NHOTIC boasts 25 years of history
BAKER CITY — Some of the same crowd that helped open the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center 25 years ago will return this month to help celebrate the silver milestone.
The celebration will be from 9 a.m. to noon May 25, at the center. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
“We have a small exhibit in the lobby of commemorative items from the grand opening, and there will be some Bureau of Land Management staff and volunteers from the early days visiting from out of town on that day,” said Sarah LeCompte, center director.
Former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts, who cut the ribbon at the grand opening 25 years ago, will give opening remarks. Locals who were instrumental in the project will speak as well, including Randy Guyer, Dave Hunsaker, and Don Gonzalez, BLM’s Vale District manager.
Following the speeches, Joyce Badgley Hunsaker will perform a living history drama as “Fanny,” and live music will be provided by Hank Cramer and Friends.
Hunsaker said she performed “Fanny” for decades at the center.
“That character was the foundation of their living history department,” she said.
She retired “Fanny” about four years ago.
“I’m bringing her out of the trunk one last time,” she said.
The roots of the Interpretive Center project go back to 1987 as a way to bolster the local economy. After much brainstorming, the idea of capitalizing on Baker County’s Oregon Trail history came to the forefront. Next came several years of efforts by both community and government partners.
The Trail Tenders formed in 1989 in partnership with the founding of the center. The group is a nonprofit, and its mission “to enhance the quality of the educational and recreational programs for the public benefit within the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center complex, and to further the center’s goals throughout Baker County.”
Over the years, the Interpretive Center has hosted over 2.2 million visitors from around the globe, thousands of students, tour groups and numerous special events. In addition to permanent exhibits and films portraying the history and legacy of the Oregon Trail, the Center has more than four miles of hiking trails and a one-mile stretch of the historic Oregon Trail route with wagon ruts. For the last 25 years, a staff of interpreters, volunteers, contractors and partner groups have presented more than 500 presentations per year, including theater programs, living history, special exhibits, activities and guided hikes.
The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located five miles east of Baker City, Oregon on Highway 86. Take Exit 302 from I-84. The center is currently open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 adults, $4.50 for seniors and free for children 15 and younger. Federal passes are also accepted.
Next up on the Interpretive Center’s schedule is the Memorial Day weekend “Meet the Pioneers” activities that start at 10 a.m. May 27 and May 28 and then Run to the Ruts, a 5K and 10K trail run/walk, on June 3.
For information, visit oregontrail.blm.gov, trailtenders.org, or call 541-523-1843.