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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:06 pm 
In 2016, Back County Horsemen, Gila Chapter members have cleared trails both inside and outside of wilderness including about 17 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. This year's season started in February. Members have put in about 1,100 accident free volunteer hours cutting or removing over 500 trees from trails and contributing over 160 days of stock use. This work passed the 100 mile goal for trails maintained or logged out. Trails cleared included many popular trails adjacent to Silver City like the Little Cherry Creek Trail, parts of the Continental Divide trail, the Railroad Canyon Trail and the Tadpole Ridge Trail. Some trails, like the Tadpole Ridge Trail, are still difficult because of brush and narrow trail tread, but all trails worked on were at least passable when completed

Gerry Engel, service project coordinator said that “One of the highlights of this year’s season was a six day pack trip 17 miles back into the Woodland Park/Prior Cabin part of the Gila Wilderness. During this trip, 8 members of the group cleared almost 70 trees from 15 miles of trail using only axes and crosscut saws. Trees cut with a crosscut saw included the trophy tree of the season that was about 34 inches in diameter. This was a beautiful late spring trip with many wild flowers blooming. We had great weather, incredible food prepared by Mickey Lemon and Cheryl Roth, fantastic scenery and the amazing solitude of the Gila Wilderness. There were many interesting tales told in the evenings around the campfire. Some of the stories were probably even true.

We came out from this trip on Memorial Day weekend. It was satisfying to see all of the people parked at the trail-heads near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument knowing that those people were experiencing a higher level of enjoyment during their hikes and horseback rides because of the 35 miles of trails we had cleared around that area earlier in the spring.”

The Gila Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen is one of seven Back Country Horsemen chapters in New Mexico. Nationally, Back Country Horsemen of America has chapters in 31 states. The purpose of the Back Country Horsemen of America is:
1.To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness.
2.To work to ensure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.
3.To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.
4.To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.

5.To foster and encourage the formation of new state Back Country Horsemen's organizations
In assisting with trail maintenance, Back Country Horsemen improve trail recreational opportunities for not only horsemen, but for hikers, bikers and others that use public land trails. For more information on the Back Country Horsemen, you may check out their website at https://www.bcha.org/.

The Gila Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen will be participating in their annual holiday party this coming Sunday, and several Forest Service employees will be attending to present a poster of accomplishment along with certificates of appreciation. Nationally, Back Country Horsemen contribute more than $12 million annually in volunteer time to keep trails open on public lands. There is a huge trail maintenance backlog on public lands. Locally, as a result of recent fires and floods, trail travel on the Forest is becoming more and more difficult. Many individuals and groups volunteer to help keep trails open. These volunteers are becoming more important as time goes on.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila

###
Marta Call
575.388.8211
martaicall@fs.fed.us


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