Back Country Horsemen of Florida is an equine trail advocacy group whose Mission is:
To Educate , encourage and solicit active participation in the use of the public land resources by every individual horse rider, every horse club and the general public to preserve our cultural heritage,
To Perpetuate the common sense use of and enjoyment of our cultural heritage of horses on public lands,
To Work as a united group insure that public lands remain open to recreational equestrian activity,
To Assist the various federal, state and local governments in their maintenance and management of public lands by creating local volunteer programs.
Since 2007, when Florida Forever Back Country Horsemen (FFBCH) formed as an affiliate chapter of Back Country Horsemen of America it has been the only local Florida chapter.
FFBCH has had great success by building cooperative relationships with managers of local public lands such as the Withlacoochee State Forest in Sumter, Hernando and Citrus counties as well as the Withlacoochee Trail and Lake Townsen Preserve. When we formed our group, our area was in danger of losing trails due to bicycle and hiking groups wanting more miles of trails, and an enduro bike group wanted use of our horse trails during October. FFBCH created a strong united voice. We were able to stop the loss of trails and obtain even more and safer trails. FFBCH has also accomplished the naming of and providing and installing signage for over 100 miles of Withlacoochee horse trails. FFBCH created maps that were made available at trail heads which not only prevented riders from getting lost but also proved to be a life-saving tool in identifying to emergency personnel the location of injured riders and medical emergencies. FFBCH then created a volunteer program which kept all equestrian trails clear of fallen trees and debris. Each volunteer logs their monthly hours to show local, state, and federal governments how much time and money we saved them. Also our FFBCH volunteers provide eyes and ears in preserving our public lands while doing volunteer work and riding.
Now that FFBCH has evolved to form the state chapter, BCHFL, one of our goals is to have other areas band together and form local chapters under Back Country Horsemen of Florida. We believe local chapters of Back Country Horsemen of Florida will be essential in helping to preserve, maintain and oversee the trails on public lands where members usually ride. This is a "Backyard" approach to developing working relationships with local land managers. This approach gives local horse riding clubs and local horse owners a strong united voice in preserving public lands for equestrian use. Not only do volunteers work at cleaning, and maintaining trails, while they are out there, they also become another set of eyes able to report any problems in a certain area.
When local governments see how effectively volunteers can maintain and preserve the trails and save them money it is a win for both the taxpayers and the riding clubs.
Back Country Horseman is a national organization. By forming local chapters to affiliate with other Florida chapters your group will have a strong united voice. Not just the voice of your local group, you will have the voice of all Back Country Horsemen.
We are united and strong and here to help you preserve your area. Every member of a local chapter is automatically a member of the Back Country Horsemen of Florida and Back Country Horsemen of America. BCHFL also has a category for “at large” members for those that support our mission but don’t have a nearby local chapter.
Click on Membership, complete the application and send your dues to the address on the application. Once we receive your application you will be placed on our E-mail list and will be notified of the dates and locations of our meetings and events. Back Country Horsemen of Florida will become your strong voice with your membership.
Kathryn Thompson, Chairwoman, BCHFL