KSL Outdoors: Backcountry Horseman of Utah

Welcome to KSL Outdoors and welcome to Central Utah, I’m Adam Eakle. We have a really fun show for you tonight, interesting you might say. Something I’ve never done, we are headed out with the Backcountry Horsemen of Utah. We are going all over Central Utah 80-90 miles and look who already found a pony, yeah that’s right Tonya Kieffer. How are you doing girl? Cowgirl. (tonya) I’m having a blast. (adam) you look good on that horse. (tonya) I know right. I’m ready to go for you know the next few days, so I’m ready lets go. (adam) alright saddle up, we are going to have a heck of a ride.

(Walt) “Jake, Jessie, come around.”

(Walt LeFevre, Monroe Teamster) “This is the 40th anniversary of the Back Country Horsemen of America.”

(Kim Peterson, Pres. Central Utah BCHA) “and it’s also the 20th anniversary of the Back Country Horsemen of Utah. It could be called a dual celebration.”

It’s a scene right out of the old West. Cowboys, horses and teams of mules getting hitched up to a wagon. For a ride over the rugged backcountry of Utah.

Backcountry Horsemen of America is a non-profit, national organization dedicated to preserving the right of using horses in the backcountry. The Utah chapters teamed up with Western Wagons to put together this nine day, one hundred mile, horse and wagon trek to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Backcountry Horsemen of America.

(Jeff Nichols, Organized trek) “We try to cover between 10-12 miles per day. That’s about what the wagons can do comfortably and then the outriders can go anywhere they want, have a great time. And we all end up at camp at the end of the day.”

(Kim Peterson, President Central Utah BCHA) “Our main objective is to help keep the trails open for public use, not only for horsemen but for hikers, bikers. It’s getting harder for the government agencies to keep the trails open with budget cuts.”

(Joel Murphy, Pleasant Grove member of BCHU) “In the last 20 years alone we have donated over three million hours of volunteer trail work to the Forest Service which equates to ninety seven million dollars in savings to the tax payer. So it’s substantial and a lot of people don’t even know about us.”

Over the nine day trek, volunteers donated over a hundred hours bagging up noxious weeds, and taking down old corrals and fencing. It was their way to make this ride meaningful.

(Allen Rowley, Forest Supervisor; Manti-LaSal National Forest) “In some cases, the club, the BCHA has more technical skill of packing saddle stock than some agency people, so tremendous help in service work.”

Allen is the Forest Supervisor in the area, but also an avid horseman. He says the organization helps keep the importance of equestrian use on public lands fresh in the minds of public land managers.

(Allen Rowley) “Here’s a group that can educate them. Here’s what it means, experience. Here’s the kind of trails we are looking for. and it is a use that is compatible with almost all others.”

“One of the things that I admire about this organization. Is they represent all spectrums of political interests on public land management.”

“It’s probably the one place you can go to hear the complete range of opinions on something we want to do on National Forest system lands. It’s just a pleasure being around these folks.

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