Join us for viewing the film, produced by chapter member Wren Winfield, of Bernice Ende’s epic story about riding 30,000 miles across our country. In Lady Long Rider, Bernice shares the miles of insight she gained on the horseback ride that ultimately became a journey of self-discovery. Question/Answer session with Wren to follow.
7PM, Tri-Area Community Center
Important meeting to discuss suggestions for 2022 meetings and work parties, by-laws changes, and chapter officer nominations.
LeBar Horse Camp and Skokomish trail updates. Please come and be part of the decision-making. Since we’re indoors, mask up.
Come and enjoy all that LeBar Horse Camp has to offer along with other members of our chapter.
Whether this is your first time (kind assistance offered) or one of many times camping with your equine partner, you’re sure to enjoy this weekend full of camaraderie and riding. More information and directions available.
Please RSVP so we have an idea if we need to organize meals, riding etc. We also plan to do some camp improvements as well as trail maintenance to extend access to the upper portion of the trail.
Hope to see you there! Kris
I would like to thank all those that made the LeBar work party successful and fun. It was one of those planned events that could either have worked or not worked. We had 44 yards of gravel being delivered to a locked gated campground in the mountains (LeBar) so it could have been a true disaster if everything didn’t happen like clockwork. For example, the USFS staff needed to make it to the campground just ahead of us to unlock the gate, which did in fact happen. It was a welcomed sight for USFS staff Jai and James to be at the gates Friday morning ahead of Juelie and I with the gravel truck (first load) following us.
Between Friday and Saturday, we filled the camp up with volunteers. Most all the gravel was spread (except about 5 yards piled saved for later) with Nancy Scott on her Kubota. We had a plan to replace 6 highline cables. In fact, Larry (and crew Kris and Pat) replaced 8. The campground was completely brushed and all sites were spruced up. Campground trails were opened up and graveled. Picnic tables were repaired.
A few volunteers came with horses for the purpose of scouting the trail and identifying blocking logs. This was done along with some additional help from local riders. Not only did they identify the blocking logs, but Bob, Jim H (with chain saw), Donna H, and Terry Monroe (with pack horse) went in afterwards on Sunday to cut them out. They opened up the main loop from the horse camp to Camp Comfort and back. (One hanging log was too low to ride under – Bob went back the following Saturday and lowered the tread so a horse can safely pass until it can be removed). Now there is a reason to go back with riding horses to camp.
Karma and Rick came up to make everyone dinner Saturday night as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday. I just hope they got out of there Sunday before the gate gets locked, or they may be there for the rest of the month!!!
This was a grant project that Buckhorn Range committed to, and we met most of that commitment. There is still some funds to spend, and we may spend it spreading more gravel. It was a highly successful weekend other than one rider finger smash and one lost cell phone.
LeBar Horse Camp officially opened the same week.. While we showed our willingness to invest in the horse camp, the effort to keep it open for stock is just beginning. It is important for folks to use the camp when it officially opens.
On a somewhat similar note, the next drainage north, the North Fork Skokomish (Cushman/Staircase) was closed last year because of crowding and irresponsible dispersed campers. The USFS just imposed an alcohol ban on dispersed camping in that drainage for 2 years.
The may drive some partying campers to the South Fork Skok where LeBar is. Horse use at LeBar will help us with “staking our turf” preserving the campground, so make sure you come or come back if you were with our work party!! Jeff
More photos can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mrw318RGABKYeVsx6
We had a dry if not terribly sunny day on Saturday, although someone invited the mosquitoes to the party as well. Since the pandemic blew into our lives there have been solo and household work parties, and a couple of small gatherings to work at the Horse Park, but this was the first group work party I had hosted in over a year, and it was wonderful to see those orange vests and hard hats again.
Ever since we built the bridge on Silent Alder Trail at Gibbs Lake County Park there was a problem with traction when the deck was wet. I tried anti-skid tape on the running planks, but it wasn’t durable and some riders still thought it was slippery when wet, so I came up with a more solid solution – extend the trail tread over the bridge itself.
Five of us met on Saturday morning at Beausite Lake Rd. Larry, Kris, Judith and I would work on resurfacing the bridge while Helen cleared the trail of low-hanging branches. First, we cleaned the bridge deck and put down fabric and curb rails to hold the gravel in place. Then we used our power gravel toter to move the material down to the bridge surface. After crowning and tamping it down and building up the approaches the bridge is ready for many future uneventful equine crossings.
No more clopping of hooves on the wooden deck, but perhaps Ichabod will appreciate the quiet.
It’s a strikingly beautiful camp with 13 sites – pull through and back in. There’s no water in camp so you need to bring water for you and your stock. The trail meanders through giant firs with some views of the Skokomish River with a pleasant river lunch spot.
We need to use this camp otherwise we run the risk of closure or having it be opened to non-stock campers. Additional information gladly provided through our Buckhorn Range chapter website or Facebook.
Thank you to the volunteers who came out to the horse park yesterday to cut scotch broom on the Mustang and Boundary Trails!! We had 7 in attendance plus 2 horses and a dog. All the targeted work was completed. The trails are all opened, and we were able to park in the parking area (among the log decks). Work, conversation, and riding – that’s a good day. Even time for packing and highlining.
LeBar Horse Camp Grant Progress
We’re on schedule to replace 6-9 of the camp’s 13 high line cables as well as arranging for gravel delivery to improve the in-camp road.
A work party will be forthcoming, likely April/May.
The Forest Service has reached out to us about our Title II Grant for LeBar, offering to just let the USFS acquire the gravel with the grant fund and have it moved to LeBar where we can spread it. They will also purchase the highline cable if we tell them what we want. This cuts out all of the grant administration work on our end. We are excited by this renewed spirit of cooperation and partnership with Olympic National Forest and look forward to when we are able to get back to work to restore this beautiful Horse Camp.
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By Juelie Dalzell, Buckhorn Range and Peninsula Chapters (article published in Trailhead News)
National Public Land Day saw eight members of Buckhorn Range Chapter working hard to restore LeBar Horse Camp. This lovely camp had been closed all summer in part due to Covid-19 and in part due to USFS staff shortages. What interested our members was the fact we had to negotiate with the Forest Service for over six weeks just to be permitted to hold a work party in the campground with the work needing approval before we entered. LeBar Horse Camp was built by Mason County (now Oakland Bay) and Olympic Chapters. Unwilling to give us a key, a Forest Service employee unlocked the gate for us the day we arrived.
The camp nestled between huge trees is extremely well designed with mostly pull through sites, cable high lines, picnic tables and fire rings. There is also a large picnic shelter at one end of the campground. With no use over the summer the camp looked very forlorn and overgrown. Small trees and shrubs had to be cleared from the camp road loop. Tent pads had to be replaced, brush and weeds cut off the hitch rails and sites parking areas, picnic tables wire brushed, the toilet sanitized and moss scraped off the concrete pad holding the vault toilet. A sign post had to be replaced, and fallen trees cleared from connector trails. Every fire ring was cleared of debris and creeper vines snipped away from camp sites and the road.
In addition, our crew cleared downed trees blocking the LeBar access and 140 access to the Skok River Trail.
While the work required the eight of us to spend three days at LeBar, we all had a marvelous time together. Two of our members prepared meals for all of us making it a festive occasion and those of us not cooking felt coddled. When we left, the camp looked ready for campers, but alas it will not open until next year. For those of you who have never been to LeBar, Buckhorn members would strongly suggest you do yourselves a favor and stay at this premier horse camp next summer.
Buckhorn and Peninsula Chapters of BCHW submitted for two projects in the northeast portion of the Olympic National Forest to be funded by the Title II distribution of the Secure Rural Schools Act. Title II funds are spent to benefit the public’s use of the National Forest and includes road improvements on access roads, noxious weed treatments, youth crew employment, watershed enhancement, and recreation work.
One of our projects, located in Clallam County, is restoring to stock standards the washed-out approach to the Sleepy Hollow Trail ford over Gold Creek. This trail has been the planned route for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, running from Montana to Port Townsend, then up Mt Zion, and onto the Tubal Cain Mine Trail, winding through the high Olympics to the Pacific Ocean.
Our project involved purchasing gravel from the Title II grant along with compensating pack support and administration costs (for both projects). Over 3 days of work, we completed restoring the ford approach including packing over 2,700 lbs. of gravel on horses supplied by Peninsula and Buckhorn Chapter members, and that is after having used the same stock to pack in the logs used for retaining the gravel on the steep approach. A big thanks to all for this joint chapter effort!!!
Our next project will be packing in and out youth crews to Bark Shanty on the Lower Big Quilcene Trail. Our chapters are paying for the youth crews out of the Title II grant funds. All of the packing for this project will be donated by the stock handlers. The packers are ready, but due to Covid, we are having a hard time lining up youth crews for the current season. Fortunately, the grant funds carry over to next year if we run out of time. I hope to call on members to assist with this effort when we get it planned.
Jeff Chapman, Buckhorn Range Chapter Director