BCHA Expands its Reach to Benefit Equestrians Across the US

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Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA), the organization that works hard to protect our right to ride horses on public lands, is bigger than ever.

BCHA membership 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.

BCHA has recently welcomed several new state organizations that carry their benefits to equestrians across the country, and even re-designed their popular website.

BCHA in "The Natural State"

Arkansas Back Country Horsemen, previously an affiliate organization, has met the requirements and was recently accepted as a BCHA state organization. Equestrians in Arkansas enjoy many miles of trails that meander through the state’s wild landscapes.

The 6,911-acre Village Creek State Park is its second largest state park and includes Crowley’s Ridge, a landform of rolling hills in eastern Arkansas' Mississippi Alluvial Plain with unique geology, topography, and unusual plant communities. Riders also return frequently to the 75 photogenic miles of trails along the running rapids and quiet pools of the Buffalo National River, which passes decades-old farmsteads and other historic structures.

BCHA from Coast to Coast

For the first time in history, Back Country Horsemen of America now has a state presence from the Pacific to the Atlantic since Back Country Horsemen of Kansas became a state organization. Equestrians in the Sunflower State ride across the plains, prairies, hills, and forests in 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 wide open 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.

BCHA in the East

Although BCHA was founded in the west, its vision has steadily spreading across the country. BCHA is pleased to welcome Florida Forever Back Country Horsemen (FFBCH), previously an affiliate organization, as a new state organization. FFBCH has always had the characteristic “get it done” attitude of all Back Country Horsemen.

Over 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. Previously, this stretch of trail was badly overgrown and nearly impassable. They also worked with a number of other equestrian groups to perform trail maintenance on the Bear Head Hammock Horse Trail in the Two Mile Prairie Tract, part of Withlacoochee State Forest.

Stay Informed

BCHA recently unveiled a new website at www.backcountryhorse.com. This is your one-stop spot to keep up with BCHA’s many projects, learn more about responsible equestrian recreation, and find out how you can get involved with protecting our right to ride horses on public lands. You’ll find its updated brand, front and center on the home page. Its virtual storefront makes it easy to purchase books, bumper stickers, CDs, patches, and more while supporting a cause you stand behind.

Get Involved!

To learn more about BCHA, go to www.backcountryhorse.com to find a chapter near you, or contact BCHA to start one in your area. Every new member makes a difference in their efforts to preserve this historical use of public lands.

About Back Country Horsemen of America

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes regarding the use of horses and stock in wilderness and public lands.

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