Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Visions 2006

prepared by Wyvonne Phillips- July 2006

Executive Summary

The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway-Mountain Branch has completed it's application as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit. This status will allow us to seek new funding sources and leverage our resources. Our membership will assist in our goals to preserve, protect and promote the corridor of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch.

Organization Description

The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway-Mountain Branch is one of Colorado's Scenic Byway Programs. It is funded by the National Scenic Byways Program of the FHWA. Funds are distributed through a competitive grants process and are administered by CDOT State Scenic Byway Program. This grant is renewable for up to five years and it is our intention to become self sustaining by the year 2007.

Grants received-

First Seed Grant in 2002 - $25,000 used for Corridor Management beginning in February 15, 2003, and marketing plan.
Second Seed Grant 2003- $25,000 for corridor management and Byway organization.
Third Seed Grant 2004- $25,000 receieved in July 2005 for corridor management and business plan.
Fourth Seed Grant 2005- $25,000 not yet received, Estimated receive date Jan, 1, 2007

Our Scenic Byway Visitors Center is in the Barglow Building of the Trinidad History Museum (A Colorado Historic Society Property) 312 East Main Street, P.O. Box 377, Trinidad, CO 81082, Phone 719-846-7217. Trinidad Historical Society is our fiscal sponsor for 2005 operation and Colorado Historic Society is our public access contributor.


Colorado Department Of Transportation
National Scenic Byway Organization
Trinidad Historical Society
Trinidad History Museum (a Colorado Historic Property)
Comanche National Grasslands
Colorado Historic Society
Santa Fe Trail Association
National Park Service
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Colorado State Parks

Historical Background

Roberta Cordova founder of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway, the Scenic Byway Committee, Byway Stake holders and Partners, City Governments and prestigious members of our Byway Communities and Counties worked for many years to develop our Scenic Byway designation. In 1992 Governor Roy Romer and the Colorado Department of Transportation designated the Mountain Branch as a Colorado State Scenic Byway. We received National Scenic Byways Program designation in 1998 by the FHWA.

Board of Directors

President- Roberta Cordova, founder of the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail
Vice President- Michelle Stevens, Archaeologist for Comanche & Cimarron National Grasslands, USDA & FS.
Treasurer- Barbara McKnight co-founder of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Steering committee.
We have a good representation of the Trail Corridor consisting of well-qualified individuals which make up our Board of Directors and Executive Director.
Our organization has the vision of making our Scenic Byway recognized as one of America's great Heritage highways instilling community pride, fellowship, and commerce.

Vision Statement

1. Increase recognition and appreciation of the multi-cultural heritage in communities within the corridor of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch.
• Increase information availability about travel in both directions along the Trail's historic routes and the ties it created between the vastly different cultures and races.
• Preserve the pioneer spirit among the region's population.
• Enhance awareness of the Trail's history among persons moving into the region.
• Promote Trail-related activities among all ages and families and to use connections provided by the Trail to improve inter-community relations.
2. Preserve historic sites and resources for future generations.
• Achieve a balance between preservation and development.
• Increase public knowledge about significant historic resources along the Trail.
• Encourage preservation and protection of sites on public and private lands.
3. Enhance the visitor experience by upgrading and improving developed sites and facilities and by developing additional sites which are not now and do not have visitor services.
• Improve the quality of visits.
4. Increase tourism's contribution to the economy by increasing visitors and the length of their stay.
• Increase the number of sites visited
5. Support Trail-related activities throughout the corridor of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch. • Consistently use a unified Trail-related theme and identity.

2004 In Review

Hired part time Executive Director Wyvonne Phillips, to Implement the Corridor Management Plan.
Wyvonne Phillips is our web master and works with Byway stakeholders to bring our Byway Organization goals and mission to fruition. She has attended public meetings and organizational meetings throughout the Byway with stakeholders to assess our needs and create new partnerships for the stewardship of the Santa Fe Trail. Four members of our Scenic Byway Organization attended the National Scenic Byway's conference in Colorado Springs 2004 and returned with tools for the successful direction of our Scenic Byway Corridor Management.


Our Web Site has grown from 50 pages in 2003, to 90-pages in 2004 and to 125 in 2005. contains interpretive information on:
• Byway communities
45 sites of interest with maps
Byway links to friends and family
Events page
Museums page
• Pages highlighting our significant cultural, historical, scenic, archaeology and paleontology, and recreational qualities
Maps Page
National Trail Auto Tour Route page of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
• Site translator
• Press kit
• Day trip and guided tour information
• Announcements for byway related workshops
Our web site received over 1,000 visitors a month since it's debut in May 2003. We consistently rank in the top ten on search engines. A modest but wonderful beginning to our interaction with potential byway visitors and those who are active stewards and promoters of commerce on the Santa Fe Trail.

A New Brochure of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch is being developed
• Interpretive information on our 45 sites of interest, with directions and phone numbers for each site
• A map of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway with site locations clearly marked
• Byway Chamber of Commerce contact numbers
• Interpretive information and a map of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Mountain Route National Auto Tour
• Photos depicting our distinctive cultural, scenic, historic, archaeological, natural and recreational qualities.

Two PBS Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Movies

An Interpretive CD of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway-Mountain Branch
" Listening For the Sound Of Wheels" A living History of the Mountain Branch.

Marketing Plan for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Mountain Branch
• This plan will be revised as our needs change.
2003 plan

2006 plan

Three Watchable wildlife signs were designed in 2004, one for Timpas and two for Picketwire Canyonlands, one at the trail head and another at the overlook.

Partnered with Trinidad Historical Society to put in a Bronze B-24 Memorial Plaque at mile marker 15 in memory of this disaster sixty years ago. A dinner the night before and dedication ceremony the following day for over fifty surviving family members was held at the A. R. Mitchell Art Museum. The bronze plaque is placed in memory of the two WWII B-24 bombers which crashed at mile marker 15 on Highway 350. This most moving ceremony consisted of a flyover at the exact time of the crash, a 21 gun salute, taps, a rendition of "Amazing Grace" on the Bag Pipes and Presidential Memorial Certificates were presented to surviving family members.

Living History Activities included:
Santa Fe Trail Days Activities in Trinidad included a new Byway Promotions Booth, with games, prizes and giveaways from Byway Stakeholders.
• We attended the Business to Business Expo in Trinidad with a promotions booth for the Mountain Branch.

Scenic Byway Management

• Conducted a Scenic Byway assessment in 2004 with Southeast Colorado Tourism Development which is assisting in the development of our Business Plan and will give us input for byway improvements, strengths and weaknesses.
• Established our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, filed these with the Colorado Secretary of State and received our EIN number.
• We began the process for non-profit status with the IRS and prepared our 1023 application and submitted.
• Current Mountain Branch Organizational Membership is twenty six.
• We held our first election for the replacement of our Secretary Treasurer.
• Began establishing Partnerships for Byway enhancement projects with Trinidad Historical Society, Colorado Historic Society, Trinidad History Museum and Comanche National Grassland.
• Began initial planning for the SFTA 2007 symposium and met with SFTA Board of Directors, Trinidad Chamber of Commerce, Trinidad Historical Society, Colorado Historical Society, Trinidad History Museum, and Bent's Fort Chapter of the SFTA.
• Introduced our Colorado Scenic Byway's Grassroots Training Program to assist in the education, management and training of volunteers who interact with the public at key locations within the Byway.

Trends and Opportunities

• The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch has an opportunity to join in the unification of the entire Santa Fe Trail. Multi state cooperation with Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, are planned as these are the states through which the Santa Fe Trail passes. We will seek opportunities for multi state projects, grants and assist in leveraging our resources throughout the Santa Fe Trail for improvements, increased notoriety and development of the heritage and promotional efforts of our tourism industry of Santa Fe Trail.
• The Santa Fe Trail Association has asked our Scenic Byway to co-host their 2007 Santa Fe Trail Symposium to be held in Trinidad. This opportunity will assist in our efforts to promote and partner in fellowship celebrate the Santa Fe Trail as one of America's best vacation destinations. Other partners in the project are SFTA & Bents Fort Chapter of SFTA, Trinidad Historical Society, Colorado Historic Society, Trinidad History Museum (a Colorado Historic Society Property), Trinidad Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce, Trinidad State Junior College, A R Mitchell Art Museum, Trinidad Tourism Board, the City of Trinidad, Las Animas County, CDOT whoever wants to pitch in with the Symposium planning as planning progresses.
• Internet travel planning is encouraged through our web site, Colorado Scenic Byway's Website and the National Scenic Byways Program to market our Byway with a virtual tour of our Byway. We will use our web site as an operational tool for public education and Byway issues. We will continue to work with our Byway stakeholders to disperse information and increase the popularity of the Santa Fe Trail.
• We are working with byway tourism promotion groups and Community leaders to create opportunities in agri-tourism for byway prosperity. Our goal is to bring visibility to the recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities in lesser known areas of the Santa Fe Trail - Mountain Branch. Currently you can tour it by rail, wagon train or the comfort of your own vehicle. An increase in heritage travel and wildlife watching is creating new opportunities for private ranches and citizens to take part in tourism with dude ranches and touring opportunities to see remote sites of attraction.

Objectives for 2006 and beyond

•Work with Colorado Department Of Transportation, the National Scenic Byway Organization, National Scenic Byway Foundation and countless byway stakeholders, both government and non government to bring recognition to the Santa Fe Trail and it's unique qualities through the use of our corridor management plan.
•Use the Colorado Scenic Byway's Grassroots Training Program to assist with corridor management amongst community leaders, public education and training of volunteers who interact with the public at key visitor locations within the Byway.
• Establish a support group and steering committee for the hiking and biking trail across Raton Pass. Establish funding sources and partnerships for project.
• Establish a planning document for the protection and preservation of our DAR markers and the wagon track sites along the byway. Many are going unnoticed and are in danger of damage from mowers. These remote sites need to be brought to the forefront of our heritage protection plans along our Byway.
• Create a business plan for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch for byway sustain ability beyond seed funds.
• Get our Auto Tour Radio Broadcasts updated and add traveler services to the broadcasts. Once this is done we can launch a visitors services announcement campaign to encourage visitation of our lesser known historic sites on the Byway.
• Establish funding sources and partnerships for Byway Visitors Center Enhancements at the Trinidad History Museum. Funding is being sought for a media center and office space in the Barglow building for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway and our sister Byway, Scenic Byway 12- Highway of Legends. Visitors center can be kept open year round with heat and the help of Byway volunteers and staff. The complex will be made handicap accessible. It is our goal that by 2007 we will have these improvements funded, completed and an office with volunteers at this location. Well on our way to an established self sustaining organization promoting visitation and commerce to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway.
• Establish funding sources and partnership for interpretive projects on Comanche National Grassland to promote as well as increase visitation to this lesser known valuable areas of the Byway. Picketwire Canyonlands contains the "Largest Dinosaur Tracksite in North America" & "Historic Rourke Ranch" are just a couple of the many treasures of this canyon land region. These unreplaceable and unique resources need to be carefully protected and monitored, while introducing them to our visitors as one of America's Greatest Treasures. We will work with others to achieve adequate stewardship of these resources and assist in their efforts to educate the public of their discovery.