Backcountry Horsemen "Leave No Trace" Trainer Programs

BCHA teaches Leave No Trace principles to stock users.

by American Trails Staff

During the development of the Backcountry Horsemen of America (BCHA) Strategic Plan at Reno in 2004 it was proposed that BCHA become the primary provider for Low Impact training for stock users nationally. During the BOD meeting at Park City Utah in 2005 the Education Committee was directed to develop a Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Program.

The idea was based on the belief that Backcountry Horsemen members were the most qualified to teach LNT principles and practices to stock users. As the program developed it was realized that if BCHA was to become the primary provider for LNT training to stock users our state organizations, affiliates, local units and chapters had to become a primary provider as well

Initially the plan was to work with Bob Hoverson, Camp 9, Wildlands Training Center to train Master Stock Users. The Masters would return to their states and conduct LNT courses for their membership. As the program developed our negotiations expanded to include the School for Outdoor Ethics, which would give the program credibility, provide our trainers with a certificate and allow us to use their guidelines and teaching materials.

During our meeting at San Diego the Education Committee developed a proposed LNT Training Program. The Board of Directors voted to accept in concept the BCHA LNT Training Program proposed by the Education Committee. They directed us to initiate the program after reaching agreement with The Center for Outdoor Ethics and the Wildlands Training Center. BCHA will enter into an agreement with the Center For Outdoor Ethics to follow their guidelines for LNT Trainer Courses and Awareness Workshops. They in turn will issue LNT Trainer Certificates for the successful students. BCHA will also reach an agreement with the Wildlands Training Center for them to provide one Masters Course each year beginning in May of 07.

The program developed under the realization that some of our State Organizations and Affiliates have a very effective LNT Training Program in place. The proposed program is a flexible program designed to identify and meet the training needs of the individual State Organizations, Affiliates and Local Units and Chapters. The overall goal will be to train and prepare LNT Trainers in each State Organization and affiliate to offer LNT Awareness Workshops to stock users and other interested groups.

Initially we will conduct a survey of the State Organizations and affiliates to identify there training needs. The survey will request information on their existing LNT training program, identify their active Masters and Trainers and identify the individual responsible for coordinating Leave No Trace Training activities.

Those that have trained Stock Masters will be encouraged to offer LNT Trainer classes. Those who do not have active Masters within their membership will be encourage to apply for a position in the next Masters Course. Applicants will be given preference if they are members of a state that does not have active Masters and they commit to teaching two LNT Trainer Courses per year for two years. Applicants will be encouraged to attend a Trainer course prior to the Master’s Course. The BCHA Education Committee will select the Master students from the qualifying states and from those who make the necessary commitments.

Under our agreement with the Center for Outdoor Ethics Masters will be certified to conduct Trainer Courses. A Leave No Trace Trainer Course is a modified version of a LNT Masters course. The Trainer Course is shorter, less comprehensive and less expensive to conduct than a Master course. Like Master courses, LNT Trainer courses emphasize skills and techniques essential to LNT minimum impact outdoor ethics and education. The course will be held under the guidelines established by the Center for Outdoor Ethics. Trainer course attendees will be selected by the state organization or affiliate. It is suggested that the students be required to make a commitment to hold at least one Awareness Workshop per year for 3 years. Successful students will be issued a Trainer certificate by the Center after the necessary reports are prepared by the Master Educator and routed to the Center through BCHA.

An Awareness Workshop is any formal LNT presentation that is one day or less in length. The presentation can include a wide variety of programs ranging from a thirty-minute presentation to a daylong workshop. Experimental-based training in an outdoor setting is encouraged. Fees may be charged. Guidelines can be obtained from the Center. The Trainer will be asked to prepare the necessary reports and route them to the Center through BCHA.

Awareness Workshops will be scheduled, planned and held by LNT Trainers and sponsored by local units and chapters. The Trainer will follow The Center for Outdoor Ethics Guidelines with necessary reports routed thru BCHA to the Center.

Trainer courses will also follow the Center’s guidelines with a Master Educator being the principle instructor. The sponsoring state organization or affiliate can charge a fee to cover the expenses of the course. If the sponsor does not a have Master Educator in its membership they can utilize a Master from another state. The sponsor will be expected to cover the Master’s necessary expense.

BCHA Education Committee will initiate a fund drive to raise funds to cover the Master Educator’s tuition. The funds will be routed through the Backcountry Horsemen of America Education Foundation. Donors will be able to claim a tax deduction. ( see the Backcountry Education Foundation article in the BCHA Newsletter Spring 2006).
The BCHA Education Committee will review applicants for the Master’s course with preference given to state organizations and affiliates that do not active Masters or a Master willing to teach a trainer course. Selection will be based on qualifications, experiences and commitment.

This training program is designed to assist Backcountry Horsemen to achieve the Mission of:

  • Educate, encourage, and solicit active participation in the wise and sustaining use of the backcountry resources by horsemen and the general public.

This approach is only the beginning. Adjustments will be made as we adopt the successes of member state organizations and affiliates. Always seeking to meet the training needs of our members and the stock using general public.

The first step will be to formulate a questionnaire that will seek to gather information on the LNT training programs that exist and the active Masters Educators.

There are several issues that remain to be worked out. One of which is the issue of insurance. As Trainer Courses and Awareness Workshops are planned and scheduled the BCHA Education Committee will work with the sponsoring organization to provide the necessary coverage.

Trailside first aid

We love riding out in wilderness lands because they give us escape from development and civilization. But that pleasure comes with a price: it takes us quite a distance away from any veterinarian or hospital. BCHA feels that every rider venturing out in the back country should have at the very least basic human and equine first aid skills so they can handle the most common injuries and emergencies that might happen out on the trail.

BCHA and its state organizations regularly offer workshops of varying length and complexity on handling those situations that you hope will never happen. Human first aid classes include the treatment of burns, sprains, dislocations, shock, hypothermia, dental emergencies, concussion, wounds, and more.

Equine first aid clinics include how to recognize and evaluate a problem with your horse or mule, such as colic, wounds, eye injuries, tack sores, exhaustion, and leg and hoof injures. They also teach participants how to determine a horse’s condition through the assessment of vital signs, listening for intestinal sounds, and testing for dehydration.

Both human and equine first aid seminars include a list of recommended items for your trailside first aid kit and how to use them, ways of improvising found items for medical and veterinary emergencies, and how to make sound decisions in the midst of traumatic circumstances. Having this training is imperative for every back country horseman and might even save the life of your animal or a fellow trail rider.

BCHA Education Committee
Susan Miller, Indiana
Phil Hufstader, Oregon
Steve Didier, Idaho
David Wojick, Virgina
Wayne Pitrat, Arizona
Linda Serdiuk, Wyoming
Becky Wolf, Oregon
Jerry Ledbetter Chair, California

Contact Information

Contact the BCHA

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