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HISTORY

OKANGON VALLEY CHAPTER

BACK COUNTRY HORSEMEN OF WASHINGTON

We are currently located in Tonasket, Washington and draw our membership from the Canadian Border on the North to as far South as the Brewster/Pateros area. Over the years the Chapter has held their meetings in Okanogan and Omak and now in Tonasket.

In support of the mission, the Chapter actively partners with the U. S. Forest Service, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Okanogan County Department of Planning and Public Works, and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Association.

Although we do not consider ourselves to be a riding club, we do support monthly group rides into the trails and areas we help to maintain. We also offer learning opportunities for those interested in learning to pack, no host social activities and assorted holiday celebrations. We have many active members who participate in various ways to make the OVC a very healthy and productive Chapter.

Over the years the members have worked on many trails in the National Forest, WDFW, and DNR. Recent work includes the Loomis Forest, Sinlahekin trail system, Bannon Mountain, 4th of July Trailhead, Wilcox Trailhead, and the development of the lower Whistler Canyon Trail and Trailhead.

The Chapter was chartered in 1986 after Frank Oborne met with Ken Wilcox to discuss forming a Chapter in Okanogan County. The Okanogan Valley Chapter was then chartered as a regional affiliate of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington for the upper Okanogan Valley. Frank Oborne was voted in as the Chapter’s first President with Francis Gregory serving as Director.

The Okanogan Valley Chapter has approximately 70 members who annually volunteer around 3000 hours in support of the mission of the Chapter. Every year Chapter members log out over 100 miles of trail for the Forest Service, Washington Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife and Okanogan County. Over the years, the Chapter has constructed nearly 35 miles of brand new trail for equestrians and other trail users: the Cabin Trail that completes the trail route around Mt Bonaparte; the Wild Horse Springs trail route; the Whistler Canyon trail reroute; the Bannon Mountain Trail System; and the trail between Headquarters and Blue Lake in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area. We have constructed new trailheads at Fourth of July Ridge, Bannon Mountain, and Wilcox Driveway; repaired wildfire damage at the Cathedral Driveway trailhead; and placed large, rustic routed wooden maps and bulletin boards at numerous trailheads. The Chapter has constructed a new 30-foot long trail bridge in the Pasayten Wilderness that had been destroyed by the Tripod fire in 2007 and many turnpikes on U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources trails.

The mission of the Chapter was - and remains - to assist the various local public land management agencies keep the lands that they administer open to the use of recreational saddle and pack stock. Through the years this broad mission has evolved to include: Active participation in public policy issues and debates that impact equine use on public lands; Trail and trailhead maintenance and construction; Public and member education programs including Leave No Trace ethical use of back country and wilderness areas; Equine packing and camping, as well as safe chainsaw and crosscut saw use; and to Foster and encourage the social interaction of local equine owners through membership meetings, work parties, trail rides, camping and monthly social activities.




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