WHEN I WAS a child I sure loved fireworks.
Come July Fourth I never paid much attention to how much a barrage of loud, hissing pops, booms and bangs can cause our frightened animals to burst through fences, gates and doors in an effort to run away nor to how dangerous they could be to life and limb.
Now I know.
Just last year a massive Oregon wildfire started by a teen with fireworks burned more than 30,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge.
I worry about such a fire happening here, wondering if I’d be able to escape with my horses in a rapidly moving fire in a region with limited escape routes.
Thus, I was happy to hear from a Sequim neighbor that Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias has the topic on the agenda for discussion at a meeting at the courthouse Monday.
If the other commissioners agree, it will move forward to a work session at which the public could have some input.
I hope the other commissioners agree the county should look at controlling fireworks, especially because Port Angeles and Sequim have outlawed them.
Thankfully, most of the trees in the Olympic National Park and Forest fall due to weather-related causes, such as strong winds and rains, and not fire.
When those downed trees block access to our riding and hiking trails it could take a year or longer — if at all — before the park and Forest Service crews are able to clear the fallen limbs and debris off the trail so it is passable again.
That’s when volunteer groups such as Back Country Horsemen of Washington have become a valuable aid in helping to clear and maintain the trails that everyone can use.
Chain saws play an important role in clearing trails.
To use one in national parks and forests permission and certification are required.
The BCHWA offers a chain saw and crosscut saw training and certification program approved by the park system.
Its primary purpose is to provide for the safety of those who operate the saws.
Last weekend, the Mount Olympus Chapter of BCHWA hosted a saw certification class at the Littleton Horse Camp.
Chapter Secretary Sherry Baysinger said it was held because the members needed to be re-certified, along with some who wanted to become certified for the first time.
Others in attendance were volunteers for the Olympic National Park who needed certification, including Ernie Vale, a commercial llama packer in ONP.
For those who don’t know, the Littleton Horse Camp was built a few years back by a dedicated hardworking and fun-loving bunch of local Back Country Horsemen members who wanted a place to camp together after riding their horses up and around the 13-mile loop trail on Mount Muller.
At the top it has outstanding views of the Sol Duc Valley, Lake Crescent and the Olympic Mountain Ranges.
From the trailhead you can explore more than 25 miles of trail from two different trail systems, including Mount Muller, Snider Ridge and Olympic Discovery trails.
Winter storms left much of the lower trail impassible.
Thanks to the work of the new Mount Olympus chapter members the Mount Muller lower trail is now clear for stock up to the Rock House.
To get to the trailhead from Port Angeles travel west on U.S. Highway 101 to mile post 216.
Turn right on Forest Road 3071 (at the Mount Muller-Littleton Loop sign). Proceed 0.3 mile to the trailhead parking area. The horse camp is past the first parking area.
• Share the Trail — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Hosted by BCHW Mount Olympus Chapter, Share the Trail will include informational booths set up by Olympic National Park, Department of Natural Resources, Olympic Discovery Trail, Clallam Conservation District, Sound Bikes and Kayaks and more.
The event will also include hands-on mule packing demonstrations as well as presentations and information on Leave No Trace ethics to practice while hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping.
There will be activities geared toward children of all ages as well, including craft stations, pony and horse rides and Leave No Trace activities and prizes.
Admission is free.
The event will be held at the Upper Elwha Community Center west of Port Angeles at 90 Old State Road. Travel south on Herrick Road, about a mile west of the Elwha bridge on Highway 101, and follow the signs to the community center.
Mt. Olympus Chapter BCHW will serve hot dogs and chili.
• BCHW Peninsula Chapter annual Salt Creek Spaghetti Ride — 9 a.m. rideout Saturday from Salt Creek County Park in Joyce.
The Peninsula Chapter has also been busy updating the Miller Peninsula Trails with signage.
For more information, contact Linda Morin at [email protected] or 360-775-5060.
• Mount Olympus Trail Encounter Clinic at Spirit Horse Ranch — 10 a.m. May 5.
Call Dave Seibel at 360-640-9472 for more information.
• Patterned Speed Horse game shows — 10 a.m. May 5; 9 a.m. May 6; 10 a.m. June 9; 9 a.m. June 10, at the Crosby arena, 122 Fransom Road, Agnew.
Contact Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906 or [email protected]
For more information, go to www.patternedspeed horse.com/Calendar.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.