The California Trail: Conserving the Lands, Sharing the History and Developing Recreation

July 16, 2024; 10 a.m. (Mountain)

This webinar presents the latest updates on AIANTA’s partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, and the combined effort to support cultural tourism development around the California National Historic Trail in Nevada. Learn about the ongoing poster contest, recreational opportunities along the Trail, conservation and eco-cultural tourism, Native perspectives on the Trail’s history, representation at the California Trail Center, and Travel Nevada’s support for tribal tourism. Join us to discover how we’re reshaping the narrative of Nevada Native people along this historic route. The many partnerships involved in this program include the National Park Service Dark Skies Program, Leave No Trace, Oregon California Trails Association, Nevada’s Indian Territory, Oregon California Trail Association and the California Trail Heritage Alliance, Nevada Arts Council, Patagonia, Travel Nevada, and the Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority. Register now to secure your spot!



Ben Rupert (Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute and Washoe) – Nevada’s Indian Territory
Ben is of Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute and Washoe descent. Ben is part of the Nevada’s Indian Territory leadership team, a marketing arm of the Nevada Commission on Tourism. He has been the lead on Nevada’s Indian Territory destination development of the Great Basin tribal communities. He is a Native dancer and traditional artist. His passion is to share his Native culture through cultural presentations, dancing, fishing, hunting, traditional art, and being a steward of the Great Basin culture. He recently retired from the City of Reno Fire Department, after 33 years, in the fire service. Ben is married and has three sons and three grand-children. Ben graduated from Oregon State University and recently received a Masters in Sustainable Tourism from Arizona State University. He also served in the U.S. Army as an Airborne/Infantryman.

Leah Brady (Elko Western Shoshone) – Great Basin Native Basketweavers Association
Leah Brady was born August 1955 in Elko and graduated from Owyhee High School in 1973. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, earning her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in education in 1977. For 23 years she taught in Fallon and Schurz. Wanting to continue the tradition of basketweaving, Leah learned from elders Elaine Christensen, Sylvia Dick and Minnie Dick and specialized in Western Shoshone twined baskets and cradleboards. Leah became a Master Weaver for the Nevada Folk Arts Program and teaches at workshops around the country and at Great Basin Native Basketweavers Association gatherings. She was also invited to the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival in 2006. Leah co-authored “Celebrating Nevada Indians,” a teaching curriculum distributed to elementary schools around the state. Today, Leah continues to demonstrate traditional basketry, foods, and arts and crafts, and travels to promote the Great Basin Native Basketweavers Association. Leah often demonstrates at the California Trails Visitor Center in Elko.

Carin L. Farley – Directorate of NLCS and Community Partnerships – Division of National Conservation Lands
Carin served for more than twenty-one years as a Visitor and Resource Protection Ranger with the National Park Service. Some of her duty stations include Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, Sitka National Historic Park and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska and several parks in the Southwest. Much of that time was spent in the field working on trails and wilderness issues. Prior to becoming the BLM National Scenic and Historic Trails lead, she served as the Senior Visitor and Resource Protection Ranger for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. She understands the complexities of the National Trails System, as well as the extraordinary opportunity that exists to connect all people to public lands through trails and the diverse stories/perspectives they hold. Carin has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management with a minor in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University. She’s a single mom to her nine-year-old daughter, together they celebrate life through their love of adventure.​

Nicole Orsua – Chief Industry Development Officer – Nevada Division of Tourism (Travel Nevada)
Nicole Orsua is the Chief Industry Development Officer for Travel Nevada. The team has three primary pillars: to support the development of tourism destinations in rural Nevada, to support existing tourism businesses in rural Nevada, and to sell rural Nevada to both domestic and international audiences through travel and trade market development. Her career has spanned both the private and public sectors, having worked for hotels, tourism attractions, tour guide companies, and local governments. These roles have taken place in urban, regional, and rural locations, in both the United States and Australia; giving her a global point of view on prospective problems and the unique challenges in global tourism. She has a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management, which she completed at Monash University in 2020, during which she learned the potential positive (and negative) impacts tourism can have on the local community, economy, and environment. Her research interests include sustainable tourism development, female entrepreneurship, and Indigenous tourism which culminated in a qualitative study of indigenous female bungalow hosts in Vanuatu. A chapter based on her thesis research is now featured in the Routledge Handbook on Tourism and Small Island States in the Pacific, published in December 2022.​

Moderator: Bruce Rettig – Partner Program Coordinator – AIANTA 
Bruce Rettig is an award-winning author, charged with scoping out exciting tribal tourism opportunities throughout the United States. He earned a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado, and his published works and biography can be found at Rettig earned a Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism offered by AIANTA in partnership with the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies, and he also provides marketing and web management support for the organization. Rettig has served as president and creative director for Charter Advertising/Design, Inc. for more than thirty-two years, providing copy writing, photography, and graphic design services. He has worked with the Duck Valley Shoshone Paiute Tribe, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Ely Shoshone Tribe, Washoe Tribe of California & Nevada, Stewart Indian School, the Nevada Indian Commission and Nevada’s Indian Territory.