Interpretive Master Plan
With the 175th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail having taken place in 1996, it is being interpreted by several agencies, organizations or groups at the present time.
Several interpretive projects are either under development or have been identified by the Byway Committee as needs in pending grants. These projects are being incorporated into this interpretive plan as sites and media and are not listed in this section because they are Byway Committee projects.
An attempt to discover what is being done, what has been done and what is planned, led to this list of the following projects that are being undertaken by agencies, organizations or groups other than the Byway Committee:
The City of Trinidad is planning to design and install a hiking / biking trail along the Purgatoire River that will include the Kearney campsite and interpretation of that site. Plans are dependent on funding, which has been applied for under a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant. The Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway Committee may become a partner in this effort.
The City of Trinidad is also a partner with the Trinidad Historical Society downtown walking tour project and as an in-kind gesture will be installing historical plaques.
The Colorado Historical Society is planning to install two interpretive panels at the new rest area at Exit #18. Topics will be: Dick Wootton's Toll Road and Susan Magoffin. The CHS has secured permission from the City of Trinidad to install a 4-panel kiosk at the Colorado Welcome Center at Trinidad. Topics will be: Trinidad history, military history, Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District and Baca's and Bloom's contributions to the area.
The Trinidad History Museum is a CHS site in the town of Trinidad. The Baca House and Santa Fe Trail Museum are certified as parts of the National Historic Trail and have received financial and technical assistance from the NPS.
In addition, two other sites along the National Historic Trail have been identified as sites that are part of the Historical Society's roadside exhibit program. Hadley Rest Area (near La Junta) interprets the Arkansas Region and Bent's Old Fort and the Holly rest area is scheduled for an exhibit but the topics have not yet been determined. The CHS is planning to install interpretive panels at Trinidad Lake State Park, topics being: Legend of the name of the Purgatoire River, Hispanic settlement, Penitentes, Regional / Byway map.
The Colorado Division of Highways is planning to develop a new rest area at the site known as El Moro, or Exit Number 18. This will be completed in 1998. The low wattage radio message that will be installed in Trinidad is recommended to be moved to this site when the rest area is completed.
Santa Fe Trail Auto Tour Route / Scenic Byway signage has been installed by the Colorado Division of Highways and was coordinated through an agreement between the Division of Highways and the NPS.
Trinidad Lake State Park currently has an interpreted trail near the visitor center. They anticipate replacing some of the outdated panels in the coming year and adding trail interpretation. Trinidad Lake State Park is a certified interpretive facility on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife installed an interpretive panel at the city park in 1994 interpreting the nesting and roosting Mississippi kites that live at the site and which are visible to visitors.
Dry Cimarron Scenic Byways has developed a brochure with a map directing travelers to a variety of sites adjacent to the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail. They have indicated the Mountain Route and Trinidad on the northern edge of their map. Similar reciprocation should be given to the Dry Cimarron Byways on any brochures developed for the Santa Fe Trail.
The Madrid Bridge is scheduled to be renovated to include 2 lanes and a pedestrian walkway. When this transpires, there will be a parking lot and interpretive area called Madrid Plaza adjacent to the Purgatoire River.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, a National Park Service unit, offers personal and non-personal interpretive services related to the theme of Fort William and Bent's Fort. They also interpret the Santa Fe Trail as part of the purpose for Bent's Fort.
Group Office is responsible for National Trails program administration.
The Boggsville Revitalization Committee was formed to revitalize two extant structures located at the historic site of Boggsville, to develop this site and to promote education, stewardship and economic development through heritage tourism. The Boggs House and the Prowers House will house interpretive displays and other interpretive media will be installed at the site. Boggsville is a certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. There is an existing agreement between the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County and the NFS to cooperate on the planning and interpretation at the site. The site is eligible for and has received NFS financial and technical assistance.
Interpretation along this Byway will link to Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway at Trinidad Lake State Park.
A family of brochures developed by this organization directs public attention to the existence of the National Historic Trail and the auto tour route. Other brochures in the series highlight each county in the enterprise zone: Kiowa, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Prowers and Baca.
An interactive video is being developed by SECED to promote southeastern Colorado Phasing, recommendations and costs for interactive video are not included in this plan since it is a current project being undertaken by SECED. Additional units could be installed at visitor and welcome centers or other locations where visitors congregate to enhance Byway interpretation and promotion. Hardware will cost approximately $4,500 per site.
A series of post cards depicting local scenes is being developed and will be distributed by SECED.
Each county along the byway is planning to install a life-sized bronze sculpture that reflects life along the Santa Fe Trail. It will be coordinated through SECED and grant monies will be sought for the project's implementation.
Plaques placed near historic downtown buildings will constitute a downtown walking tour of Trinidad's history. This project will be completed in 1997 and installed by the City of Trinidad.
Faces of the Santa Fe Trail is a booklet that was developed to highlight some of the people who were closely tied to the Santa Fe Trail.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed the Red Shin Hiking Trail along the Santa Fe Trail at John Martin Reservoir from the dam to the DAR Santa Fe Trail marker. A trail map brochure for Red Shin Hiking Trail also exists. Future plans may include a hiking trail that follows the Santa Fe Trail west from the DAR marker. The Corps and the NFS have an MOU regarding cooperation on Santa Fe Trail projects.
The Visitor Information Center exhibits include: touch-screen video monitor, history exhibit with digital audio repeater, topographical model of John Martin Reservoir, wildlife habitat challenge exhibit, endangered species exhibit, wetlands exhibit, and an entry-alcove with a map and brochures.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site have installed a full-sized military tank, a restroom, and a kiosk with two interpretive panels at the entrance to the site. Themes of the panels are: the military uses of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and the Mission of DECAM (Directorate for Environmental Compliance and Management).
The Forest Service, in conjunction with the National Park Service, has developed wayside exhibits on the Grassland that describe the Santa Fe Trail and the local area at three sites: Iron Spring one mile east of Highway 350 (1 wayside exhibit interpreting the trail and the site), Sierra Vista Overlook on Highway 71 (3 wayside exhibits) and Timpas Picnic Area on Highway 350 (3 wayside exhibits).
Bent and Otero Counties are planning to develop a road that connects U.S. Highway 50 and Colorado Highway 194 just north of the Hadley Rest Area. This road will serve as a "short-cut" to Bent's Old Fort from Highway 50. Until the road is completed, a small park on the north side of the railroad tracks will have an interpretive exhibit. Funding for the mandatory railroad crossing has been approved and county commissioners are seeking funding for a bridge across the Arkansas River and the road to join that site with Bent's Old Fort.