intimate field knowledge of the Bozeman Trail, works closely with the volunteers. Howard is a member of the Crow tribe of Indians and has done much fieldwork on the Bozeman Trail over many years.

Penfold has developed several programs on Montana Community 7 TV.