Volunteers use equine power to make upgrades to public trails.

Photo: Courtesy Ami McBride

As a trail rider, trails are central to my recreation. Except trails aren’t just central to trail riders, they are important for the relaxation, recreation and soul-quenching connection that we all crave: the hikers, bicylists, and riders.

Before I knew about Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA), I thought trails just existed without maintenance. I’ve learned since then, it takes quite a bit of horse-/mule- and manpower to keep trails open and public land accessible. That job takes a community, one of which I’m proud a member. BCHA has dedicated its sole focus to maintaining those trails, which are our access into our land. For the sake of us and our children, I’m so thankful they do. When you look at the statistics, they are absolutely amazing: $86.6 million in volunteer hours since 1995, 176 chapters in 28 states, and still America’s best kept secret.

Last year alone BCHA chapters were responsible for clearing more than 30,000 miles of trail. But even those numbers are just a small drop in the bucket. So much more needs to be done.

For 40 years, Back Country Horsemen of America members have been traipsing into our public lands and clearing trails for anyone who cares to travel behind them, asking nothing in return but the s