Is Membership for You?
By Ken Carmichael
If you ask a half-dozen Back Country Horsemen (BCH) members why they belong to this organization, you will receive a half-dozen different answers. This is because BCH offers a wide variety of opportunities to its members.
I could tell you why I joined BCH in 1988 but this may not resonate with you and align with your goals and priorities. However, I can tell you what BCH offers to its many members.
First, BCH is working for you in many ways to keep trails open. We do this in three primary ways: education, advocacy, and moving dirt (doing trail maintenance and construction work). And I should add that we have lots of fun doing it.
BCH is a national and state organization, but it’s centered around its local chapters. This provides opportunities for social interaction with rides, social events, fellowship and networking. Many people join BCH to meet other riders with similar interests and to learn more about the trails in the area. Trailering to another area or state? Contact a fellow BCH member in that area for information.
I mentioned education. Most chapters have monthly meetings with guest speakers or topics for discussion. Many also offer seminars with speakers on such subjects as trail etiquette, safety, horse care, human and equestrian first aid, trails in the area, meeting wildlife on the trail, Leave No Trace practices, packing, etc. Our members and speakers have a wide variety of experience to share.
Because BCH is organized locally by chapters, statewide (Back Country Horsemen of Washington) and nationally (Back Country Horsemen of America), we are recognized at all levels of land management and government as representing equestrians. We document our volunteer hours which speaks volumes when talking to decision makers. Being a BCH member gives you access to information about, and input into, decisions affecting equestrians.
And last but not least we move dirt. Our members enjoy working on trails and trailheads to make them suitable for equestrians. This can vary from a small chapter event to a statewide work party, all of which improve our riding experience. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction when riding a trail that you had a part in creating or maintaining, especially when you meet another person on the trail.
As you can see there are many reasons for being a BCH member and I only touched on the highlights.
So why should you want to become a BCH member? My answer is because we are working for you and we have lots of fun while doing it. You can enjoy the benefits of membership and become part of the solution to keep trails open. Numbers do count when we are dealing with land managers and elected officials.
I encourage you to contact a BCH chapter near you, join BCH, have some fun and make a difference. More information and how to join can be found at www.bchw.org. We appreciate your support and welcome your membership. For info about the national level visit www.bcha.org Please see the list below for upcoming educational, advocacy and social activities that BCH of Washington has planned.
Back Country Horsemen of Washington is dedicated to keeping trails open for all users, educating stock users in Leave-No-Trace practices, and providing volunteer service to resource agencies. To learn more about BCHW go to www.bchw.org Keep up with BCHW and issues and events we are following on our state Facebook page www.facebook.com/public.bchw/
Upcoming BCHW Activities and Events
Most of the 32 BCHW Chapters have fun rides other events scheduled throughout the year. Go to www.BCHW.org and click on Upcoming Activities and scroll down for the list.
Upcoming 2019 Board of Directors Meetings—Kittitas Valley Event Center in Ellensburg, WA. All members are welcome to sit in: March at Rendezvous (date TBD), June 15, September 14, December 7th.
- 2019 Rendezvous and General Meeting—March 15-17 at the Kittitas Valley Event Center, Ellensburg, WA.
- Leadership Training – January 26 – Kittitas Valley Event Center – Ellensburg, WA.
- Legislative Day – February 25 – Washington State Capitol – Olympia, WA.