BCHA Expands its Reach
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