Buffalo River BCHA Busy on the Trails
Bad weather and Covid restrictions couldn’t keep members of Buffalo River Back Country Horsemen of America off the trail or out of work this year. Members committed to our Adopt a Trail program, and they have been busy leading work days on their adopted sections of trail. Starting right off on a frosty morning in early January we gathered early at the Boxley trailhead to work a section of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness. With a lot of storm damage and not much use, this trail was crying for attention, so we returned there several times in January and February. If you’ve witnessed the beautiful blue-green headwaters of the Buffalo, you know this was no hardship.
In February and March we turned our attention just a little further down river to Ponca. This is arguably one of the most beautiful trails on the river with its towering bluffs, frequent water crossings, and old home places. It gets plenty of use, so its tread is more clearly defined than other sections, but it’s no stranger to flood debris, downed timber or carelessly left-behind trash. Good job security for Buffalo River BCH members as there is always something that needs care and attention as we work toward Steel Creek and on to Granny Henderson’s house. Our loppers, clippers and trash grabbers get a good work out every visit.
In March several members rode the Compton trail down to Sneed’s Creek and found the lower portion of the trail was washed out (even more than usual) and was in need of more serious repair work. In keeping with our protocol, they turned their trail condition report over to the trails supervisor with the National Park Service. We hope to be part of the solution when a repair plan has been made.
In April it was all hands on deck on the West Bench trail out of Compton. We also learned that we were awarded the Buffalo National River Volunteer Organization of the Year 2020. We’re proud to receive this recognition for our “boots on the ground” support of the park.
Weather is always a factor this time of year, so we were disappointed but not surprised when heavy rains forced a change in our early May plans for a three day work and camp out at the Erbie campground. When an impassable crossing made that impossible, Steve Morse, the owner of the Centerpoint Horse Camp and Lodge, stepped up and offered his hospitality to our group. Thanks to Steve, we were able to squeeze in two wonderful days of camping and working on the Centerpoint and Chimney Rock trails before more rain arrived. If you’re looking for camper hookups, stalls, cabins, or ready access to trails on the upper Buffalo, check with Steve.
As for our trail efforts, let’s just say that there is always more that can be done on the Centerpoint trail, but the Chimney Rock trail is in pretty good shape. We were happy to welcome a new member, Joyce Taylor from Paron, Arkansas, who is a whiz cleaning trail. Member Pattie Mills brought a group from Train Robber Ranch in Texas and those cowgirls were no strangers to trail work either. They just jumped right in! Last, but not least, Gary and Ruth Garner from the Missouri BCHA (River Springs Chapter) joined us for two days of hard work and fun riding, and we are always glad to welcome them.
That’s about it for the first few months of 2021. 706 hours of trail work as of May 7th, all in service of the beautiful Buffalo National River that we are so lucky to ride. If you would like more information about our service organization, please contact our membership chair Elaine Appel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513 477-0598.