Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 BCHW State Wide Work Party -- Final Report

The 2016 BCHW State Wide Work Party (SWWP) is over, but the trails will show the effects of the work party for years to come.
MVBCH Trail Boss Bill Ford and wife Jan compiled a complete account of the pre-SWWP conditions of the trails, the work done during the SWWP, the outcomes of the work party, and the MVBCH continuing work on the trails in 2016. This account was submitted to the Forest Service and we would like to share it with our readers. Please click on this link to open and read the report. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

The 2016 State Wide Work Party (SWWP): Working the Trails

Can you find the trail?
Projects on eight trails in the Twisp River drainage were undertaken during the SWWP. These had mostly been selected on the basis of scouting and preliminary work carried out by MVBCH members in May and June, especially by the certified sawyers mentioned in last month’s newsletter "Horse Tales". These selections were firmed up during several visits by Jason Ridlon in June, and efforts were made to clear the way to the work sites so that the time taken to reach them was reduced as much as possible. (Part of this had been done earlier when MVBCH members cleared trails to the wilderness boundary using chain saws in order to facilitate the passage of Washington State Trails (WTA) crews to the wilderness for their clearing work in mid-June using cross cuts and hand saws.) 

With the exception of the Twisp River Trail #440, the trails worked on were predominately in the wilderness where chainsaws and other mechanized tools could not be used.
Conditions on all these trails hindered their use especially by stock and many were completely blocked, even to hikers. 

The 2016 BCHW State Wide Work Party Begins: Getting the Camp Ready for Workers to Arrive

As usual we held our annual clean-up of the Horse Camp just before July 4th.  This time, however, we were also setting up the camp for the State Wide Work Party (SWWP), due to start a few days after the clean-up.
Fortunately we had a good turnout of members (22) and we got it done!

Bringing out the kitchen
First we had to get the chapter’s two trailers (Kitchen and Equipment) maneuvered into convenient positions in the general use area at the center of the Camp Ground.  This was accomplished, with many directions, and some removal of obstacles. Three canopies were taken out of the equipment trailer and erected, one over the large picnic table and the others nearby as shelter for food preparation and serving.  This would be the general gathering area.
A truck named "Orange"

Mike McHugh brought a truck (named Orange) with a tank for dispersing water to individual campsites, and he was working out how best to do this task. A few members loaned drinking troughs to be spread around the site.

We unloaded three tons of weed-free hay brought in to feed stock during the SWWP.

Unloading 3 tons of weed-free hay for stock

On the day prior to the clean-up Richard Erickson had organized the siting of six porta-potties to augment the vault bathroom on site.  Two wash stations were sited near the eating area. We were beginning to look as if we expected people to arrive!
In the meantime the routine annual tasks were underway...
Fallen trees and branches in campsites were cut up by one of the three chain sawyers, and moved out of the way by swampers. 
(L-R) Betty Wagoner and Ann Port armed with "gunk"

Wooden troughs were painted with (?gunk?) to deter chewing by equines.

High lines were tested and adjusted and the area beneath raked.

Kiosk is almost ready for the SWWP!
While all this was going on, Larry Zimmerlund, with able help from three others (and anyone else who was around at the right time), was raising the new kiosk/notice board. He and four helpers had built this from steel and brought it to the camp site to replace the old wooden structure which had succumbed to old age (and vehicle damage?).

We left in late afternoon with the Twisp River Horse Camp in good shape to receive an influx of volunteers.  Only Ann Port remained to stay the night as ‘care taker’.

2016 Loup Loup Campout

We had a sizeable group joining us at our annual Loup Loup--"North Summit"--future horse camp on July 27-29. Everyone not only had some great rides but, the food was good too! In particular, we again enjoyed the famous "egg in a bag" specialty for our camp breakfasts. What a treat!
Setting up for the camp breakfast
Camp cooks Carol Hebert and Carla Lange (L-R)

  Thanks very much to Nancy Palagruti for sharing her FB post!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"BBQ Flats" -- Washington's Newest Horse Camp!

On the weekend of May 21st Cathy Upper and Betty Wagoner traveled to Wenas Valley for the BCHW dedication of the new BBQ Flats Horse Camp. 
Cathy and Betty found that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did an excellent job in developing and providing public access for the camp. The Pierce County chapter, as well as other BCHW chapter volunteers, put in countless hours to complete the project. This horse camp showcases what the DNR, the State legislature, and our BCHW volunteers can do when working together. The camp is mult-use, and Cathy and Betty had 3 great rides while they were there.
Cathy on a ride near the BBQ Flats Horse Camp

2016 Patterson Mountain/Moccasin Lake Ranch Ride

On May 19th there were 14 riders who rode up the Patterson Mountain. It was a chilly day on top (actually, it was plum cold!), so riders headed north to make a loop back to their rigs and had lunch! 
The scenery is gorgeous on this ride, but the "sunflowers" and Lupine were already finished blooming. Visiting this beautiful and private area is by permission only, so a very special thank you to Moccasin Lake Ranch for letting us make our annual "Patterson Mountain" ride.

2016 Boulder Creek Ride

May 13th was a beautiful day for riding up the old "wagon trail" to Ramsey Creek Road, then turning south and west for about 1 1/2 miles on the way to the overlook. The view of the Methow Valley below and the Cascade Mountains in the distance was spectacular!
(L-R) Kay MacCready, Mary Pat Bauman, Cathy Upper, Betty Wagoner, Julie Johnson. (DK Williams took the photo while Jackie Iddings helped us pose!)
This year being a "wet" year, riders had a small stream of water running down parts of the trail, but it was certainly passable. Thanks to Cathy Upper and DK Williams for cutting out the trail before our ride, which can also be done as a "loop" as it circles back to the Ramsey Creek Road.

Beaver Creek Campground Fence Project

On April 16, 2016--prior to the annual MVBCH Spring Ride--the Methow Valley chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington partnered with the Washington State Fish & Wildlife Service to build a pole fence. The fence was constructed along Beaver Creek to prevent horses, mules, and campers from damaging the creek bed and disrupting fish habitat. The project was done in exchange for Permit Fees necessary to use the campground for the chapter's annual Spring Ride.
Twelve MVBCH members volunteered on April 16th and five members volunteered during a second work party on April 23rd, resulting in 75 volunteer work hours to complete the project. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

2016 Spring Ride--Another Great Year!

What a spectacular scenery ride was held this year! The Balsamic Root (wild sunflowers) were a blanket of yellow, weather held calm and sunny, and a good turnout of riders and their horses made this year’s Spring Ride memorable once again.