Trail Work Brings New Friends, Beautiful Country, and Satisfaction
From Jason Ridlon, BCHW State Special Project Coordinator/VP
I would like to share three incredible work events I was involved in. BCHW held its annual State Wide Work Party (SWWP) in Southeast Washington. Forty-plus miles of trails were cleared and repaired, and trailheads were refurbished by members. And great friendships were built too!
The first spot was in the Umatilla National Forest, which is largely designated wilderness. The trails are abundant with wildlife and there are views like no other, with miles of trails that offer loop rides — rides like the Turkey Creek Trail and the Mount Misery Trail that takes you to the Oregon Butte Lookout. The lookout is still in operation today. As one would expect, the views from this location are incredible.
The second place I worked was the Pasayten Wilderness. This area was once recognized as a premier back country stock area with miles of trails to ride. But the Pasayten has been hit hard by forest fires over the past 15 years and has suffered horribly. There are dead trees and damaged trail structures blocking trails.
BCHW has done lots of work over the last couple of years, working with other user groups to get that trail system user-friendly again. With the help of the Washington Trails Association (WTA), Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA), Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the US Forest Service (USFS) and area commercial outfitters, we are getting miles of trails back open and safe for all riders. There is so much to see in this area. Put it on your bucket list!
Number three was a visit to the Green River Horse camp in the Mount St. Helens Monument. Again, I want to share the incredible work done by BCHW, the Trans-Cascadia Mountain bike organization, WTA and the Boy Scouts. A large puncheon was built, and miles of trails were cleared.
If you want to spend a few days riding trails with views of old growth timber like no other I have ever seen or if a 40-year-post volcano landscape is your interest, visit and ride the Green River Horse Camp. This area will keep you busy in the saddle for days exploring the area trails.
From Jim Anderson, Director, Mount Saint Helens Chapter BCHW
The trails out of Kalama Horse Camp were in need of some serious care. The Mount St. Helens chapter didn’t have enough people to get the work done so we decided to take a page from the State Wide Work Party and invite anyone who cared for the area to help us.
The work party was held May 22 to 25. We invited the Washington Trail Riders Association, the Washington Trails Association, and any BCHW members who cared to help us out. We put 30 to 40 volunteers on the trail each day for four days. We had a new bridge on the 7.5-mile Fossil Trail, so we decided to concentrate on getting it revitalized from end to end.
We had a kitchen that cooked hardy dinners each evening for the volunteers. I need to thank the Forest Service for their help and for letting us reserve most of the Kalama camp for this event. The event went so well we have decided to hold another one in 2020 from June 18 to 21.
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
Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW), is a 501 (c) (3) organization with 32 chapters across the state dedicated to: keeping trails open for all users; educating horse users in Leave-No-Trace practices; and providing volunteer service to resource agencies.