Category Archives: August Posts

BCHA Supports New Bill in Congress for Stewardship of Trails in National Forests

June 8, 2014
Jim McGarvey, Chairman Back Country Horsemen of America

On June 18, 2014, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN). The bill, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 4886), would go a long way toward addressing the trail maintenance backlog on our national forests.

BCHA strongly supports HR 4886. See our press release here. Go here for a copy of the bill text.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Lummis and Walz at the request of BCHA and our partner, The Wilderness Society, one year after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its June 2013 report regarding the Forest Service trail maintenance backlog. If enacted as currently written, HR 4886 would: • Direct the U.S. Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails; • Provide outfitters and guides the ability to pay permit fees in trail maintenance activities instead of dollars; • Address the liability issue that hampers volunteer and partner trail maintenance activity in some national forests; and • Prioritize specific areas for trail maintenance within national forests.

Take Action! Please call or write your member of Congress in the House of Representatives to express your support for HR 4886. As a result of widespread bipartisan interest, the bill could sail through the House of Representatives if no controversial provisions or requests for new appropriations are added.

Go to this website to find contact information for your member of Congress. In your own words, tell your representative that you support HR 4866, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. Tell them of your passion for, and commitment to, keeping national forest trails open and enjoyed by horsemen and others. Lastly, please ask them to consider co-sponsoring HR 4886.

If you are a resident of Wyoming or Minnesota, please include in your message a heartfelt “Thank You!” to Reps. Lummis and Walz, respectively, for introducing HR 4886 on our behalf.

Feel free to share copies of your letters with BCHA’s Advisor for Public Lands & Recreation, including any response you receive from your member of Congress.

We are very excited to have this bill introduced in Congress. Our campaign has taken over two years to get to this point. Consequently, we believe BCHA is well-positioned–along with its partners–to continue to explore and promote lasting solutions to the trail maintenance crisis on our National Forests.

Thank you! And please send letters today to you congressional representative in support of HR 4886.

Eagle Scout installs horse rest-area on Collie Ridge Trail

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., July 9, 2014 – Thanks to Eagle Scout Michael Kern, Mammoth Cave National Park has a new horse trailside rest-area along Collie Ridge Trail, deep in the park’s backcountry. Kern planned and constructed 10 hitching posts to earn his Eagle Scout designation.bighollowtrail


“Each year, more than 10,000 visitors enjoy the park by horseback,” said Lizzie Watts, Acting Superintendent. “Now, many of them will use this spot to rest during their ride. Kern did an excellent job in determining the work to be done and organizing volunteers from his troop. The site is adjacent to the trail, convenient for riders, and will wear well. We truly appreciate his work.”Kern is presently a member of Troop #710 from Bowling Green, Kentucky, and started out as a Tiger Cub in 2004. Twelve scouts and six adults contributed a total of 184 hours to the project. The project consisted of clearing the site of downed trees, stumps and brush; digging holes; cutting and drilling the hitching posts; and setting the posts in concrete in the ground. The entire area, about 240 square feet, was then covered with geo-fabric and hardened with eight tons of gravel – moved with shovels and wheelbarrows.

With funding from a National Park Foundation Active Trails Grant, the park purchased supplies for Kern’s project. “The National Park Foundation has been a great friend and supporter of Mammoth Cave in the past,” added Watts. “This grant has helped us promote healthy outdoor recreation and proper use and care of our trails so they will be in good condition for years to come.”

“I chose to install hitching posts as my Eagle Scout project based on my previous volunteer work at Mammoth Cave, where I saw the damage that horses can cause if they are tied to trees,” said Kern. “The park provided some rest stops for horses, but I could see that more were needed. This project gave me a chance to directly help the environment and the backcountry horsemen. I knew it would stand for quite some time as a testament to what scouts and the National Park Service can create together.”


We have decided on the dates for the Chain Saw class that Charlie Rowe (DBNF) has agreed to teach. This will be held at Kathleen Caudill’s farm on August 27-28, 2014. The Caudill farm is located at 4428 Spencer Pike, Mt. Sterling, KY. I do not yet have the times but that will be forthcoming.


Please see note below for information about equipment needed for chain sawing. You also MUST have your first aid/CPR card to take the class so please get that accomplished as soon as you can.

Also in addition to the specific chaps you have to have a proper hard hat ( with mask, ear muffs) and chainsaw gloves. These are also available at a good price on the same web site. The tool trailer has 3 sets of proper gear One-Small, one Medium, and one size large. These can be borrowed if needed and if I have plenty of notice. (a week at least).


An additional chainsaw certification class is being scheduled at MAMMOTH CAVE NP during the first week in September. All BCH-ers welcome to attend. Please contact MCBCH President Brenda Cecil ( or 270-766-9337) for more details including the specific dates, times and locations.

For more information, contact Edith Conyers at or 859-221-6874.

Back Country Horsemen of America Helps Girl Scouts Earn Merit Badges by Sarah Wynne Jackson

Back Country Horsemen of America protects our right to ride horses on public lands through a wide range of projects across the nation. Some of their favorites include passing on their hard-earned equestrian and wilderness skills to others, especially young people. BCH folks understand that our children will continue our quest to keep trails open for horse use while practicing responsible recreation.

Assisting Youth and the Back Country, at the Same Time. The Mesa Verde Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Colorado, based in Cortez, performs trail work to help maintain some of the trails in the San Juan National Forest and on BLM lands. They often work with other groups, such as the San Juan Mountain Association, in preserving the public’s access to these wild lands.

Along with other members of the Mesa Verde Chapter, Latifia “Tif” Rodriguez, a MVBCH Director and State Representative, established a program for teaching their local Girl Scout Troop 1192, based in Dolores, about responsible recreation while giving them an opportunity to earn their Camping Badges.

Learning and Doing. The program began with a trip to the local Public Lands Office, where the girls studied maps of the region and learned the importance of knowing about the area in which we live. Chapter member Kathe Hayes is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and spoke about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics and passed out LNT reference cards. Bill Vicary, Head of the MVBCH Trails Committee, taught the troop how to tie a variety of knots useful for packing and camping. The Girl Scouts also learned how to build a safe mound fire and cook in the back country using lightweight packing stoves.

Finally, they put those lessons to good use on an overnight campout at Transfer Campground in the San Juan National Forest. They pitched their own tents and cooked one-pot meals over a campfire they had built themselves. The next morning, the troop hiked the Big Al intbosal, hackamoreerpretive trail, picking up trash. Following Leave No Trace principles along the way, they made sure the campfire was completely extinguished and left their campsite cleaner than they found it. Despite some rain, thunder, and a terrific lightning show, the Girl Scouts enjoyed themselves, even with a 24-hour no electronics blackout period. The girls earned their Junior Camping Badges, along with four other patches for Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, Knot Tying, Cooking, and Campfire Safety.

Taking the Initiative. Inspired by her mother, Tif’s daughter Madison created a project of her own to earn her Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn. She and two other Girl Scouts volunteered 20 hours each at various public multi-use areas, trails, and dis­persed campsites in the Four Corners vicinity. They hauled out 250 pounds of trash, recycled the metal and glass, and made sure the trash made it to the landfill. During the project they also mentored a younger Daisy Girl Scout. Keeping a Good Thing Going. The Mesa Verde Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Colorado has plans to expand this very successful program. Their next step is to help older Cadette Girl Scouts earn the more advanced Trailblazing Badge, which requires them to learn adequate outdoor skills to safely stay at least one night at a backwoods or primitive site. MVBCH has purchased a variety of equipment for each participant, including maps from the local Public Lands Office and the San Juan Mountains Associ­ation, mess kits, survival whistles, and compass­es. Some of the girls would not otherwise have the opportunity to own these items.

Making a Difference. A grant from the Back Country Horsemen of America Education Foundation made this project possible. This nonprofit 501 (c)(3) corporation provides financial support for qualified programs that meet the BCHA Education Foundation’s specific objectives and purposes: to promote education programs that benefit the horse and other stock users, and to promote cooperative interaction with other user groups regarding safety, care, and the protection of our back country resource. Although a number of grants go to youth programs, the Education Foundation supports of a wide array of public interests.While educating girls about responsible recreation and instilling in them a love and respect for America’s wild places, the Mesa Verde Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Colorado also cleaned up Narraguinnep Reservoir State Wildlife Area, Scotch Creek Trail, and a number of dispersed campsites in the town of Dolores, on the San Juan National For­est.

KyBCH to be Included in October Kentucky Living Articles about Trails

The October issue of Kentucky Living will feature a “Where to Ride in Kentucky” article, and President Ginny Grulke received a call from them to verify KyBCH information. KyBCH will be listed as a source for information, with a brief description of our purpose, website address, and contact information. This is great promotion for KyBCH, so be on the look-out for the October issue.