As the Ozark Trail approached its 25th anniversary, trail enthusiasts began discussing ways to push the original 1977 trail concept to completion (History of the OT). As they looked at other successful trail systems around the country, they realized the Ozark Trail was missing something the others shared-- a strong volunteer organization. In March of 2002, they made a pitch to the trail's coordinating group, the Ozark Trail Council—why don't we look into creating our own volunteer non-profit organization?
The council agreed. That summer, John Donjoian & the late John Roth researched the issue. They surveyed other trail systems, solicited volunteer groups for advice, posted to message groups and emailed interested parties. On October 26th, they made their pitch to the Council—volunteer groups are a key to a trail's success, and we want to start one for the Ozark Trail. The Ozark Trail Council unanimously backed the idea.
On November 13th, 2002 the Ozark Trail Association took its first baby steps. 27 people met to lay the groundwork of a new volunteer non-profit, and agreed that: the mission of the Ozark Trail Association is to develop, maintain, preserve, promote and protect the rugged, natural beauty of the Ozark Trail.
We're a growing group today, powered by volunteers. We have completed 45 miles of trail and we've had great achievements including creating of the Adopt-A-Trail program for maintenance, launching Mega Events for great weekend trail builds and camaraderie, and most of all: we have created a community of friends dedicated to the Ozark Trail. One measure of our impact: a portion of the OT was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2008. Another way to tell how it's going: since its founding, the OTA has brought over 6000 people into the woods for more nearly 53,000 volunteer hours.
We've got a lot of work ahead to continue to make this organization a success. The OTA needs your input, your help and your patience. You are invited to join the Ozark Trail Association as a member: simply sign-up online or fill out a membership application and send it to the address on the form. You'll receive a new member's packet, an Association patch, plus subscriptions to our quarterly newsletter (link) and annual magazine, The Connector. Most of all, you'll receive the satisfaction of helping the Ozark Trail continue as one of the gems of the Ozarks.
The OTA is a unique source for anything Ozark Trail: we offer downloadable maps with GPS coordinates, a online trip planner, information about trail events and news, and lots of photos that show our beautiful state of Missouri and her Ozarks for the natural wonders they are. Our website is a great way to get to know the OT and learn how you can get out and get involved. Work Hard. Play Hard. Experience the Ozark Trail with us.
We have several points of contact within the Ozark Trail Association to help you with membership, volunteer opportunities, general Association information and the like. We're generally a wired bunch, so we've include our emails.
Executive Director - Matt Atnip
Office / Administration
- Abi Jackson
406 W High St
Potosi MO 63664
Membership - Adam and Rebecca Rothermich
Adopt-A-Trail - Renee Wrest
Trail Construction & Maintenance - TBA
Trail Development and Expansion - Steve Coates
Volunteer Coordinator - Jeff Goetter
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