BUFFALO RIVER BACK COUNTRY HORSEMEN
The Buffalo River Chapter Back Country Horsemen of America, is one of four local chapters of Arkansas Back Country Horsemen. Together, we are a part of Back Country Horsemen of America, a non-profit service organization dedicated to keeping trails open to everyone on our public lands and to protecting our heritage of responsible equine use in the back country. We were Arkansas’ first local chapter and we have nearly 30 years of service.
Buffalo River Chapter’s primary focus is the upper sections of the beautiful Buffalo National River and its watershed in northwest Arkansas. Our service area includes portions of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, the Ponca Wilderness, and river trails from Boxley to Mt Hersey. Our work also extends into parts of the Ozark National Forest, as well as into two Wildlife Management Areas maintained by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. We meet regularly to clear and maintain trails by clearing brush and deadfall, pruning low hanging branches, picking up trash and helping maintain horse camps. All of our members, along with their equine partners, are committed to being good stewards of America’s first National River, and we feel fortunate to be riding some of the most beautiful trails in the country. In 2022 alone, our members volunteered more than 1500 service hours.
In addition to our trail work, Buffalo River Chapter arranges or provides classes in CPR/First Aid, Back Country Wilderness skills, Search and Rescue, packing with horses, and Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Our membership includes LNT trainers who regularly share their knowledge of treading lightly in the back country. Through participation in 4-H and other youth oriented organizations, our members also encourage young riders as they learn to ride and camp responsibly with their horses.
The Buffalo River Chapter BCHA supports the mission of our national organization
- To promote 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 resources.
- 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 (and local) Back Country Horsemen organizations.
OUR MISSION IN ACTION ON THE BUFFALO RIVER
As members of the Buffalo River Chapter, we are privileged to ride and work on America’s first national river, the Buffalo National River. Flowing from its headwaters high in the Boston Mountains, this stunning river flows freely nearly 150 miles before emptying into the White River near Buffalo City. It encompasses almost 96,000 acres of rugged mountain terrain, massive limestone bluffs, deep hollows, and lush, gently rolling valleys. In order to protect the pristine quality of the river and to preserve it as a free-flowing stream, Congress declared it as our nation’s first National River in 1972 and placed it under the protection of the National Park Service. Today it remains one of the few undammed rivers in the lower 48 states, and it provides many of us with some of our finest hours.
For almost 30 years our members have enjoyed riding in service of the river. Some of our work involves “horsepower” as our four-legged friends assist national park crews in hauling logs and other trail maintenance equipment into wilderness areas where vehicles and power tools are not permitted. Because of these restrictions, which are meant to protect wilderness areas, we work primarily with hand tools, including hand saws, clippers and loppers. In fact, it’s unusual to see our members riding without these tools of the trade – even when we are out for a purely recreational ride. Come ride with us. It’s a great way to see what we do and how you can help.