Board of Directors and Officers

Dick Waugh – President
Dick Waugh was born and raised in the Oroville, CA area. He served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer. He returned to Oroville and, after attending college, became a police officer with the Oroville Police Dept. He served with the Oroville Police Dept., Butte County Sheriff’s office and finished his career as the Chief of Police in Williams, CA. He retired in 2006. He currently works part time as a Butte County District Attorney Investigator.




Mark Wilson – Vice President

Vice President Mark’s trail interest developed in the mid 1990’s when he purchased a book about John C. Fremont. He was hooked. After retiring from academic life, teaching forest ecology, he started a history tour business and that was when he became involved in OCTA. One of the projects he is now coordinating is the California Trails Auto Route Sign Project. Having spent most of his professional career in education he looks forward to working with the OCTA membership in our education efforts.





Phyllis Smith – Treasurer         

    Kathy Koester – Secretary


                                             Steve Shaw – Board Member








Steve  Knight – Board Member






Howdy Hoover -Board Member


Howdy and his wife Katrina have been members of OCTA since 2010. They live in Sacramento and have four children and four grandchildren. Howdy graduated from Sacramento High School and CSUS with a Construction Engineering Management degree. He worked for the Division of Highways (Cal Trans), El Dorado Irrigation District, a private engineering contractor, and the County of Sacramento in a construction management capacity.

He retired in 2000 and is currently a docent at Sutter’s Fort. His main duties there are maintaining and interpreting their 1840s era covered wagon. He also participates, in costume, in their Living History programs and teaches classes to parents and teachers of fourth grade students involved in the Environmental Living Program.

Other living history events held annually that he participates in are: “Trail Days” at the California Trail Museum in Elko, NV, “Diggins” at Columbia State Park, and “The River Trip” at Red Bluff and Colusa.

He is one of Frank Tortorich’s Wedge Warriors helping each year with trail maintenance and sign installation on the Carson Trail. Howdy attends OCTA chapter symposiums and is currently helping with the planning of the 2015 OCTA convention.


Ken Johnston – Board Member

Ken is a retired educator and has been actively involved with California Historic Trails since 1974, when he was hired by Lassen National Park to develop a living history program to interpret the development of the Lassen and Nobles Trails, which are closely associated with the National Park. In 2012, he published a book titled Legendary Truths, Peter Lassen and His Gold Rush Trail in Fact and Fable.

He has been active in attending California-Nevada Chapter of OCTA Board meetings, national OCTA conventions, and trail tours and outings. He also attends Trails West meetings and outings to map and preserve the trails.


John Winner – Past President

John has been a member of OCTA since 1995 attending all of the National Conventions since 1996. His career spanned 36 years in property valuation, serving the last 10 years, prior to his retirement in 2002, as the Elected County Assessor of El Dorado County, California. Additionally, he taught fundamental and advanced real estate appraisal at the Junior College level for 20 years. John has had the privilege of studying western history for over 50 years visiting many of the mining camps in California, Nevada and Utah. Currently he is working with an OCTA team mapping the Johnson’s Cutoff emigrant trail in California and Nevada. For therapy, he and his wife Susan own and operate a small choose and cut Christmas Tree Farm in Placerville, California.


Trail Talk Editorial Board:
Dave Hollecker – Editor
Phyllis Smith – Assistant Editor
Jo Johnston – Proofing