Dozens of equestrian enthusiasts from around Wyoming are expected to convene on the Pole Mountain Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest next weekend to explore the trails via horseback.
The Pathfinder chapter of Back Country Horsemen of America is hosting the 2020 Wyoming State Rendezvous from July 31-Aug. 2. The rendezvous will headquarter at the Happy Jack Trailhead, which has a large horse corral nearby. The national forest also has plenty of room for dispersed camping and miles of trails for riders of all abilities.
Chapter president Diedra Homann said this is the first time the group has held its statewide meeting in the Laramie area.
“The yearly rendezvous is at a different location every year, and we try to showcase a different area,” she said.
The Wyoming branch of Back Country Horsemen of America has seven regional chapters, though none in southeast Wyoming.
The weekend is set to include a trail obstacle competition, group trail rides, group meals and entertainment. Events are open to members only.
Homann described Back Country Horsemen of America as a grassroots volunteer group that focuses on maintaining access to public lands. They spend much of their time performing trail maintenance in partnership with land management agencies.
“We have a number of volunteers and we go up and clean trail,” she said. “We might be cutting logs out of the way, we might be rebuilding bridges. We might be working in the corrals. The Forest Service typically does not have enough people to do all of that.”
The group also promotes sustainable non-motorized recreation on public lands.
“If people don’t start doing something, you won’t have anywhere to ride,” she said.
The Pathfinder Chapter, which is based in Casper, focuses its efforts on trail maintenance in the Laramie Peak area, which is in the northern part of the Medicine Bow National Forest. The group also works on trails on the Thunder Basin National Grassland in northeastern Wyoming and Duncan Ranch near Glenrock.
Homann said she typically carries tools with her on horseback rides in case she encounters trail damage.
“It’s a mind-set — keeping the trails open for everyone,” she said.