KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Peninsula volunteers’ work keeps trails usable

DO YOU GET it?

Do you get our trails are a valuable commodity to our local economy?

Do you understand without the help of local volunteer organizations, our trails would soon be overgrown, rendered unusable to all of us because of fallen trees, branches and debris blocking the paths?

Back Country Horsemen is at the core of those groups.

Members like Sequim’s Tom Mix use their pack animals to carry saws, picks, shovels and other supplies throughout the backcountry trail system — tools they then use to clear, shore up trails and build solid bridges for everyone’s use.

Occasionally, I’ll hear of a hiker complaining when they see a bit of road apples or horse manure on a trail.

Their ignorance and selfish attitude anger me.

Don’t they realize the horse is helping to keep the trail clear of growing brush?

I remind them that horses eat grass and perhaps a few carrots, so manure is simply recycled grass.

It’s not gross, brown poop that comes from meat eaters. But I digress.

45,000 hours of work

Since 1992, BCH Peninsula chapter volunteers have put in 45,194 hours.

In 2010, chapter hours totaled 3,226.

Want a free Olympic National Park pass?

To qualify, simply donate at least 24 hours in assistance to parklands.

It should be said that BCH members are not required to work; the majority just enjoy riding the trails.

And that is fine because their membership money goes a long way toward helping keep trails open to horses and riders.

On March 26, a joint chapter ride with Buckhorn Range had about 20 riders — this in spite of inclement weather — for the three-hour trail.

I’m told the potluck afterward was enjoyable as the sun came out.

In March, Peninsula chapter BCH members worked with the Gray Wolf Trail Crew and Olympic Discovery Trail volunteers to construct a 65-foot-long footbridge over Elk Creek in a 255-acre North Olympic Land Trust/Wild Salmon Center nature preserve, one mile east of Forks.

For their hard work on this and the 2010 Little River project, awards were presented at the March meeting to:

■ Rod Farley: “Grub Hoe Pro/Sill Engineer.”

■ Randy Washburn: “Log Peeler and Chef-for-a-Day.”

■ Don Stoneman: “Tread Maker/Path Builder.”

■ Del Sag: “Bridge Bull Buck and Yarder Operations.”

■ Bill and Lavonne Mueller: “Muck Masters.”

■ Mix: “Leader of the Pack.”

Thanks for going above and beyond in lending extra assistance in parklands in 2010 to Larry Baysinger, Sandra Coen, Janice Harsh, Bob Kavanaugh, Linda Mosley and Jennifer Reandeau.

Notes/events

■ Chimacum Creek Farm’s Paula Stingle encourages everyone to join the farm’s Spirited News mailing list. Their goal is to reach 500 people.

■ On Sunday, the annual Easter egg hunt at Freedom Farms, 493 Spring Road, Port Angeles. Mini Beats activities are family outings at Freedom Farm that give the very young a safe and fun experience while being around horses. With their parents’ help, staff members lead riders around the farm and play games on horseback.

The number of times each rider hunts for eggs is not limited, so if you have an avid egg hunter, please bring replacement eggs.

Phone Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897. This activity is a benefit for Peninsula Friends of Animals.

■ 6 p.m. Monday — BCH Peninsula chapter meeting at Clallam County Courthouse, lower level. For more information, www.pbchw.org.

■ Saturday, April 30 — Salt Creek Spaghetti Ride. Trails go from easy to intermediate to advanced with steep areas. Horseshoes are recommended.

To get there, take U.S. Highway 101 west, then turn onto state Highway 112 at the junction and go 7.2 miles. Turn north (right) on Camp Hayden and continue for 3.5 miles, then turn right into the Camp Grounds entrance. Parking is on east side, south of the kitchen.

Bring your favorite spaghetti sauce with or without meat and a favorite side dish.

Phone Janice Harsh at 360-928-2158 or Linda Mosley at 360-928-3715.

■ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 7 — JEA Barn Dance featuring Joe Crecca and the Homewreckers, plus silent auction, at Chimacum Grange, 9572 Rhody Dr. Pre-order tickets at www.jeffersonequestrian.org.

■ 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14 — Play Day and Tack/Farm/Garden rummage sale hosted by Buckhorn Range at Chimacum Saddlery, 1091 Chimacum Road, Port Hadlock. In conjunction with a Horse Games play day sponsored by Chimacum Creek Farms.

Let Judith Hoyle know if you have any tack or other items to contribute. If you have some tack of your own you’d like to sell, tables are available for $10.

Phone Hoyle at 360-732-5042 or email jkhoyle@embarqmail.com.

■ 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 14 — Discovery Pony Club is hosting a tack sale at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St.

To register for a seller’s booth (10-foot-by-10-foot is $20) or to reserve a spot to sell your horse trailer, phone Matilda Henry at 360-683-1180. For donation pickup, phone 360-683-5304.

■ May 14-15 — Jefferson County’s 4-H Horse Project’s biannual Equine Dental Clinic with Dr. Richard Vetter, Performance Equine Dentistry, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Spectators welcome to watch and learn.

To schedule your horse, email Betty Mysak at mysak@cablespeed.com.

■ Freedom Farms Summer Camps, 493 Spring Road, Port Angeles.

Camp 1, June 27-July 1, ages 5 and older.

Camp 2, July 4-8, ages 7 and older.

Camp 3, Hoof Beats Club Introductory, July 11- 25, ages 7 and older.

Phone Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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