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Chisholm Trail Could Become National Historic Trail

KSAL Staff - January 25, 2015 4:16 pm

A National Park Service feasibility study/environmental assessment for the Chisholm and Great Western National Historic Trail is complete and is available for public comment. This has been a four year project. In 2010 the National Park Service conducted 12 public meetings along the trails to receive feedback. After receiving this feedback the park service began a four year research project to determine if these trails would meet the requirements to become part of the National Historic Trail System.

The study was conducted to meet the requirements of the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act. Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior to evaluate the Chisholm and the Western Cattle Trails to determine if they qualify under the National Trail System Act. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 directed the park service to study the Chisholm Trail (also known as the Abilene Trail) starting near San Antonio, Texas traveling north through Fort Worth, Texas, Duncan, Oklahoma, to Enid, Oklahoma into Kansas near Caldwell, up to Wichita and Newton, finally ending in Abilene, while the Ellsworth Trail (Cox Cutoff) headed northwest to Bluff City, Kingman, Ellinwood and on to the Ellsworth railhead. The Western Trail (also known as the Dodge City Trail) started near San Antonio and traveled north-by northwest through Texas going through Kerrville and Menard, Texas and continuing to Coleman, Albany, Vernon, Texas to Doan’s Crossing. It continued northward through Oklahoma near Altus, Long Wolf, Canute, Vici and May, Oklahoma. Then it continued north through Ashland to Dodge City and on to Dighton, Park, Hoxie, Oberlin and Atwood across Kansas. Then north to Ogallala, Nebraska, passing through Trenton and Madrid.

The International Chisholm Trail Association has been advocating for national historic status for the Chisholm Trail since 1995. This organization was formed to identify, preserve, develop, celebrate and promote the Great Cattle Trails of the 19th century for education, heritage and tourism. The feasibility study for the Chisholm and Western Trails is a major accomplishment enhancing the goals of the International Chisholm Trail Association. The complete feasibility study was released January 5, 2015. The public has until March 5, 2015 to read and make comments on this study. If you are interested in viewing the study, you may go to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectid=30803

If you have any questions about the feasibility study or about the International Chisholm Trail Association please feel free contact D.R. Katzenmeier, President at 785-643-8656, dennis.k@eaglecom.net or Jeff Sheets (Chairman of the Kansas Chapter of the International Chisholm Trail Association) at 785-263-2681 or by email heritagecenterjs@sbcglobal.net.