Sponsors of next year's 150-year observance of the Oregon Trail are looking for two people to drive a wagon on a 900-mile trip.
Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming are sponsoring a wagon train along the old Oregon Trail from Casper, Wyo., to Oregon City, Ore. Participants will follow the path pioneers took on the trek west.Idaho's Oregon Trail Executive Committee is willing to pay two people to drive the official Idaho wagon on the three-month journey and provide their own stock team. Food and water will be provided. Experienced horseback riders with their own horses also are needed to support the wagon.
Ten more spaces are available for people who want to ride along with the train for a week or a month, but they will have to pay their own way, said wagonmaster Bert Silcock.
The official Idaho wagon will be among 20 from the three states in the official sesquicentennial wagon train. It leaves Casper in early June, crosses 384 miles of southern Idaho in July, and arrives in Oregon City by Labor Day, Silcock said.
"A lot more planning and coordination is going into this re-enactment than probably went into many of the original crossings," Silcock said. "The logistics and coordination are amazing."
Many events are planned along the way, including the Montpelier Rendezvous Days, a Fort Hall pow wow and a Three Island crossing in Glenns Ferry. Citizens who wish to join the wagon train for a day on foot or horseback will have a half-dozen opportunities to do so, Silcock said.
From the time the Oregon Trail enters Idaho near Border, Wyo., people can walk or ride along the Bear River to Montpelier. Another opportunity will be near Soda Springs and the old Mormon settlement of Chesterfield, and others will be near American Falls, Milner, Declo, Twin Falls, Buhl, Glenns Ferry, Mountain Home and Boise.
Lloyd Walker, Twin Falls attorney and chairman of Idaho's Oregon Trail Executive Committee, said he expects many Idahoans to attend events and participate in wagon train activities.
"A lot of people in Idaho are still pretty much attached to the Oregon Trail. When you go to the rendezvous in Montpelier, the people don't look like Hollywood actors, they know how to drive a team and ride a horse," he said.
In addition, many Idahoans can trace their roots to Oregon Trail emigrants, Walker said. He noted that former governor John Evans, Bureau of Land Management Director Delmar Vail and Silcock all had ancestors who settled in Idaho via the Oregon Trail.
The Oregon Trail Project also plans to issue certificates to people whose ancestors came west on the trail. "This is a tribute to those hardy pioneers who came overland by wagon, handcart or foot along the Oregon Trail," said Jane Walls Golden, chairwoman of the Oregon Trail Project.
To qualify for a certificate, applicants must prove direct descent from a person who traveled any part of what became known as the Oregon Trail between 1811 and 1911. An application can be obtained by writing to the Oregon Trail Project, 4620 Overland Road, No. 206, Boise, ID 83705.