BCHA Ex­pands its Reach

Trail Rider - - HOT ON THE TRAIL -

Mem­ber­ship in the Back Coun­try Horse­men of Amer­ica now to­tals more than 13,300 mem­bers na­tion­wide, with chap­ters in 27 states. In 2013 alone, those mem­bers con­trib­uted 368,000 vol­un­teer hours val­ued at $14 mil­lion aimed di­rectly at keep­ing trails open for horses and other users. More than 30,247 miles of trails were main­tained.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion has wel­comed sev­eral new state or­ga­ni­za­tions that carry ben­e­fits to eques­tri­ans across the coun­try.

The Back Coun­try Horse­men of Kansas is now a State Or­ga­ni­za­tion, giv­ing the BCHA a state pres­ence from coast-to-coast for the first time in his­tory. Eques­tri­ans in the Sun­flower State ride across plains, prairies, hills, and forests on a va­ri­ety of pub­lic lands.

In the south­west cor­ner of Kansas, the Ci­mar­ron Na­tional Grass­lands en­com­pass 108,175 acres, the largest area of pub­lic land in the state. Th­ese plains showcase rock cliffs, cot­ton­wood groves, yucca, and sage, along with na­tive grasses and ri­par­ian veg­e­ta­tion along the Ci­mar­ron River.

Eisen­hower State Park, lo­cated 30 miles south of Topeka, in­cludes 1,785 acres of tall grass prairie and wood­land in ad­di­tion to the 6,930-acre Melvern Lake. Horse trails of­fer a va­ri­ety of ter­rain and scenic lake views.

Arkansas Back Coun­try Horse­men, pre­vi­ously an Af­fil­i­ate Or­ga­ni­za­tion, was also re­cently ac­cepted as a State Or­ga­ni­za­tion. Eques­tri­ans in Arkansas en­joy miles of trails that me­an­der through the state’s wild land­scapes.

The state’s 6,911-acre Vil­lage Creek State Park in­cludes Crow­ley’s Ridge, a land­form of rolling hills in east­ern Arkansas’ Mis­sis­sippi Al­lu­vial Plain, which of­fers unique ge­ol­ogy and to­pog­ra­phy, and un­usual plant com­mu­ni­ties. Rid­ers also en­joy 75 miles of trails along the Buf­falo Na­tional River.

The BCHA also wel­comes Florida For­ever Back Coun­try Horse­men, pre­vi­ously an Af­fil­i­ate Or­ga­ni­za­tion, as a new State Or­ga­ni­za­tion. More than 30 mem­bers logged a to­tal of more than 300 vol­un­teer hours clear­ing 10 miles of the With­la­coochee State Trail for eques­trian use near the town of Noble­ton. They also per­formed trail main­te­nance on the Bear Head Ham­mock Horse Trail in the Two Mile Prairie Tract, part of With­la­coochee State For­est.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the BCHA, call (888) 893-5161; or go to www.back­coun­try horse.com.

— Sarah Wynne Jack­son

For the first time in his­tory, the Back Coun­try Horse­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion has a state pres­ence from coast-to-coast. Shown is Cal­i­for­nia’s Zmu­dowski State Beach, near Mon­terey.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF ZMU­DOWSKI STATE BEACH

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