In the Year of COVID Nothing is Sure – Back Country Horsemen of Washington Continue to Plan and Work

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The last several months have heavily impacted BCHW. Rendezvous, the Great Gravel Pack-In, State Wide Work Party and Board of Director meetings were all canceled. So were all spring and early summer chapter fundraising events. Luckily, we had a very well attended leadership training for all the BCHW officers in January, followed by an equally popular legislative day in Olympia in February. In June a few land managers gave BCHW trail crews the go-ahead to work on trails.

By the time you read this in August, we all hope to be back out riding, working, camping and enjoying the trails we love and the new ones we want to explore. But as a reminder, plan ahead and get trail information to find out what roads and trails have been cleared.

BCHW has lots of work we hope to accomplish this year, depending on land manager approval. BCHW received a couple of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants through the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), which are helping several chapters get work done this summer and fall until the rain and snow stops us. Here’s what two state chapters have planned:


Peninsula Chapter

Olympic National Park: accomplish trail maintenance on the first few miles of several eastside trails which will free up the park’s crews to work further in; provide pack stock support to Washington Trail Association’s (WTA) Backcountry Response Teams and Backcountry Volunteer Vacations.

Olympic National Forest: provide trail maintenance, work the Lower Big Quilcene River trail reroute, and provide pack stock support to WTA crews.

Department of Natural Resources: accomplish trail maintenance, negotiate stock rig parking on the front country Dungeness Trails system, construct miles of new trails on Miller Peninsula and Freshwater Bay land holdings, and provide trailside sanitation units at selected sites.

North Olympic Land Trust: regain overgrown trails on Siebert Creek and replace a failed bridge on Elk Creek sites.

Washington State Parks: accomplish corridor trimming on over 22 miles of overgrown trails on Miller Peninsula land, participate in the process to define park development plan for Miller Peninsula, install trail intersection signage.

County: accomplish trail maintenance on county trails including the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) and Olympic Adventure Trail and provide trailside sanitation units on the ODT.

Additionally, the Peninsula Chapter plans to certify more volunteer sawyers on both chain and crosscut saws and to continue to build collaborations of trail maintenance volunteers and trail users in order to keep trails open for all to enjoy. For more information on the Peninsula Chapter visit


The Northeast Chapter

The Northeast Chapter will be working on both US Forest Service and county lands in the Pend Oreille area of the state, north of Spokane. In late June they were finally able to start their long-planned two-year project in the Colville National Forest. They will not only be clearing trails but have been working with the USFS staff about the possibility of improving an existing camping area at Calispell Basin to enhance accommodations for horse camping. Work should progress on that later in the summer. In addition, they are planning several work parties at Gypsy Meadows and Silver Creek later in the summer to maintain trails in those areas.

Members will also be doing trail maintenance and further improvements to the horse staging area at Pend Oreille County Park, which they built last summer. A gigantic picnic table has been constructed and will be installed at the horse staging area this summer. The table was built using lumber milled from logs in the area that were cleared to enlarge the trailer parking area. To find out more about the Northeast Chapter and to hopefully get involved with their projects visit


Come join us! For more information visit

Back Country Horsemen of Washington is a 501c3 organization with 32 chapters across the state. They are dedicated to keeping trails open for all users; educating stock users in Leave-No-Trace practices; and providing volunteer service to resource agencies.

Keep up with BCHW on the official state Facebook page

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Winery Ride & Costume Contest Prize Ride – October 31st, 2020 – Zillah, WA

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Article by Lori Lennox.


Published in the August 2020 Issue:

August 2020

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