River Springs June Work Day @ Lazy C Trailhead

 We will be working at the Lazy C Trailhead for our regular monthly work day to finish the Trail Maintenance Incentive (TMI) project we started last year.  Items to complete include the rock work on the community fire ring and the installation of the geoweb and gravel at the pond area.  Staff from the US Forest Service will be there to assist us as well.   We will have lunch on sight (see below for additional info). An optional trail ride is scheduled for the afternoon. Primitive, dry camping is also available on a first come, first serve basis. For more information call Candace at 573/593-4435.    Date:  Saturday, June 21, 2014 Location:  Lazy C Trailhead south of Winona, Missouri and north of Alton, Missouri Start Time:  9:30 a.m. Directions:  From Winona, take Highway 19 south for 12 miles, turn right at the Lazy C Trailhead sign. From Alton, take Highway 19 north for 11 miles, turn left at the Lazy C Trailhead sign. Bring: Gloves, water, shovels, hand saws, pruners and loppers for trimming and chairs for a meal and meeting. Other Info:  Trail Boss for this event is Mary Fielder.  She will provide sandwiches and drinks. Chapter will provide utensils and plates.  Additional food items such as chips, sides, dessert, etc. would be welcome. Don’t forget, our chapter will be giving away three complimentary (i.e. free) 1-year memberships to SMMBCH this year so bring a non-member to a work day and they could one of the lucky people.      

NEMO River Valley Chapter Newsletter

NEMO River Valley Chapter

                Workdays were held on April 26, Earth Day, headquartered at Von’s, with nine members present, and May 10, headquartered at Frank Russell, with 13 volunteers who helped .   Crews worked to clean up downfall and trim and lop branches from both those locations, with the trails being in excellent shape on the evening of May 10.  However, before that evening was over, a storm rumbled through; members who were camped followed the advice of meteorologists, and took refuge OUT of campers.  The new concrete restroom at Frank Russell Trail head served as an excellent storm shelter, not to be rocked by the wind.   After the wind, rain and hail, there was no serious damage around camp, but of course, more down fall!   We never run out of work to do!

Our 4th Annual Youth Day was held May 31.  Eight youth riders, ranging from 5 to 15 years old, and their adult sponsors were in attendance.   Nine chapter members were present to help with food preparation, Leave No Trace education, and assistance where needed.  Morning arena work consisted of Leave No Trace awareness from LNT trainers , Becki and Mary K, ethics, tack, and safety for the trail, including practicing the emergency dismount.   After the arena work, the group took to the trails, then returned to the trail head where sandwiches and the trimmings awaited, thanks to Karen Woodruff.

Each youth rider received a packet containing band-aids and insect repellent wipes, compliments of Tender Corporation, as a result of registering  on “National Trails Day” site, a SMMBCH Activity book, a Certificate of Completion for the Youth Day, principles of LNT, tips for safety, and other useful information.  Each rider was furnished with cross-ties, if needed.   In addition, Culligan of Hannibal kept us hydrated with bottled water.  Thanks to all members who were present to help with this event, whether you brought a kid or two, or just there to help!

We hope to attract some new members as a result of our next event, National Trails Day Membership Drive Trail Ride, scheduled for June 7.   WE will ride 2-3 hours, splitting into gaited and non-gaited groups.  Shelly, one of our managers, has volunteered to barbeque while we are riding,  so we will eat upon return.  Our next workday is July 19, headquartered at Von’s, scheduled to do trail maintenance.

Trent, grandson of member Don Lay

Trent, grandson of member Don Lay

3 generations, Becki teaches emergency dismount to grandson Brody

3 generations, Becki teaches emergency dismount to grandson Brody

Dawson, grandson of members David and Marguerite Jones

Dawson, grandson of members David and Marguerite Jones

youth on trail

youth on trail

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By Candace Hale

April arrived with some wonderful weather and we took advantage of it by attending the Spring Clean-up at Big Creek Trail Ride in Hartshorn, MO.  Attending were Debbie Peel, Deb Anderson, Paula Hull, Candace Hale, and Ruth and Gary Garner.   Our group brought in four bags of trash which was the least of any of the years we have attended.  Hopefully, that is a sign that riders and other users of the trails are being more diligent about packing out what they pack in.

The next weekend we had a work/ride at Sam A. Baker State Park near Patterson, MO.  The park had suffered severe storm damage a few years ago and we had attacked it last November but did not get it completely cleared.  There were still plenty of downed trees left, so we went back and worked along the equestrian trail to the Witches Hat.  The next weekend, two of our new members, Toby and Barb Skaggs, met Russell Martin and Larry Bast at the park to clean the Witches Hat.


Later in the month, Candace Hale attended the BCHA Annual Meeting in Chattanooga, TN.  Every day was long and filled with information.  The first day was fun when we were treated to a ride through the Chickamauga Battlefield on horseback then a cookout back at the stables.  It was an awesome event and a great experience.

Upper Current River Area Clean-Up

Upper Current River Area Clean-Up

             To kick start the 2014 work season with the traditional Clean-Up Ride,  members of Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen gathered at Big Creek Trail Ride.  This year’s event took place April 12, at the end of a scheduled ride; several members took advantage of the riding and great food, then stayed for the work day, while others came for the day or weekend. On Saturday, 39 volunteers, mostly mounted, dispersed from Big Creek campground.  Included among the workers was a crew of eight who constructed an outhouse west of the campground, headed by Bob Howell.  Other teams who worked to improve trails, as well as roads on Ozark National Scenic Riverways and the county, were headed by Eldon Kreisel, Paul Patton, Darrell Martin, Paula Cazzato, and Phyllis Rowe.  Weather was favorable for accomplishing the 204 volunteer hours.  Thirty-three equine allies were enlisted to assist, and were hauled 7217 miles to that purpose.  After a long winter, members were happy to curry the stock, find the grabbers, trash bags, and loppers, and be back in the saddle.

Thank you to the Howells at Big Creek Trail Ride, who always help make this event a success.

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Brownfield Chapter Newsletter

Brownfield Chapter-Robin Vaughn

 There are a lot of exciting things going on for the Brownfield Chapter –

Welcome to the new family membership – Patti Blichmann!

 The Brownfield Chapter had their spring work day on April 26.  Seven members and one non-member participated.  The main work for the day was clearing trees.  There was a tree down on the yellow trail and 3 dead trees in the campground.  Darrel used the chainsaw while Robin, Cristlyn, Leslyn, and Doyle removed the debris (the bigger pieces were used for camp fire during the evenings).  The group rode 3.5 hours that morning and ended up wet before returning to the campground.  The trailers and Jim grilling lunch was a welcomed sight along with the sunshine that finally came through.  Belinda was a little wetter than the rest because her rain duster was lost on the trail before the rain……but with a change of clothes, she was ready to head back out with Darrel and Robin for another 3.5 hour trip on the trails while the others opted to head home.  With a return trip down the red trail, there laid the rain duster but no more rain!  A great day for being on the trails.

 Trail Designation Update:

In March the forestry had been reviewing and working on the designation of the red and blue trails.  The crew finished the GPS of the main trails identified earlier and finished the surveying the week prior.  The Heritage and Soil Scientists were concerned about prehistoric or Native American use along with erosion; however, determined things look good.  As Carol put it ‘We are on the final stretch!’. 

 Carol and Jim, Forest Service, completed the map on April 2nd.  There are about 9 miles of main trails scheduled to be designated with only a few small connecting trails not included.  These will be presented to their biologist and the forestry will get a completed letter back from their archeologists and move it along the process.  Per Carol ‘The hard work and wait is almost over.’

 On April 22nd, the trail designation was ‘just waiting on the report/concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Office (cultural sites) on the trail location’ and then should be good to go!  Carol added ‘Hopefully by 1st of June or before.  Thanks for all the work you all do!  You guys are our eyes and ears out there!’

 More good news – the Trail Maintenance Incentive (TMI) was prepared and submitted by Carol Trokey and Robin for Cole Creek Trail.  Thank goodness it was approved, the Brownfield Chapter definitely needed the funds for trail and campground maintenance!  We decided on blue and red trail markers for the new trails along with directional arrows and aluminum nails plus gravel to improve the trail head parking.  Trail tools were mentioned; however, highline or hitching post materials would be more beneficial.  The chapter is prepared to work to complete the projects for the TMI, help and riders are always welcomed.

Mountain Riders Newsletter

2014 0514 Bar-K Clean-up (31) 2014 0514 Bar-K Clean-up (4)SCRUBBED CLEAN
The Mountain Rides Chapter of the Missouri Back Country Horsemen teamed up with the Douglas
County Fox Trotters to rectify a bad situation. On May 10, 2014 the groups met to clean-up a mess at
the Bar-K Wrangler Ranch in the Mark Twain National Forest located southeast of Springfield
Missouri, in the beautiful Ozark hills. Bar-K is a very popular trail ridding destination with primitive
camping and over 80 miles of beautiful scenic trails.
Unfortunately not all the riders that use Bar-K trails follow the “Leave No Trace” principals and the
trails had become littered with trash, mostly beer cans. The situation reflected badly on all the areas’
trail riders. So the Mountain Riders adopted the clean-up of Bar-K Wrangler Ranch trails as one of
their projects.
A notice of the clean-up was sent out to the local horse clubs asking for help. The Saturday morning of
the clean-up 16 riders arrived at 10 AM ready to clean and trim trails. Bob Volyes, the Mt. Riders trail
boss, divided the riders into teams of four. Each each group was provided a map outlining the trails
they were to clean. The groups also received clippers, grabbers, and trash bags and off they went.
Each group worked on its own stoping for a quick lunch on the trail. The work was hot and tiring but
very rewarding. For almost six hours the teams worked through the brush along the trails picking up
trash. By 3:30 in the afternoon the teams had picked up an estimated 2,000 beverage cans enough to fill
16 large garbage bags and over fifty miles of beautiful Ozark trails were scrubbed clean.
Stephen Assenmacher
Mountain Riders

Tri-Lakes Chapter Newletter

June 1, 2014

Chapter work events are scheduled for the first weekend of each month.  Exceptions are national events such as National Trails Day (June 7th) and National Public Lands Day (September 27th), and Chapter Member Fun Rides. The Calendar Planning Committee felt this consistency would help members to set aside this weekend for Chapter workdays and responsibilities.  Not sure the reasoning worked with the May 3rd work event for Stockton Lake trails/Hulston Mill, but hopeful for future work events.  With six members the trails were still clipped and cleaned along with chainsaw work for the few blocked trails.

A “National Trails Day” event is planned for Lead Mine C.A. The event will be a membership drive for the Chapter with members encouraged to bring other riders to learn about SMMBCH and to celebrate the trails at Lead Mine.  A” Ride for Life” benefit trail ride is planned for the same day.  We met with the organizers for the “Ride for Life” and coordinated our events.  Tri-Lakes Chapter will provide coffee, doughnuts, water, and juice from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. for all that attend either event.  The “Ride for Life” organizers will have hot dogs and hamburgers during the afternoon hours for those who register and contribute to the benefit.  Hopefully with two events, there will be a good opportunity to introduce Tri-Lakes Chapter – SMMBCH to non-members.  A flyer was created and sent to Tri-Lakes members; the poster was also posted at local businesses.  An article and ad was placed in the Buffalo Reflex newspaper advertising this event.

July events will be a “Membership Fun Ride” at Slabtown on July 11-13th.  August 2nd is our work event for Bolivar Landing.   An Ole Time Ice Cream and Pie Supper Social is planned for August 23rd: place TBA.

NEMO River Valley Chapter Youth Day

NEMO River Valley Chapter held its 4th Annual Youth Day May 31.  The eight youth riders were a mix, all wanting more horse experience, some 4-H members, some members’ kids and grandkids, and some just “riders”, ranging in age from 5 to 15. Becki Krueger and Mary K Church were the Leave No Trace Trainers, and Karen Woodruff took care of the food. Thanks to chapter members whose presence helped make it a success in the arena and on the trails–Wendell and Allice Smith, Kris Lowe, Linda Davis, David and Marguerite Jones, Don Lay, and Bethany Wiemann.

Youth Day participants, ages 5 - 15

Youth Day participants, ages 5 – 15

Becki Krueger and Mary K Church ,NEMO LNT Trainers for Youth Day

Becki Krueger and Mary K Church ,NEMO LNT Trainers for Youth Day

Karen Woodruff, in charge of food

Karen Woodruff, in charge of food

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the arena.

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the arena.

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the arena.

Youth riders learning and practicing the emergency dismount in the

Bethany and Brody

Kris Lowe

Kris Lowe

David and Marguerite

Linda Davis

Linda Davis

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Eldon Kreisel, President.

In regard to the question, “What is being done related to Ozark National Scenic Riverways?”

Since the very beginning this organization has worked for the betterment of trail riding community in trying to maintain and preserve our heritage of trail riding on public lands.

This has been done through the initiating and passage of a Missouri legislation that sometimes has been dubbed “Right to Ride”.  This sets guidelines allowing for equine usage of state public lands and establishes legitimate procedures for maintenance and closure of trails.

This is being done by promoting personal relationships with all public land managers in the state of Missouri.  SMMBCH currently has Memorandums of Understanding with every public land management organization in this state.

SMMBCH has testified before government legislative committees to advocate for equine trail usage.

SMMBCH has worked along-side of public personnel to maintain and build trails.

SMMBCH has established and manned many information and educational booths.

SMMBCH has hosted a National Back Country Horsemen meeting.

SMMBCH has enlisted the National Public Policy Director to comment.

SMMBCH has worked to train not only our membership but government land managers in the principles of Leave No Trace.

As early as 2005 SMMBCH has been in contact with the National Park Service in relation to Public Park Lands in Missouri.  We have continually advocated for scientific validation of need for trail closures and have worked for increased trail mileage.

In 2005 and before, your board and officers were in constant contact with Supt. Reed Detring concerning the upcoming GMP, management plan.  This has been ongoing with the various new interim and new superintendents.  Not only have various board members and officers gone to the public meetings but have met face to face with Park Personnel. They have expressed the concerns of the trail riding public related to closures and changes in existing conditions.

Our members have been encouraged to attend the meetings and to respond to the comment period.

In 2009 SMMBCH was able to have sent a letter of support from the National Back Country Horsemen by Dennis Daily, Executive Director of Issues and Policy.  He stated in part……..”I am alarmed to hear that none of the alternatives in your proposed GMP (except the no action, which rarely emerges as a truly viable alternative) will allow equestrian use in the primitive/wilderness zone.  This would appear to be a decision without benefit of analysis, and a decision intended to accommodate a small minority who simply prefer not to share our wild places—…..”

In a 2005 letter to Supt Detring from our Board and Officers we stated, “The Land-based Zones as referenced on page seven (7) confine horse use to resource-based recreation  and natural zones only.  It understandable and reasonable for horses not to be in high levels of development; however, to deny horseback riders to more wild and natural character of the primitive zone is questionable and troubling…………

SMMBCH further stated:

“The Recreational Activities by Management Zone chart (A) p.7 reflect horseback Riding being restricted to “designated trails.”  Designated trails throughout the Park are inevitable.  SMMBCH does not object to a designated trail system if well designed, managed and adequately meets the needs of the equestrian users.  SMMBCH has traditionally been of the understanding that Federal Lands have been administered under a policy of “Open unless declared closed”.  We are somewhat naturally concerned that a new GMP may somewhat indicate a subtle change in that policy.

This may not be the case but we are concerned that some of the areas may contain Traditionally used country roads that might be closed bust which could be left open to equestrian use without creating harmful environment impact.  The plan should address staging areas of adequate size for today’s trucks and trailers throughout the Park.  The number of trails available is critical.  With too few trails, the likelihood of overuse is  high.  With overuse come degradation and loss of resources.  A good trial system will take into account and provide adequate number of trails and crossover links…….”

“SMMBCH would also support an alternative blend that recognizes the historical and cultural Significance of horses/mules in the part of the Missouri Ozarks.  Horses and mules belong to the fabric of the Park in the same way as john boats, springs, caves and old settlements.”

HAVING PRESENTED ALL THIS:  SMMBCH has been working for the interests of the equine community since before 2005 and has been actively involved in equine issues through-out the entire state since its beginning.  This has been done sometimes behind the scenes, at other times in open forum.  We have gained a working relationship and respect from those with whom we agree and disagree but rest assured your board and officers are hard at work.

Much of what I have quoted is still a work in progress and we are continually commenting and working to stay up to date.

Having said all this:

In the development of National Park Service General Management Plans, Show-Me Missouri Backcountry Horsemen advocate for protection of natural resources while providing access to recreational activities and specifically horseback riding.  We believe in a blend of activities that allow for protection and restoration of degraded biological communities without denying equine access.  Through a well planned designated trail system with maximum mileage developed, with maintenance and a guarantee for use by future generations, over use should not occur.  The trail system needs to have enough trail mileage so that over use does not occur.  Designated trails and a large enough trail system of greater mileage along with allowance for adequate numbers of staging areas and trail heads to park trucks and trailers would help prevent over use, degradation of natural resources and development of undesignated trails.  We approve of well managed and planned trails to protect and restore the natural resources while still providing maximum access.  Education and promotion of such outdoor ethics such as Leave No Trace Stock program are paramount to the process.

This last paragraph encompasses the position of your SMMBCH board and officers in relation to all public lands and specifically to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Eldon Kreisel

SMMBCH State President.


SMMBCH’s mission is to insure that public lands remain open to equestrian use.  It is also SMMBCH’s mission to work with federal, state, and private agencies in their maintenance and management of land resources.  If the Upper Current River trails are going to be open for horseback use it will have to be with the designated trail system.  Remember, it is a federal law that ALL National Parks in the nation allow horseback riding only on designated trails.  It is time to end the controversy and get trails designated for horseback riders and SMMBCH offers the following:

 1. ONSR is required by federal law to develop a GMP periodically to guide the ways to “manage” the Park for the next twenty years.

2.  ONSR is required by law to develop management options which have been termed Alternatives A, B, & C.  The “No Action” Alternative is the status quo and a measure to compare to the Alternatives.

3.  The GMP is a broad umbrella without the details. Once the GMP is completed, the detailed Horse Management Plan will be developed setting forth details such as number of miles of trails, location of trails and horse camps, if/any permitting system, etc.

4.  Federal law is that in ALL National Parks, horses are only allowed on “designated trails.”  The ONSR currently only has “designated trails” in the Eminence area:  Broadfoot Trail, Shawnee Trail, Two Rivers Trail, and Jerktail Trail. The Park manages these trails and the GMP plans for no closures and for improvements to these designated trails.

5.  The Upper Current River portion of ONSR has lacked proper management or been ignored since the inception of the Park.  While horseback riding has been going on before the Park came into existence and continues to this day, these trails do not appear in the legal documents that govern the Park and are unauthorized.  The Park, in preparation to manage the Upper Current River portion, has inventoried the number of unauthorized trails that weave in and out of the narrow corridor of the Park.  These unauthorized trails will be declared “Closed,” however, many of these same trails will change designation from unauthorized to “designated trail.”  Once designated the trails will be maintained and managed permanently.

6.  Once the GMP is in place, ONSR, SMMBCH, local commercial trail ride Owners, and local trail riders will be tasked to worked together to develop the Horse Management Plan and the applicable details.