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The SJBCH First Meeting of 2016 Program ​- Trail Projects

The program was a Review of the 2015 Trail Projects worked on and discussion of Trails Projects that we would like to tackle during 2016 presented by John and Lisa Nelson.  John is our SJBCH Forest Service liaison and with help from his wife Lisa they created a wonderful power point presentation with pictures of past projects and many SJBCH members and members from other BCH chapters from southwest Colorado and friends that have helped over the past year!  John talked about each slide and gave lots of information about what was happening in the slides and more.  I am sorry I didn't get any good pictures of John and Lisa presenting, the lights were off for the power point and did not allow for good pictures.  It was very obvious from the wonderful turnout that we had for our January meeting that our members are very interested in what was accomplished in 2015 and what the proposed 2016 Trail Project Plans are.   We had 35+ members and friends at the meeting and 5 were new members!!

The SJBCH 2016 Updated Trail Projects - June 22nd

Trails folks:

The season’s off to a good start. We’ve completed a far amount of work already on our 2016 trails project list, which is great.
We (San Juan BCH) have been asked to help pack in a Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) trail crew’s gear on August 15th for the Squaw Lake Trail brushing and clearing project scheduled for August 15 to 19. This important project is on the Divide Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest near Creede. As you may know, VOC has advertised and filled this Squaw Lake Trail project (!), where Ute Creek Outfitters of Creede will pack the crew of twelve people in from the Thirty Mile Stock Unloading Area to the camp area near Squaw Lake, below the Continental Divide. Working from this camp, the VOC crew will brush out several miles of the trail that are now so overgrown that it is difficult to find the trail in some areas and hard to get through either on foot or a horse. This project will be a good one, as it keeps an important Continental Divide Trail access route open. We were amazed at how quickly this VOC project booked up when it was opened in early May – folks are looking forward to this one! We can use about four or five more pack animals for the August 15 pack-in. We’ll likely spend the night at the SquawLake site on the 15th and come out on the 16th. Additionally, we’ll hope to pack the crew’s gear out on August 19th. So we need your help!
Prior to the VOC work trip, we will be doing advance clearing on the Squaw Creek Trail, where San Juan BCH will stage at the Thirty Mile Stock Unloading area on Monday, July 18th (this is a date change from our previously scheduled trip!) for the purpose of opening the Squaw Creek Trail ahead of the Squaw Lake Trail project in August. On either late Monday or early Tuesday we will work our way up the Squaw Creek Trail (some riding, some hiking) removing a large boulder at MP2, and then we will set up camp at the bridge at MP6. From there we will need two work groups - one group of 4 or 5 people to cut and peel spruce poles in the area for repair of the rails on the bridge, and a second group of about 6 crosscut sawyers and helpers to clear downed trees off about a two- mile section of the Squaw Lake Trail just above our camp. We also need some folks to serve as day wranglers at the bridge campsite, and if anyone’s interested in serving as a cook at the campsite that would be great. Pack stock will haul all our gear to camp. We will be limited to 25 ‘heartbeats’ (combined people and animals), so our group can’t be real large. We’ll plan to come out on either July 20 or 21. Several folks from the Divide Ranger District will join us, including Lead Wilderness Ranger Lisa McClure and her two Wilderness Rangers. This should be a fun project, and a great opportunity to see a neat new area of the Weminuche Wilderness, meet new folks, do a little fishing or relaxing, and get some neat work accomplished. The trail to the bridge (~ 6 mi) is mostly Easy with a few Moderately Difficult sections. Hope you can join us. Will you please let me know ASAP if you’re interested?

Please, no dogs on either of these trips.
Also, we’d note that the August 15 work trip is a conflict with our planned Williams Creek gravel project on the same dates. We had hoped to avoid this, but schedules cause us to do things this way.
As I’ve mentioned in previous messages, please join us in any or all of our trail work this year. We don’t want to hound folks as we ask for help, and so we look
to your contacting us if you’d like to get involved in a project.

John Nelson


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***  NOTICE ***


Hunting Trip 42 years Ago Nets Chapter $500 Donation

San Juan Back Country Horsemen owe a big thank you to Randy Riggs, owner of Riggs Trucking in Creede. Randy graciously donated a truckload of gravel and delivered it to the Thirty-Mile Stock Unloading Area west of Creede, where the chapter has been working to improve this popular horse-staging area.

The value of Randy’s donation is estimated to be about $500.

The gravel will be used to provide a safer crossing of a Rio Grande River drainage that is part of a new trail that SJBCH has laid out so that horse riders can access the Weminuche and Squaw Creek trailheads without having to ride along the busy road to the Rio Grande Reservoir. Some of the gravel also will be used to fill large potholes at the Thirty-Mile SUA.

As soon as water levels permit, SJBCH will schedule time at the area to do the gravel work (and do some riding). So, stay tuned—we need your help.

The background of how this donation came about is a fun story. But to enjoy the tale with full color commentary, you should hear it first-hand from Vern Jahnke, immediate past president of SJBCH. Back in 1973, Vern drove to Creede in his brand new Chrysler Town and Country station wagon. He and his buddy Lyle were on a hunting trip, and the mountains were something new to these Cheeseheads from Wisconsin. Vern drove his new vehicle up into the hills and as it got steeper and steeper, Vern said he couldn’t see past the huge hood of the wagon, so he had Lyle lean out the passenger side window to keep an eye on the road.


"HUNTING TRIP" continued....

Eventually, they couldn’t drive any farther without doing serious damage to the vehicle, so they parked and took off on foot. Vern got his deer but was in a pickle as to how to get his deer off the mountain. He and Lyle headed back to the Town and Country wagon to drive into Creede to look for a pack horse. Along the walk back to the car, Vern met a grizzled fellow in an Army Jeep who commented on some idiots who tried to drive a Town and Country wagon with Wisconsin license plates up the mountain. When he asked Vern and Lyle where they were from, Vern replied, “Pennsylvania.” The Jeep driver saw that Vern and Lyle were parched and told them he had two jugs of water in the back of the Jeep but advised them not to drink the one that said “radiator.”

Once rehydrated and back in Creede, Vern was directed to a fellow named Gene Riggs, who let Vern use his best horse to pack out his deer for a $25 fee. Vern retrieved his deer and returned the pack horse the next day.

Fast forward to this year. Vern was trying to find where he could get some gravel for the Thirty-Mile SUA project and was given Randy Riggs’ name. They hooked up, got to talking and realized Randy was the son of Gene Riggs, who loaned Vern the pack horse 42 years ago.

Randy must have thought it was a pretty good story, too, because next thing Vern knew, Randy offered to donate the gravel and haul it to the work site. SJBCH President Tara McElhinney followed up and sent a grateful thank-you letter to Randy, but if you’re ever in Creede, it would be nice to stop by Riggs Trucking with a personal “thanks” to Randy.

Submitted by Lisa Nelson

Below a slideshow from the Palisades Horse Campground

just north of Williams Creek Reservoir which is north on country rd 600 from Pagosa Springs, CO.


Below some pictures of work on the 30 Mile Stock Unloading area in 2014 with the article  that goes with the pictures to the right! 

Below a slideshow of some of the trail work done in 2014.....

​​Anderson Trail May 31, 2014

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​MARCH 2015

Lisa McClure – Divide Ranger District presenting to Tara McElhinney, SJBCH - President,

Lisa awarded our Club with a certificate of appreciation for all the work the SJBCH have done.  Adopting the Archuleta trail and the 30 mile trail!!!  She had wanted the trail put in from the stock unloading area for the last 20 years!!!! 




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