My OET Story: Cathy and Mike Stuhr

Eleven years ago, my husband and I moved to Oregon so I could start a horse boarding stable and he could keep his “real” job. As my husband likes to say, “When you own a stable, someone has to keep their day job.” Guess he got elected.

We originally joined OET not long after we moved here, but we found the demands of the stable and other commitments kept us from participating. As a result, we let our membership lapse – gasp! The demands of the stable and life in general haven’t leveled off in 12 years, but we figured it was time to get involved in a meaningful way.

Part of our philosophy is to give back to the community. Participating in OET is one way  we can do that. We are also hoping that the connections and friendships we make in OET will motivate us to also get out and ride on a regular basis – something we have found really difficult to do in the past 12 years.

We enjoy the outdoor work and camaraderie, and we look forward to lots of adventures with the dedicated folks in the West Valley Chapter.

Cathy and Mike Stuhr
West Valley Chapter

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

My OET Story: Valerie Lantz

Valerie Lantz

Valerie cooking a tasty meal for a Back Country Horseman (BCH) packing crew. Many OET members also belong to BCH.

I’ve reached an age that may identify me as an old-timer, especially since my husband, Glenn, and I joined OET in 1977.  I heard about OET in 1974, when I completed a student project for a BLM trail study.

Early in 1978, Earl Flick, OET founder, invited me to attend the annual meeting. He and Les Bernard, another founding member, gave me a ride to the meeting in Albany. I remember feeling privileged that the two revered, white-haired gentlemen escorted me, a young member, to the annual meeting.

Through the 1980’s and 90’s, I was a very active OET member who served in several leadership roles. I attended many OET work parties, meetings, and rides throughout those years. I loved the people, the food, the horses, the camps, and every campfire.  I remain proud of helping start a new chapter in the 90’s, then known as the Columbia Gorge (now the Mt. Hood Chapter).

My work placed me in a unique position that involved trail planning in the METRO Greenspaces program. I helped put trails on the map that include equine trail opportunities today. I represented equestrians on the Oregon Recreational Trails Advisory Council (ORTAC) from 1991 to 1999. Making recommendations about trails and trail issues to the State of Oregon Parks Commission provided me an opportunity to see trails in all parts of Oregon.

A new job took me from Sandy to Klamath Falls in 2002. No OET Chapter existed in Klamath Falls. I and others tried starting a new OET Chapter but found the High Desert Trail Riders a long established group that associated with the Back Country Horsemen of Oregon. It was a classic case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em.“ I had thought for some time that OET and BCH should coordinate and collaborate on more projects. With membership in both organizations, I learned more about collaborative possibilities. In 2006, my husband and I were honored to become Honorary Lifetime Members of OET.        

Another move happened in 2007. This time, we ended up across the state line, in Alturas, California. I joined the local BCHC group, the High Country Unit, but remained an OET member. I’ve served in several leadership roles for the High Country Unit as I explored the Warner Mountains. Every once in a while, I’d load up my horse and head north to ride Oregon trails. Glenn and I now have our Alturas place up for sale with the intent to return to Oregon. Maybe the coast this time. Meanwhile, I sure like OET Trail Mail and the Riders Roundup!

Valerie Lantz
Honorary Member
Founder of the Mt. Hood Chapter (formerly known as the Columbia Gorge Chapter)

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

My OET Story: Judy Knutson

Jodi Knutson at saw certification clinic

Jodi Knutson becoming a certified sawyer.

I happened upon the OET booth at the Oregon State Fair.  I loved to trail ride and was looking for some others like me who enjoyed the wilderness and the trails.  I had also noticed the trails were often blocked by downed trees, and it was getting more and more difficult to find places to trail ride, especially away from the crowds. 

The people manning the OET booth enlightened me to the fact that the federal agencies were experiencing funding shortages that translated to fewer paid people out there clearing the trails.  If we, as equestrians, wanted the trails to stay open for riding, we should volunteer to help clear and maintain them.  I joined immediately.  This sounded perfect for me.  I feel very proud to donate my time and energies to such a worth while cause.

At first, I was worried. What could I do, since I was just one lady?

Once I joined and met the wonderful people in OET, I realized a lot can be accomplished when you work with a group.  I was hooked.  I started attending the trail skills colleges put on by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Forest Service.  I was so happy to learn how to use crosscut saws and get certified as a crosscut sawyer.  I was lucky to have a patient and skilled mentor for our trail boss: Joel Starr.

 The work part of the work party can be as strenuous or as easy as each individual wishes. 

It is just as important to have the sawyers along as it is to have the swampers, the stock baby sitters, and the people back in camp preparing the wonderful food for the potluck.  Everyone is free to contribute it any way that is comfortable to them.  Even just donating or paying dues or the very important part of holding an office and doing the work from a desk instead of out on the trails or in the camps.  That is what makes OET so wonderful.

 For me, the thing I like best is clearing trails. 

I like to work hard and use it as my free version of a gym membership.  I get to build muscles, lose calories, and see the grand views of our wilderness.  I’m not sure how to beat that.  Plus the feeling of achievement. Knowing I’m doing something so valuable.  I have made many wonderful friends with folks in my chapter, in other chapters, and with the land managers we work with. Plus, there are even some friends who recreate in other forms on our trails I can now call friends.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we all work together!

Jodi Knutson
Mid-Valley Chapter

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

Equestrians: BLM Wants Your Input on 20-year Public Land Management Plans

BLM-RMPThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is coming to your community to share information on how your public lands in Western Oregon will be managed for the next 20 years, and they want to year your thoughts and ideas. 

The BLM is interested in engaging in dialogue with community partners, cooperating agencies, federal and state agencies, and the general public to have a conversation about the BLM-administered lands in western Oregon and how we can all work together. 

Let’s ensure that equestrians are heard!

Attend one of these meetings to share your concerns and ideas on the use of the public lands:

  • Coos Bay: Tuesday, March 11
  • Eugene: Wednesday, March 5
  • Medford: Wednesday, March 12
  • Klamath Falls: Thursday, March 13
  • Portland: Monday, March 3
  • Roseburg: Monday, March 10
  • Salem: Thursday, March 6

Meetings will be held from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. Locations have not been announced. 

For more information, visit the BLM website.

View the Resource Management Plans (RMP) for Western Oregon (PDF).

Salmonberry Corridor Coalition Will Hold Public Meetings to Share Update

Salmonberry CorridorThe Salmonberry Corridor Coalition will hold two public meetings later this month to present the findings of assessments conducted as part of the master planning process for the proposed new trail.

Meetings will be held:

  • Tuesday, February 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Port of Tillamook Bay Officers Mess Hall Meeting Room at 4000 Blimp Blvd. in Tillamook.
  • Wednesday, February 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Banks Fire Hall at 300 Main St. in Banks.

This input from community members will assist the planning team in identifying priorities and strategies to guide the master planning and design process for the Corridor.

“For the long-held dream of ‘Valley to Coast’ trails, the timing is right,” says Rick Smith (Northwest Chapter). “This is truly an historic, once in a lifetime opportunity.” 

 

What is the Salmonberry Corridor?

The Salmonberry Corridor is a proposed 86-mile-long rail-trail that would run from the city of Tillamook to the city of Banks. It encompasses the Port of Tillamook Bay Railway, which provided train service from the coast to the Willamette Valley until it closed due to storm damage in 2007. The Salmonberry Corridor would connect eight cities and two counties, passing by the Oregon coastline, fisheries, farm fields, and the rugged Coast Range.

The master plan is a long-term plan designed to guide future resource management and recreational uses of the Corridor. The planning team has been conducting a comprehensive study of natural, scenic, and cultural resource conditions; Corridor management needs; outdoor recreation trends in the region; community partnerships; and ideas and concerns identified through public input.

For more information about the meetings or the Salmonberry Corridor, contact Rocky Houston, State Trails Coordinator, at (503) 986-0750 or rocky.houston@oregon.gov.

OET Members: Check out your January issue of the Riders’ Roundup for a personal story about Salmonberry corridor by Rick Smith.

Are you looking forward to this trail? Leave a comment to tell us why!

Possibly the Perfect Summer Job!

SoniaHave the summer off? Want to enrich the lives of kids while working with horses?

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette is looking to hire a Summer Equestrian Team Director and four staff for their  Equestrian Team at YMCA Camp Collins. 

Each summer, two thousand children come to YMCA Camp Collins. Their goal is to provide these children with fun and exciting activities, while offering opportunities for new friendships, learning and personal growth during their stay. Camp Collins has been providing campers with a progressive, challenging, and supportive environment since 1926.

Learn about the camp.

View the job descriptions:

Letter of Request: Show Support for Milo McIver State Park

Milo McIver State ParkGuy Rodrigue, the Park Manager for Milo McIver State Park, is asking for letters to support a ConnectOregon V grant, which they’re applying for to construct the Deep Creek and North Fork Deep Creek bridges. These bridges will complete critical parts of the new trail that will eventually allow equsetrians to ride from McIver toward Barton park.

If you support this project, please email a letter of support by noon on Friday, November 22. We know that’s a tight deadline, so we’ve started the letter for you.

November 21, 2013

Guy Rodrique
Milo McIver State Park Manager

I am writing in support of Oregon State Parks’ proposal for a grant to fund the Deep Creek and North Fork Deep Creek Bridge crossings, which will help complete the Cazadero multi-use trail.

[Include a paragraph about your use of McIver State Park.]

I support the connection from Milo McIver State Park to the regional Cazadero trail system and support each link towards its accomplishment.

Thank you for this opportunity to express my support for this program and for providing a regional trail system for all users.

Sincerely,
Your name

Please send your email to Guy Rodrigue at guy.rodrigue@state.or.us by noon on Friday, November 22.

My OET Story: Kim McCarrel

Kim McCarrel (fourth from left) at a work party with members of the Central Oregon Chapter.

Kim McCarrel (fourth from left) at a work party with members of the Central Oregon Chapter.

Ok, true confessions, I joined for The Book.

One of my friends told me she had heard about this trail group that put out a really great guidebook to Oregon’s trails and horse camps, but you had to join to get the book. I hesitated, because I’m not much of a joiner. But I really wanted that book, so I sent in a check and became an OET member.

I had a demanding job that required me to travel several days a week, so for years I never went to a meeting. But I kept my membership current because I wanted to support the organization’s mission, both with my annual dues and my adding my name to the membership list. After all, having a big membership list gives OET more clout with the Forest Service, State Parks, and other land managers. So I knew that even if I didn’t participate in any OET activities, I was helping to support our trails just by being a member.

In the back of my mind, I had the idea that I might like to get a little more involved with OET, once I retired. And funny thing—just before I retired, the VP Marketing position suddenly was available. I had never been to a work party, and had only been to 2 chapter meetings in my entire life, but the job was a good fit with my skills, so I volunteered. After all, it was a “desk job” kind of position, so I figured I could make a difference without having to go out and get dirty doing trail work.

As VP Marketing, I got to know many wonderful people around the state, and gained a real appreciation for how much OET does on behalf of equestrian trail riders. Because of our strong relationships with the land management agencies, we have tremendous influence on the availability of trails and campgrounds for equestrians.

But I felt kind of guilty being the VP of Marketing and never having been to an OET work party, so I vowed I would go to one work party a year. My first work party was clearing brush on a section of the Metolius-Windigo Trail. The work wasn’t nearly as hard as I had thought it would be—a bit like doing yard work at home, but with lots of great people helping out. And as we were walking back to the trailhead through the area we had cleared, I was surprised at how proud I was of what we had accomplished. I kept seeing how nice the trail now looked, and thinking, “Wow, I did that!!” It was a nice feeling.

So I started going to more work parties. I realized that because of all the budget cuts at our land management agencies, if volunteers don’t do the trail work, it won’t get done, and soon our trails will be inaccessible to horses.

Today I’m co-chair of the Central Oregon chapter. I get to work with some amazing people who are very committed to keeping our trails open. We’ve even been able to build some new trails. I go to work parties, and I’m proud of what we accomplish. As far as I’m concerned, OET is the best thing that ever happened to equestrian trail riders. OET Rocks!

Kim McCarrel
Central Oregon Chapter

Want to share your OET story? Email it to vpmarketing@oregonequestriantrails.org.

Come Celebrate a New Trail Head With Us!

Join the West Valley Chapter for the grand opening of the Upper Nestucca Equestrian Trail Head at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 10, near Carlton, Oregon. This is the only equestrian trail head in Yamhill County. The trails in this new system are open to hikers and equestrians. 

West Valley Chapter member Chris Cummings, who spearheaded the creation of this little gem, will give a short talk at the event, which will last about one hour. This is a great time to check out parking and get oriented to where the trails start, before you bring your equine. Trails are marked with colored diamonds so trail users can easily find their way. Maps will be available at this event. 

The event will last about a hour. Cake will be served, and bottled water will be available at no charge.

No horses, please.

Directions: Follow Meadowlake Rd. 17 miles west of Carlton on Meadowlake Rd. Follow the blue balloons and signs to the trailhead

Creative Trail Maintenance!

Temporary sign

Central Oregon chapter is responsible for about 70 miles of trail in the Swamp Wells system, south of Bend.  This spring, Diana Pyle and Kim McCarrel rode out to install some temporary signs along the Swamp Wells Tie Trail and ended up doing some pretty fancy on-the-spot improvising.  You see, the temporary signs will be replaced this fall by permanent signs hung on treated posts.  But in the meantime, the temporary signs are supposed to be attached to trees.
 
The trouble is, at one intersection there were no trees in the right place.  All of the trees were either too far from the junction to be useful, or they were on the wrong side of the trail, so the arrows on the signs would point the wrong direction.  So, being fairly creative, Diana and Kim scrounged around and found an old fencepost.  Since the ground was frozen and they didn’t have a shovel anyway, they attached the signs to the fencepost and then erected the post using a rock cairn to hold it upright.  
 
Turned out pretty nice, didn’t it?