BCHW Membership Valuable to Washington Equestrians
Like most Backcountry Horsemen Chapters, the members of The Buckhorn Range Chapter are the backbone of the organization. Without BCHW, trail projects would not get coordinated or accomplished. If you are looking for information about where to ride or trail conditions, become a member! Members work hard and play hard. This article focuses on how being a member in BCHW benefits horse owners throughout the region.
Based out of Chimacum, Washington on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, The Buckhorn Range Chapter has members of various ages up to 82 years old. Many have owned horses their entire life, but others did not get their first horse until late in life. Their horse background and experience ranges from none to former ranchers, dairy managers, the racing industry, horse shows, rodeos, therapeutic riding, lessons, and training. Their occupations are just as varied: research scientist, public school teachers, elected officials, farrier, self-employed, nursing, and ranch managers. Many live in Jefferson county but that is not a prerequisite.
Why do Backcountry Horsemen own horses? Your first thought might be to pack tools and supplies into the wilderness, or go on scouting and hunting expeditions. Actually, there are very few packers in BCHW. They share this skill with training at various times. If you want to learn to pack, you might consider joining a local chapter.
Some members obtained their horses for a family member and got “horse fever”; others got into horses for therapy. One member got interested in owning horses after a work-related accident and found horses to be therapeutic and beneficial to his recovery. Some dreamed of being a cowboy, rancher, or horse owner one day and made it a reality.
Each chapter’s members give their home chapter a unique identity and character. This allows the organization to work with local agencies that share the common goals of BCHW: multiple use trails, users of public lands, and good stewards (using Leave No Trace principles.) Buckhorn Range Chapter partners with Jefferson Equestrian Association, Washington Trails Association, Peninsula Trails Coalition and Pacific Northwest Trail Association by paying dues and attending meetings and/or work parties. Individual members may also belong and/or volunteer their time to other community organizations such as 4-H, Camp Beausite NW, Salish Therapeutic riding, and fun runs on the Larry Scott Memorial Trail or volunteer on local advisory boards.
Buckhorn members like to ride, and each month they host a chapter ride in the area. These rides include Anderson Lake State Park, Coyle Peninsula (Olympic Resource Management Property), and Cappy Trails (Jefferson County Parks).
Members also participate in the state-organized Legislative Day to help folks understand the local legislative process and current legislation that affects your ability to own, ride and enjoy your equine companion. Individuals can make appointments to visit their legislators and comment on pending legislation.
Locally, members attend public meetings concerning riding areas or local county regulations concerning owning animals and livestock. BCHW also informs members about federal legislation, such as the grizzly bear restoration, wolf legislation, and weed-free hay.
Chapter members benefit from the statewide organization. There are several state fundraisers—two rides and one the annual Rendezvous. Eight Buckhorn Chapter members helped with the Joe Watt Canyon Prize Ride, along with other chapters across the state. Members have participated in the annual Rendezvous since the chapter’s inception. This is a fun and educational event. There are seminars, vendors, informational booths, lots of cool BCHW stuff from the BCHW Store, dinner, live entertainment and members can compete in competitions that showcase their skills like speed packing, cross-cut saw, and Dutch oven cooking.
What’s your reason for not joining this organization? Becoming a member is just a click on your computer to www.bchw.org. Locate a local chapter, find out about rides, legislation, and much more. Hope to see you on the trail or at one of the events. If you still need a reason, ponder what one of our legislators repeated at the Hood Canal Coordinating Council meeting and luncheon: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
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.