Trails West, Inc., a non-profit, historical organization founded in 1970, dedicated to researching, identifying and marking the Emigrant Trails to California, placed a marker behind the Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Station early this afternoon. Their goal is to aid in the preservation of the trails used by thousands of pioneers and gold-seekers to reach California and southern Oregon during the mid-19th century.
This was a non-ceremony event happening ‘sometime in the afternoon, probably around 2 p.m.’. I got there at 1 p.m., just as they had finished digging the hole, securing the marker, and replacing the dirt around it.
After introducing myself as a part of fire department and a member of the Fire Board, I had fun talking with the volunteers from the organization. They commented on how open Chief Crabtree had been to the proposition of placing the monument as well as thanking the Fire Board for approving it 100%. And they complimented Bonnie Dahlin, the department Secretary, for being so helpful.
All trail markers placed by the organization bear an aluminum plate inscribed with the location, train name and a descriptive quote from an emigrant’s diary of the 1840s to 1960s. This segment of the California Trail functioned for only about 2-1/2 years.
The markers are fabricated from 90-pound railroad rails!
The volunteers came from Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California. I asked them to please gather behind the monument and then had a little fun by having each state representative raise their hand.
Some of these folks are camping tonight, at least one couple is staying at Mi Wuk’s Christmas Tree Inn, some were going on down to Sonora (after asking how far away it is) to sight see, visit the history museum and walk around town.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to witness this today. What a dedicated group of interesting folks. Volunteers!
If you’re fascinated by the covered-wagon era, this could be the organization for you. Be sure to check them out via the link at the top of the page.
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