Lucas Cosponsors Legislation to Designate Chisholm, Western Trails as National Historic TrailsFri, 16 Apr 2021 12:39:42 CDT
Yesterday, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Representative Ron Estes (KS-04) in introducing legislation to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Chisholm National Historic Trail and the Western National Historic Trail.
“As our country expanded westward, the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail became critical lifelines for the people of the Great Plains. Cattle ranchers across Western Oklahoma have always played an integral part throughout Oklahoma’s history, establishing a number of local economies across the Plains through trade and transportation,” said Congressman Lucas. “Designating these trails as historic trails will not only preserve the significance of these trails in Oklahoma and across the Great Plains, but it will also allow us to continue to educate future generations of Americans and provide countless economic opportunities across Oklahoma.”
The Chisholm Trail was a series of trails that led ranchers from Texas to Kansas, crossing the Red River though current-day Oklahoma. The trail acquired its name from Jesse Chisholm, a Scotch/Cherokee trader and government interpreter, who established a trading post in what is now western Oklahoma City on a wagon road between trading posts in Wichita, Kansas and the Red River.
According to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, more than 1.5 million head of Longhorn cattle were driven up the Chisholm Trail to Abilene from 1867 to 1871. The trail crossed the Red River south of Duncan, Oklahoma, led north through Indian Territory to Wichita, Kansas, and on to the railway in Abilene. It is estimated that more than 5 million Texas cattle were driven north to markets from 1866 to 1884, the majority over the Chisholm Trail.
"When we think about advances that moved our country forward, the Chisholm and Western Trails are two of those elements that helped shape the midwestern economy – with millions of cattle traveling through the Great Plains," said Rep. Estes. "Farmers and ranchers from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska have always been a critical part of this country, and the cowboy culture that was evident on the Chisholm and Western Trails are at the very heart of who we are as Americans – hard-working, rugged and independent. Designating these trails is more than just noting paths through the Great Plains, but showcasing the historical significance of the people who traveled the more than 1,300 miles through multiple states, and their way of life."
Lucas cosponsored similar legislation- the Chisholm National Historic and Western National Historic Trail Designation Act- in the 116th Congress.
Reps. Estes and Lucas are joined by Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04), Jake LaTurner (KS-02), and Tracey Mann (KS-01).
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