Park Service Deems Butterfield Overland Trail Worthy Of National Designation

ARKANSAS (KFSM) — The National Park Service has determined that the Butterfield Overland Trail, which runs in part through Arkansas, meets the necessary requirements to become a national historic trail, U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R.-Ark., announced in a news release Tuesday.

The Butterfield Overland Trail carried the longest stagecoach operation in history, and a significant portion traveled through Arkansas. The park service determined the trail could be named a national historic trail after evaluating the significance, feasibility, suitability and desirability of designating its routes as such.

“The first overland transcontinental mail by stagecoach was carried on the Butterfield Trail. The trail played an important role in our nation’s westward expansion and certainly made major contributions to the development and settlement of Arkansas during its short time in existence. I am pleased to see the National Park Service agrees those contributions merit preservation for future generations,” Boozman said.

From 1858-1861, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company held a U.S. Mail contract to transport mail and passengers from St. Louis and Memphis to San Francisco. The trial, known then as the “ox-bow route,” was about 3,553 miles of trails through eight states: Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Four segments of the trail in Arkansas have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Congress must approve the trail’s designation as a national historic trail.