BARSTOW A local Old Spanish Trail Association chapter is a reality as the 11th one in existence has officially started in Barstow, according to inaugural President Tim Baggerly.


The chapter formed Friday, made up of volunteers who help to preserve the trail and educate the public about it.


The trail, a successful 19th century trade route connecting New Mexico and California, runs through Barstow.


Becoming official allows the chapter to tie into relationships with federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and state and local parks, said Dennis Ditmanson, the Old Spanish Trail Association manager.


Those relationships could also hold funding implications, Ditmanson explained.


This past weekend, Old Spanish Trail Association representatives from outside Barstow the association is active in six western states including Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado came to the Mojave River Valley Museum to meet with local chapter members and federal agency partners for their spring national board meeting.


Reba Grandrud, president of the Old Spanish Trail Association, said she was pleased a chapter now existed in the area.


"Having (a chapter) here is really important," she said, "to be right on the trail."


The Barstow chapter consists of 36 members. There are approximately 450 members of the association nationally, Ditmanson said.


Aside from 10 national chapters, the Old Spanish Trail Association boasts a chapter in London as well.


The Barstow chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association will next meet Saturday at the Mojave River Valley Museum. Members of the public are invited to join.


For more information, contact Tim Baggerly at 760-954-7488 or baggerlyt@aol.com, or call Pat Schoffstall at 760-256-0006.


Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.