preservationRoll Along, Wagon Train

“Gotta keep ’em on the run. Time to go! And follow the sun. Roll along, Wagon Train.” Ward Bond played the wagonmaster on the 1957 show Wagon Train, but his modern-day successor is just as dashing, passengers tell us. Ben Kern, of Casper, Wyoming, keeps the wagons rolling by leading trips along the Oregon-California, Overland, Mormon, Bozeman and Cherokee Trails.

Since 1965, Kern has showed wagoners how to blaze these trails like their 19th-century forebears had. But his seasoned hands are looking for his own John McIntire to take up the reins. Kern is not sure how much longer he’ll be able to do it, and he’s hoping someone younger will come along who wants to keep the history going. For more information about Ben Kern Wagon Trains, call 307-234-9437.

Building a Preservation Institute in East Texas

Western singer Michael Martin Murphey (“Geronimo’s Cadillac”) has chosen Linden, Texas, as the site for the Murphey Western Institute. Active since 1995, Murphey’s organization aims to preserve the cultural and historical legacy of the American West, and the research center should help organize projects such as helping the forest service maintain the 500-mile Colorado Trail. Why did he pick Linden? “I know the Murpheys were involved in settling east Texas, so the location is nearby to where they lived in 1858,” he told the Texarkana Gazette. The planned location for the institute is a 48-acre site between Music City and the Cass County Championship Rodeo Arena on Texas Highway 8. The Murphey Foundation and grants sought by the city of Linden will fund the Institute. To find out how you can help, contact the city of Linden at 903-756-7774.

Conservation Internships

You too can bask in the glory of a sunrise among Ancestral Puebloan ruins like 22-year-old Tami Lau, an environmental science graduate of  the University of California at Berkeley. Students like Lau have an opportunity to explore career options in conservation by interning at sites throughout the West via the New Hampshire-based Student Conservation Association. Lau chose the Hovenweep National Monument on the Utah/Colorado border. Duties can range from interpreting sites for visitors to creating inventories of local artifacts. Internships are available at more than 600 sites across the nation, and the group pays a weekly stipend to the intern while the National Park Service provides the housing. To apply for a 16-week internship, visit or call 603-543-1700.

National Trust Honors New Mexico Site

The oldest continuously inhabited community in North America has become the 28th National Trust Historic Site. Acoma Sky City, 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, dates back to 1150 AD and offers adobe homes and plazas, and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1960 and a Save America’s Treasures site in 1999, allowing for the restoration of the San Esteban del Rey Mission Church (1640). The Pueblo of Acoma tribal community partners up with the National Trust to aid in preserving the site. National Trust members may visit Acoma Sky City free of charge and will be invited to special events. To become a National Trust member, visit or call 800-944-6847. To contact Acoma, visit or call 505-552-7860.

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