Country Horsemen of America
Local and National Organizations
Sarah Wynne Jackson
you ride your horse down a well-groomed trail with level footing, no low
branches, sturdy bridges, and safe water crossings, do you stop to think what it
took to make that happen? Ask any Back Country Horsemen of America member and
they’ll tell you: long hours of hard work, lots of sweat, and personal funds
spent on fuel and supplies.
trails for horse use is far from glamorous, but without it, where will we ride?
It may seem like a thankless job, but Back Country Horsemen of America are happy
to do it and organizations large and small see the difference BCH folks are
Doing What They Do
Back Country Horsemen believe in the value of volunteerism, so it’s no wonder
that many of their accolades center around trail work. On a rainy day in
September, seven members of Hoosier Back Country Horsemen of Indiana volunteered
their time and equipment to repair storm damage at Youngs Creek Horse Camp in
winds had hit the camp, blowing down large trees which damaged the water trough,
fence, and highline posts. The folks from Hoosier BCH cleared debris, repaired
the fence, and installed new highline posts. They used a tractor to remove
fallen trees and large branches. They also performed general maintenance, such
as trimming tall grass in the fenced area.
Myers, Outdoor Recreation Planner of Region 9,
, Tell City Ranger District, recently recognized Hoosier Back Country Horsemen
on the US Forest Service’s “Success Stories” web page for their assistance
in cleaning up Youngs Creek Horse Camp.
wrote, “The Hoosier Back Country Horsemen are
a great partner and very willing to volunteer for trailhead and trail projects.
They even agreed to help on another trail gravelling project on the German Ridge
Trail in November. The
recreation staff is very appreciative of the Hoosier Back Country Horsemen's
hard work and willingness to enhance recreation opportunities for equestrians on
Country Horsemen across the country go out of their way to nurture good
relationships with public land managers. Back Country Horsemen of Middle and
South Georgia have a strong working relationship with the folks at
. They volunteer throughout the year on various projects, such as trail work
days, special events, securing grants, and hosting and assisting with several
a result, the equestrian facility is now more user friendly with higher
visitation rates, generates more revenue, and has receive positive feedback from
guests. Andre Mclendon, Park Manager at
, recently sent a letter of thanks to Back Country Horsemen of Middle and
ended his letter with this sentiment, “Words cannot express how much we
appreciate your support. Every day we take one step closer to achieving our
goal. It is to be the best equestrian facility that our
system has to offer. With your support I am confident that we can attain our
goal. Thank you so much for your contributions. All of our accomplishments from
this past year are proof that we can make a difference.”
recreation is a major tenet of Back Country Horsemen of America and has been a
focus of Back Country Horsemen of Washington since their formation in 1976.
BCHW’s current Leave No Trace educational program has been in existence for 15
years, and is funded mostly from grants through the US Department of
Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program.
The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional
trail-related organizations, gives seven achievement awards each year to
recognize outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds. In 2010, BCHW's
Leave No Trace Educational Program received the award in the category
of Environment and Wildlife Compatibility.
entire BCHW Leave No Trace program is run by volunteers dedicated to teaching
others responsible recreation. This national award is a great honor for all BCHW
members who work and support this educational program with their time and
effort. Back Country Horsemen of Washington members also made donations to cover
the travel expenses of three BCHW officers to accept the award in person in
Country Horsemen of America believes in sharing trails amiably with other users,
and BCH Eagle Creek of Kentucky exemplifies that ideal with their outstanding
cooperation with the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association. The two organizations
recently worked together on a clean up work day on a county-owned reservoir
multi-use trail system.
Lockard, President of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Mountain Bike
Association, sent BCH Eagle Creek a warm letter of appreciation. He wrote in
part, “I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for extending an
invitation out to the KY Mountain Bike Association to participate in the trail
day sponsored by the Back Country Horsemen of Eagle Creek. You and your
group were great to work with. The local mountain biker community found it
rewarding to work with the equestrians on trail improvements at the county
also pointed out the benefits of different trail user groups working together
toward a common goal, something well understood by Back Country Horsemen of
America. Interactions between user groups helps foster understanding and
positive relationships, as well as respect and value for each other’s right to
a quality trail experience.
Back Country Horsemen of
clear that public land managers, other trail users, and national organizations
recognize the huge difference Back Country Horsemen are making. Responsible
recreation and protecting our right to ride isn’t just a philosophy; it’s a
responsibility that requires action in a variety of forms. Back Country Horsemen
of America is proud to live up to that and get the job done.
is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at
large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes regarding the
use of horses and stock in the wilderness and public lands.
you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member,
visit their website: www.backcountryhorse.com;
call 888-893-5161; or write
PO Box 1367
. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!
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