Who We Are?

BCHA members are men and women who belong to a national non-profit organization. We are a 501(c)(3) serving 204 local and state chapters across the country.

Our grassroots members—responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organization’s mission and values—lead BCHA organizations throughout the United States. 

BCHA chapters are active in 32 states consisting of roughly 13,000 members who are dedicated to keeping trails open for all on our public lands. Our chapters work closely with trail partners and local land management agencies to clear and maintain trails.

In 2018, Back Country Horsemen of America volunteers spent 322,125 hours working to maintain trails on public lands.  That equates to a value of $12.1 million dollars in trail work donated to local and federal land managing agencies. Since 1995, BCHA members contributed a value equal to $140.2 million in volunteer hours.

What We Do?

We invest in active participation by young leaders in the wise and sustainable use of wilderness and back country resources. We coordinate with conservation corps and youth groups, United States Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management to ensure tomorrow’s leaders have outdoor and wilderness experiences. As youth groups work with us and our partners, they learn about themselves and about stewardship of our most treasured resources. BCHA, its youth partners, and other volunteers leverage funds many times over in delivering projects to clear and maintain trails.

Are you a hiker, biker, or horseback rider who gets out and enjoys trails? We do much of the work that goes unseen to clear and preserve the safety and continued enjoyment of your outdoor experience. Yup, much of our work does involve “horsepower” as well as human power. The majority of our pack trips with horses and mules assist trail crews get food, camping gear, and trail maintenance equipment into areas where four-wheeled vehicles cannot go. We help two-footed trail workers get more done by packing in what they need.

Our Value Proposition

National presence on the “Hill” – representatives from the Public Liaison Committee make several trips to Washington, D.C. annually to maintain our visibility with our legislators. (Local contacts with the legislators is also extremely important.)

National Newsletter published quarterly – The newsletter contains information regarding the activities of the National Board of Directors and the committee chairs (Education, Public Liaison, Wilderness, Media Communications) along with news from the Thirty one states represented in BCHA. This Newsletter is sent to public lands managers, legislators, and other organizations in addition to members.

Public Lands Committee – is in place to advise the state organizations in their dealings with public lands managers to keep the back country open to stock use. There have been, and currently are, several instances where plans have come out to block the stock users for one reason or another from the back country.

Education Committee – responsible for creating a curriculum of information and teaching resources which can be accessed by all members of BCHA for the distribution of standardized knowledge,processes, policies and practices throughout all levels of the organization across the the Nation. The Education Committee Curriculum will support three primary thrusts.

  • Website member resources: www.bcha.org
  • Organization and Administration
  • Members (Adult and Youth)
  • Public Outreach
  • The Education Committee using the Curriculum will be responsible for creating and conducting tailored workshops, webinars, instructional videos, traveling teams etc. to mentor /teach BCHA Officers, Directors, State and Chapter Officers and members.

Our Mission

The purpose of this organization shall be:
  • To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness.
  • To work to ensure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.
  • To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.
  • To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.
  • To foster and encourage the formation of new state Back Country Horsemen’s organizations.

Our Vision

Create Service Organization

It was the original assumption that Back Country Horsemen would be a different type of organization, not the usual special interest one, normally operating as a protest group.  It was felt that a service organization, doing work in the back country, would lend credibility to the group when it became involved in criticisms of agency management.

Back Country Horsemen are interested in perpetuating recreational stock use on virtually all public lands.

We try to limit our interests to the stated purpose. Many worthwhile organizations already exist to provide action programs in other fields, so anyone interested in those has adequate opportunities to become active.

Our History

BCHA formation took place in Montana’s Flathead Valley in January of 1973 by Ken Ausk, Dulane Fulton, Dennis Swift, and Roland Cheek . They used their specialized knowledge of stock and the back country to bring about changes and modifications of restrictive stock management by public officials. We began by participating in agency meetings and land use planning and regulations and have become a strong voice for responsible equestrian use and continued access in our back country.

These four men and their supporters never dreamed that they were the initial developers of programs like Tread Lightly and Leave no Trace for stock.

Our Strategic Plan

We believe:

Responsible stewardship of the land means more than just doing good work—it means making the most out of every donation we receive • Common sense use and enjoyment of pack and saddle stock in America’s backcountry and Wilderness areas is part of America’s heritage and legacy • We have a job to ensure public lands remain open to recreational stock use for the benefit of all trail users, which includes our extensive national volunteer efforts to preserve and maintain trails • In our duty to assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of public lands trails and resources • We have a duty to educate, encourage, and invest in active participation by young leaders in the wise and sustainable use of the backcountry resource • We can fulfill our goals best by building capacity of existing and new Back Country Horsemen’s organizations .

Subscribe To Our Mailing List

To get on our mailing list about current issues and updates please Subscribe to our Email List.  You’ll be notified of issues that are of importance to the trail riding community.

Contact BCHA

Darrell WallaceChairman
Sherry CopelandVice Chairmanvchairman@bcha.org
Mark HimmelTreasuremarkahimmel@gmail.com
Randy RasmussenDirector for Public Lands & RecreationWildernessAdvisor@bcha.org
Michelle TiegsExecutive Administratormichellewade@bcha.org

Craig Allen
Exceutive Committee 

Latifia Rodriguez
Executive Committee 
Dennis SerpaExecutive Committee 
Tom ThomasExecutive Committee 
Brad PollmanExecutive Committee  
Doug StewartVolunteer Hours ChairmanVolunteer@bcha.org
Brian PierickMarketing & Media Chairmanbrian.pierick@bchia.org
Craig AllenEducation ChairmanEducation@bcha.org
Latifia Rodriguez Fundraising Chairmanfundraising@bcha.org
Dennis SerpaMembership Chairmanmembership@bcha.org
Don SanerPublic Liaison and Advocacy PartnersPublicLiaison@bcha.org
Jerry BentzPublic Lands ChairmanPubliclands@bcha.org
Karen SanerBCHA Grants CommitteeFoundation@bcha.org
Truman PrevattExpansion ChairmanExpansion@bcha.org
Freddy Dunn Corporate Sponsorship Contact corporate@bcha.org
Marty DeVallWeb AdminWeb@bcha.org
Sherry JenningsNewsletter EditorNewsletter@bcha.org

Contact Form

We are happy to answer your questions, requests, and comments about BCHA. Let us know if you would like more information about BCHA….

Contact By Phone or Mail

Back Country Horsemen of America
PO Box 1182
Columbia Falls, MT. 59912-1182

Our Staff

Darrell Wallace – BCHA Chairman

I grew up near Seattle, in a rural area that became suburban in nature. We boarded horses for people who didn’t have enough acreage, so I got used to leading them around while I fixed fences. Didn’t get to ride them much, though, until I was about 45 and I bought a foal to train (with a lot of help!). … Read More

Randy Rasmussen

Randy Rasmussen is BCHA’s Advisor for Public Lands & Recreation. He succeeded BCHA’s legendary Dennis Dailey of Pinedale, Wyoming, who recruited and endorsed securing Randy as his replacement. Randy began with BCHA in 2012, and shifted to full-time with BCHA in 2014. One of his primary roles is assisting BCHA’s Executive Committee and state organizations to advance initiatives and strengthen … Read More