Students to drive the trail for the 2021 American Solar Challenge

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
Solar cars charging during the 2018 American Solar Challenge at Scotts Bluff National Monument.

As local historians continue to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail this year, other entities have put together events to mark the occasion as well.

According to the National Park Service, college students will be taking the 900-mile trail from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in solar-powered cars for the 2021 American Solar Challenge.

In partnership with the Innovators Educational Foundation and the Santa Fe Trail Association to hold this year’s event in commemoration of the Santa Fe Trail’s Bicentennial, the students will be designing, building and driving the solar-powered vehicles from August 3-7, and stopping at several sites along the route.

According to NPS, the route stops are as follows:

Independence, Missouri; Council Grove, Kansas; McPherson, Kansas; Dodge City, Kansas; Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, Colorado and Las Vegas, New Mexico.

For the last day, the cars will go to the plaza in  Santa Fe, New Mexico and back to Las Vegas, New Mexico for the finish.

"Each stop offers visitors an opportunity to see the solar cars, meet team members, and learn about the Santa Fe Trail with NPS rangers and Santa Fe Trail Association members," the National Park Service said in a news release.

The 2021 American Solar Challenge is free and open to the public.

For route, event and schedule information visit www.nps.gov/safe/getinvolved/american-solarchallenge-route-and-schedule.htm.

For event updates and content, visit www.facebook.com/SantaFeTrailNPS, www.instagram.com/nationaltrailsnps or YouTube www.youtube.com/NationalTrailsNPS.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com