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Backcountry Horsemen win award

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The Peninsula and Buckhorn Range chapters of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington have won the 2010 President’s Achievement Award from the Friends of Olympic National Park.

This is the first time the award was presented to a group, not an individual. The groups work with Olympic National Park to keep backcountry trails open and safe.

While the national park keeps some major trails open, there are many places they do not work on, due to limited personnel. For 20 years, the Backcountry Horsemen have filled that gap.

Hundreds of hours
Often the trails they work on cannot be reached except by horses and pack strings. Equipment must be brought in and removed by the group.

Many members have logged hundreds of volunteer hours in 2009: 3,120 hours for the Peninsula chapter and 680 hours for the Buckhorn chapter.

Members must take classes to learn safe ways to remove blockages and to rebuild trails. Trees must be cut and rocks removed using only hand tools, often old saws used many years ago by the original loggers.

Tom Mix keeps the tools in good working condition, sometimes creating parts that are no longer made.

All volunteers
All work is performed on a volunteer basis, with participants paying for their own training.

The Backcountry Horsemen keep the trails open for their own use but also to give back to the community because many others use the trails they work on. They often work on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Anyone interested in helping can join the Backcountry Horsemen; a horse is not required.
Call Marc Reinertson at 452-5518.

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