Missouri River Outfitters Chapter


"This is an exciting moment. Every window sash is raised, and anxious faces appear watching with interest the departure...Accidents are very apt to occur on the occasion of a setting out."
-Matt Field, on leaving Independence in 1839



Anyone interested in the Santa Fe Trail is welcome to join the Missouri River Outfitters Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association.

• Dues are $10 per year for either a family or individual membership.

• Members receive the MRO Newsletter published quarterly and additional notices of chapter activities.

• Consistent with the recently adopted changes in SFTA bylaws, all MRO chapter members are strongly encouraged to join the national Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA). To download an SFTA application, click hereTo download the MRO membership form, click here.

Meets several times each year to conduct chapter business and plan meetings, field trips, projects, and other activities.

History of the Missouri River Outfitters Chapter

The Missouri River Outfitters Chapter originated in a trail ride organization formed in 1987, about the time that Congress designated the Santa Fe Trail as a National Historic Trail. At the time, the organization's intent was to promote the trail by way of members presenting programs to civic and school groups, and to provide a support system for members who planned to travel by horseback on any or all parts of the Santa Fe and related trails. In 1988, the group incorporated as a not-for-profit status through the state of Missouri, and chose the name Santa Fe Trail Riders-1988.

In February of 1991, Trail Riders member Jane Mallinson advertised through local publications that a meeting would be held at the National Frontier Trails Center for those interested in forming a local chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association. On February 21, 1991, 31 people gathered for the beginning of what became the Missouri River Outfitters. Of those in attendance, three were original members of the previous trail ride organization. Because the intent of the organizations was the same, those three agreed to participate in a name change and transfer over the not-for-profit incorporation status to the new SFTA chapter. The first president was Roger Slusher, elected April 18, 1991.

 Franklin Marker 

The chapter has provided books on the Santa Fe Trail to libraries (both public and academic), and helped research and fund the placement of markers to highlight trail exposure. The chapter has partnered with the National Frontier Trails Center (now the National Frontier Trails Museum) and with other local trail organizations on projects and presentations that educate the public on the Trails themselves and their historical impact upon the emerging American identity. We have sponsored programs on firearms, mules, wagons, individuals important to local and national trail history, foods and clothing of the trail period, mapping criteria, GPS site points, and many other subjects that help members keep abreast of trail events as they navigate their own journey through history.

Location and Directions

The Missouri River Outfitters (MRO) chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association has responsibility for the Trail in the Missouri counties of Howard, Saline, Lafayette and Jackson. Meetings are held at various places along the trail. The most regular location is the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri.

Points of Interest:   

MRO Facebook Page

A few of the many sites of interest along the Santa Fe Trail within the chapter area.
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Chapter Activities

The Missouri River Outfitters have worked actively with SFTA and the National Park Service to add new signage over the past couple of years along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. Over the past 2 years we have worked with the County Commissioners in Saline and Lafayette Counties in Missouri to install the local tour route signs along the county roads. Newly installed signs follow the Trail from Missouri Hwy 41 just north of Marshall, MO, west past the Weinreich Ruts and continue to follow the original Santa Fe Trail to just north of Malta Bend, MO. In Lafayette County, MO, signs were installed starting just west of Waverly, MO and follow the original route for 3.5 miles before returning to Missouri Hwy 24. Signs were placed in western Lafayette County from Missouri State Road 131 west to the Lafayette/Jackson County Line following over 7 miles of original trail.

In 2015 the MRO Chapter worked closely with the Trails Head Chapter of OCTA to install the local tour route signs from the Upper Independence/Wayne City Landing on the Missouri River southwest to New Santa Fe at the Missouri/Kansas State line. Along the route historic site signs were placed at the Archibald Rice Home and Cave Spring at the Barnes Enclosure in Raytown, and the Wieduwilt Swales at 95th and Manchester in South Kansas City.

A major project in our area was the completion of the Powder Mill Bridge which crosses I-435 at Bannister Road in South Kansas City, MO. This is the longest pedestrian bridge crossing a major interstate in the United States that is solely dedicated to the National Historic Trails.

As we move forward in the years to come MRO is dedicated to promoting the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through new signage, education programs, and improving public awareness of the importance of this historic trail.







The MRO Chapter is working with the National Park Service to place signage throughout their chapter area,
including this sign in Raytown, MO