Public Lands

Public Lands


Public Lands are the basis for our mission and the reason that Back Country Horsemen of Washington exists. Access for stock users to public lands was seriously endangered in the early 1970’s. Small groups of people in 4 western states recognized the need to organize in order to retain the right to ride. These states created organizations with a mission to advocate for stock use on trails and to provide support to the Forest Service and other agencies by providing volunteer maintenance. These state organizations rapidly coalesced to form a national organization, Back Country Horsemen of America. 

Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) has established chapters and has members all across the state to support the BCHW mission. The tabs located on this website will provide a number of links to resource materials that are necessary to accomplish our mission. Members will be able to find information for work party leaders and recreational rides as well as organizational documents. This Public lands webpage will contain links to webpages for the USDA Forest Service, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management and Washington State Parks.


Before heading out on your next adventure make sure you have all the information you need to have a successful outing.

Current Issues and Updates

Please scroll down to find more information



               Click below for more info:

               Camps on Public Lands



              Click below for info:

              SDA Forest Service Issues Guidance to Manage Future E-Bike Use on National Forests and Grasslands 



              Click below:

              Current Forest Service Volunteer Agreement FY2023



              Letter submitted during comment period on recent issue.

              Click here to read what Kathy Young of BCHW submitted on the Draft 10 Year Recreation Strategy

              Click here to read our updated comment letter regarding Grizzly's

              Click Here to read our comment letter from 2017 regarding Grizzly's




BCHA encourages chapters to review the USFS memo regarding (Best Practices for Managing Stock Use Sites at Developed Campgrounds"

              Then discuss with our local USFS Staff

               Click Here Non-Equine folks camping in Equine camp sites


"Recommended Best Practices for Managing Stock Use Sites at Developed Campgrounds" Published by the USDA

              Click here to download and/or read the document.


If you have comments or questions, please direct them to Kathy Young, your Public Lands Liaison at:

USDA Forest Service Region 6 WA Projects

For those who have not yet seen it, the USDA Forest Service now maintains an online GAOA Legacy Restoration Project dashboard at:
On June 3, 2021 - the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture announced their proposed Fiscal Year 2022 allocations of $2.8 billion in projects, grants and programs authorized in the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to support economies, outdoor recreation, and access to public lands.
Colville National Forest International Selkirk Loop/Selkirks to Surf – Mixed Use Trail Restoration   Trail, Trail Bridge 75,000     WA -05 (congressional dist)
Olympic National Forest Willaby Campground Restroom Replacement WA WA-06 Recreation Site, Facility 250,000  
Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Pacific Crest Trail Access Roads Bridges Trails Road, Road Bridge, Trail, Trail Bridge 330,000   WA-01
Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Mountain Loop Hwy Corridor Enhancement: Bridges, Picnic Sites, Trailheads Trail Bridge, Recreation Site, Trail 322,000 WA-01
Olympic National Forest Quinault Rainforest Trailhead Restroom Replacement WA WA-06 Recreation Site, Facility, Wastewater System 200,000  
06 Gifford Pinchot National Forest Critical Upgrades to Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument WA WA-03 Recreation Site, Facility 275,000
Pacific Northwest Region Regional Office Regional Trails Deferred Maintenance Shared Stewardship (1,500 miles to Standard) OR, WA OR-01, OR02, OR-03, OR-04, OR05, WA-01, WA-03, WA04, WA-05, WA-06, WA08 Trail 1,100,000 
06 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Mountain Loop Highway - South Fork Stillaguamish Roads Trails Bridges WA WA-01 Road, Road Bridge, Recreation Site, Trail, Trail Bridge 1,551,000 
06 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Bridge Repairs and Preservation WA WA-01, WA08 Road Bridge 440,000 
06 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Greenwater Lake Trail Bridges WA WA-01 Trail Bridge, Trail 360,000      
06 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Vault Restroom Replacements - Herman Creek Horse Camp, Herman Creek Trailhead, and St. Cloud Picnic Area OR, WA OR-02, WA03 Recreation Site, Facility 245,000
06 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Heather Meadows Trails Rec Site Deferred Maintenance and Dam Rehab WA WA-01 Recreation Site, Trail, Dam, Trail Bridge 480,000 
06 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Dog Mountain Trailhead Relocation WA WA-04 Facility, Recreation Site, Trail 15,000 
06 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest; Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest Mountains to Sound Heritage Multi Asset Recreation Investment Corridor WA WA-08 Facility, Recreation Site, Road, Trail, Wastewater System, Water System 7,117,707 
06 Gifford Pinchot National Forest La Wis Wis Campground Water System Repairs WA WA-03 Water System, Recreation Site 780,000 
Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest Steven's Pass National Historic Byway-Icicle River Recreation Corridor Improvements WA WA-08 Recreation Site, Road, Trail 450,000    
Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest Selkirks to Surf: North Cascades Recreation Scenic Corridor WA WA-08 Recreation Site, Trail 150,000 
06 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Coyote Wall Trail System Restoration WA WA-03 Trail 240,000 
Pacific Northwest Region Regional Office Routine Developed Recreation Site Deferred Maintenance Projects OR, WA OR-04, WA08 Recreation Site 600,000 
Pacific Northwest Region Regional Office Aquatic Organism Passage Design and Implementation OR, WA OR-01, OR02, OR-03, OR-04, OR05, WA-01, WA-03, WA04, WA-05, WA-06, WA08 Road 500,000 
Colville National Forest International Selkirk Loop - Recreation Area Accessibility & Amenity Improvements - Phase 1 WA WA-05 Recreation Site, Water System, Wastewater System, Facility, Road 1,780,000 
05; 06 Angeles; Cleveland; Deschutes; Eldorado; Fremont Winema; Gifford Pinchot; Humboldt Toiyabe; Inyo; Klamath; Lassen; Mt. Baker Snoqualmie; Mt. Hood; Okanogan Wenatchee; Plumas; Rouge River Siskiyou; San Bernardino; Sequoia; Shasta-Trinity; Sierra; Stanislaus; Tahoe; Umpqua; Willamette; Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Lake Tahoe Basin Mgt Unit Pacific Crest Trail Region 4, Region 5, Region 6 National Deferred Maintenance CA, OR, WA CA-01, CA02, CA-04, CA-08, CA23, CA-25, CA-27, CA28, CA-36, CA-50, CA51, OR-02, OR-03, OR04, OR-05, WA-01, WA03, WA-04, WA-08 Trail, Trail Bridge 2,600,000 
Gifford Pinchot National Forest Forest Service Road 25 Huffaker Bridge Replacement WA WA-03 Road Bridge 100,000 
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Forest Service Road 1400 East Fork Woodard Creek Bridge Aquatic Organism Passage WA WA-03 Road, Road Bridge 65,000         
06 Gifford Pinchot National Forest Trout Lake and Wind River Water and Wastewater Replacement WA WA-03 Wastewater System, Water System, Facility 325,000 
06 Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest Aquatic Organism Passage Design/Construct Mission Restoration WA WA-08 Road 180,000  
Gifford Pinchot National Forest High Priority Safety/Rec Access Improvements - sub grade road repair on 21.5 Miles WA WA-03 Road 1,000,000 
Gifford Pinchot National Forest Trail Bridge Replacements-Bundled WA WA-03 Trail, Trail Bridge 120,000  

Department of Interior National Parks Projects

Olympic National Park Rehabilitate Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge
(dollar amt in thousands) .............................................................................................. 7,029  
Please click here for the link to press release.

Kim McCarrel Article: "If you don't show up, you don't matter"

Please read the article posted in the Riders' Roundup (February 2021) from Kim McCarrel "VP of Public Lands). 

Click here for the link to see "If you don't show up, you don't matter. If you show up, you'll matter."

Current Public Lands Report and Leadership Recording

BCHA Response for e-Bike Use on National Forest Lands

Please review the below link and send questions to our Public Lands Chair (Kathy Young) 

BCHA Response for Public Comment on Draft Directives for e-Bikes Use on National Forest Lands


Teanaway Community Forest Trail Planning Effort Begins

October 15, 2020 Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee Meeting Notes

With the recent completion of the recreation plan in late 2018, the Teanaway Community Forest is poised to become one of Washington’s finest hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and winter snow sports destinations in the state.

Now, the next step, occurring now through spring 2021 is to define and begin to develop a designated trail system for the community forest trail planning and maintenance will build critical early momentum towards future investments in the Teanaway.

The West Fork area of the TCF is the most heavily used and has the densest user-built trail system on the forest. This area will be the focus of this planning process. While the priority will be on the West Fork area, considerations will be made for future trail connections into other areas of the forest.

BCHW members with familiarity and GPS tracks of favored equestrian trail in the Teanaway are urged to share those tracks and information with Kathy Young and Tina Short for incorporation into the trails planning process. Kathy and Tina are currently serving on the sub-committee for Teanaway trails planning.

The Teanaway Community Forest (TCF) is co-managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

As Washington’s first state-administered community forest, the Teanaway Community Forest is legislatively bound to hold five goals in balance of each other:

1. To protect and enhance the water supply and protect the watershed;
2. To maintain working lands for forestry and grazing while protecting key watershed functions and aquatic habitat;
3. To maintain and where possible expand recreational opportunities consistent with watershed protection, for activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping, birding and snowmobiling;
4. To conserve and restore vital habitat for fish, including steelhead, spring Chinook, and bull trout, and wildlife, including deer, elk, large predators and spotted owls; and
5. To support a strong community partnership, in which the Yakama Nation, residents, business owners, local governments, conservation groups, and others provide advice about ongoing land management.”

Washington State Public Lands

 Please practice “No Trace Camping” while enjoying your stay. Also, practice safe campfire use; make sure campfires are completely extinguished and cool to the touch before leaving the forest.

For more information about recreation opportunities on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, please visit or website or contact the District Office nearest you.

Passes and Permits

Passes and permits are a reality of recreating in Washington. Information about necessary passes and permits for the different agency properties are also linked here. (Link permission granted by Washington Trails Association)

Links for our Land Managers

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region 6

Bureau of Land Management

Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources –Recreation  

Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife  

Washington State Parks        Washington State Parks Trails  


Based on the most recent inventory (2014) by Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office all public natural resource and recreation lands total about 43% of Washington’s territory, approximately 19.8 million acres. 

Washington Public Lands Inventory – RCO (2014)

Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s members work actively with the lands managers and with other recreational user groups to maintain trails across the state. We partner with many recreation organizations throughout the state with the goal to build relationships, coordinate work and optimize each other’s strengths. BCHW’s members are invested in making certain that public lands remain open for stock use.

Washington State Public Lands #Recreate Responsibly


We urge you to watch the following video on recreating responsibly.  Please help us in spreading the word.

 Washington Dept. of Natural Resources  For site specific information and status updates go to

Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife  For specific information on restrictions/closures and status updates go to

WDFW has created an online form available for users to report any condition concerns or issues.

Washington State Parks  For a complete list of open and closed parks go to

U.S. Forest Service is continuing to plan for a phased opening later in May, no majors changes to current guidelines have been announced for FS properties and facilities.


Kathy Young, Public Lands Chairman,

E-Bike Regulations

April 2, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced a 60-day public comment period on proposed electric bike, or e-bike, regulations. Their intent being to make it easier for more Americans to recreate on and experience their public lands. This effort is in line with Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s call for the BLM and other Interior bureaus to expand access on public lands to e-bikes.  Given their use of a small (1 horsepower or less) electric motor, the BLM currently manages e-bikes as off-highway vehicles. As a result, there is some uncertainty among e-bike users as to where they may ride their bikes on BLM-managed public land. As a remedy, the proposed rule would amend the BLM’s current off-road vehicle regulations to add a definition for e-bikes, compatible with Secretarial Order 3376, Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes. The 60-day public comment period has commenced and the proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register. The public comment period will end on June 9. You can find the proposed rule at this link here. Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed regulation, identified by the number RIN 1004-AE72, by any of the following methods:

  • Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240, Attention:  RIN 1004-AE72.
  • Federal eRulemaking portal




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