Pigeon River & Beyond - Back Country Horsemen, Michigan

Second Annual "Cowboy Picnic" (2009)

Pigeon River & Beyond, Back Country Horsemen of Michigan
Weekend Ride with our Legislators & BCHMI meeting was held on July 10-12th!
Current membership:  327 (this is tremendous in just 6 months)
Petition Signatures:  paper:  8545:  online:  1343 for a total of 9,888
Current fund balance is about 5300.  This might seem like a large amount, but as was discussed previously it would take $4600 per month to pay for lobbying.  In order to pay for lobbying efforts or for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we need to seek donations from any and all sources.  Your help during events (see below) is critical to accomplishing this task.
A big thank you to all who attended! 85 Members and 12 guests camped and ate.  A total of 13 new members joined during the picnic including our newest legislative members, Representative Kim Meltzer (R) and Representative Andy Neumann (D).
Unfortunately, one of our charter members, Virginia Franklin, took ill and was hospitalized when she expected to be driving to Goose Creek with 4 of her friends.  We are happy to report that Virginia is recovered and back home, but she lost her later husband's horse.  Virginia had been caring for the horse and neglected to take care of herself.  Our sympathy goes out to you Virginia as we all know how dear we hold our equine friends, but we need YOU to be sure to eat!!
Other visitors:  Greg & Denise MacMaster (the weatherman who has filmed some of our meetings);  Jack & Erin Hoogendyk and their son Ben;  Representative Darwin Booher and his wife Jan.  And a wonderful story here:  years ago, the Boohers took a safari trip to Africa.  Also on the trip was Linda Stephens, a member of PRB,BCHMI.  The Boohers and Linda lost contact after the trip but guess what?  They met up at our Cowboy Picnic with lots of hugs!
Thank you to all those who helped make this time special for all our guests!  Many gave their time just to visit, others offered a ride on horseback!  This is what it's all about, and these children are the reason we want to preserve equestrian trails and outdoor activities for future generations. 
John and Diane McConnell donated the hog for our party.  What a generous donation!  Thank you!  The pies that many ladies baked were a great way to end a wonderful PIG GIG barbecue by Jose' Delcastillo!
Many thanks to everyone who contacted area businesses for donations and those who provided items for the silent auction and raffle drawing.  More than 50 items were donated and a total of $618 was raised in the auction which helped to defray the total cost of our weekend event.   THANKS to all who had winning bids!  Please write a thank you note to the sponsors who donated your winning item!
Ellen VanSlyke was the First Prize Winner in the raffle drawing.  Congratulations to Ellen on winning a Turnkey Fryer and to other with winning raffle tickets. 
Maggie (back) & Marieta Davis (camouflaged) helped members Tim & Dawn Gossett register while Gabrielle Hume & Stephanie Gomola labeled auction items.
 In the back:  Karen Bodenbach & Gabrielle Hume.  Around the table:  Tom Casperson, Dick Kleinhardt, Erin Hoogendyk, Pat Stinson, Jack Hoogendyk & Gordon Davis.  Sandi & Norm Seppi at the far right (red jackets).
Karen Fischhaber, Rep. Kim Meiltzer, Jenny Fischhaber riding at Goose Creek.
Representative Kim Meltzer gave us great advice in saying, "Tell your elected officials that we (horse people) are a voting block and we can make a difference in your political career (good or bad)!"  She sent a very nice thank you letter expressing how grateful she is for what we have done and what we are doing.  She promised to take what she learned over the weekend back to Lansing and will work hard to rally support among her colleagues!
This whole legislative process is discouraging because not much has happened yet, but as Tom Casperson says, "We must hang in there!"
HB 4610 with changes was accepted by the Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources committee.  It had gone to the floor for discussion by ALL representatives. 
Please write - or call - your representative TODAY and tell them to please pass this legislation.  If possible, have a one-on-one discussion with your representative or their designated aide. 
SB 578, Right to Ride is before the NAT RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS committee.
*Senator Patricia Birkholz:  SenPBirkholz@senate.michigan.gov
Office Phone (517) 373-3447
*Senator Gerald VanWoerkom:  SenGVanWoerkom@senate.michigan.gov
Office Phone:  (517) 373-1635
Senator Bruce Patterson:  SendBPatterson@sentate.michigan.gov
Office Phone:  (517) 373-7350
Senator Raymond Basham:  SenRBasham@senate.michigan.gov
Office Phone:  (517) 373-7800
*Senator John Gleason:  SenJGleason@senate.michigan.gov
Office Phone:  (517) 373-0142
Clerk:  Joy Brewer;  jbrewer@senate.michigan.gov
Phone:  (517) 373-3447
We need to encourage the senators to pass this bill in their committee to get it to the floor for discussion.

Our Right-to-Ride legislation has far-reaching impact on other economic areas of Michigan.  When you email or write, send copies to senators on these committees:

Senator Jim Barcia:  SenJBarcia@senate.michigan.gov
Office Phone (517) 373-1777
Senator Michelle McManus:  SenMMcManus@senate.michigan.gov ;
Office Phone (517) 373-1725
Senator Alan Cropsey:  SenACropsey@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-3760
*Senator Jason Allen:  SenJAllen@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-2413
Senator Michael Prusi:  SenMPrusi@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-7840
Clerk:  Jennifer Barnes:  JBarnes@senate.michigan.gov : 
Phone (517) 373-1777
*Senator Jason Allen:  SenJAllen@senate.michigan.gov;
 Office Phone (517) 373-2413
*Senator Judson Gilbert II:  SenJGilbert@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-7708
Senator Tony Stamas:  http://www.senate.michigan.gov/stamas : 
Office Phone (517) 373-7946
Senator Hansen Clarke:  SendHansenClarke@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-7346
Senator Tupac A. Hunter:  SenTAHunter@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-0994
Clerk Christopher Glass:  cglass@senate.michigan.gov;
Phone (517) 373-2413
*Sen Gerald VanWoerkom:  SenGVanWoerkom@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-1635
*Senator Judson Gilbert II:  SenJGilbert@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-7708
*Senator Patricia Birkholz:  SenPBirkholz@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-3447
*Senator John Gleason:  SenJGleason@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-0142
Senator Gretchen Whitmer:  SenGWhitmer@senate.michigan.gov;
Office Phone (517) 373-1734
Clerk:  Jordan Hankwitz:  jhankwitz@senate.michigan.gov;
Phone (517) 373-1635
*Names indicate that senator is on more than one committee.
SB 496:  Bridle tag fees is still in Senator Patricia Birkholz's committee.  Senators Birkholz'  John Gleason;  Bruce Patterson;  Gerald VanWoerkom.  Their names are listed above for email and phone numbers.  Considering the fact that there are diminished trail riding opportunities here in Michigan, PRB,BCHMI is withholding support of this legislation until equestrian trails are secured through HB 4610 and SB 578. 
Please continue to write to senators on these committees and send a copy to YOUR senator.  The mailing address for ALL senators is:  Honorable Senator Name, Post Office Box 30036, Lansing, MI  48909-7536.
Many Senators and Representatives have terms that will be expiring in 2010.  They will be starting to campaign for other offices and will need citizen support to get elected or re-elected.
Charlotte Frontier Days:  September 11-13  www.charlottefrontierdays.com Kathy Lawless has taken the lead on this.  We will have an information booth Friday, Saturday, Sunday and we will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets Saturday and we will keep proceeds.  We need several teams or individuals to sell the tickets.  You are invited to participate in the parade as well.  Kathy's email is:  brokerdew@hotmail.com her phone is:  517-202-9688.
Next Meeting is Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 1 p.m. at Jay's Sporting Goods Store in Clare, MI.
We have all heard that appearances are everything and in our battle to regain lost land and trails, we must be ever diligent in our actions and land use.  More than a matter of manners, trail and camp etiquette helps ensure safety for horses, riders, and non-riders.  It also serves to reduce the impact of our land.  Most important is - Leave No Trace.  That might sound hard to do, but it means following these principals:  Plan and prepare'  Travel and camp on durable surfaces;  Dispose of waste properly;   Leave what you find;  Minimize campfire impacts;  Respect wildlife;  Be considerate of other visitors.  For details on these, go to the BCHA website:  www.backcountryhorse.com/Leave_No_Trace.html
Here are some tips from other associations an websites:
  • Stay on designated trails
  • Close all gates that you open.
  • Do not chase or bother livestock or wildlife.
  • Respect private property and other trail users.
  • Clean up manure and uneaten hay from picket and/or coral areas.  If possible, pack it out.  If there is a designated location, gather it and put it there.  If there is no bunker, spread the hay and manure away from camping and picket areas to allow for natural decomposition.  Do NOT pile old hay or manure against trees as this will kill the tree.
  • Cross rivers, creeks, and streams ONLY at designated location.  No entering or leaving waterways in any manner that damages the bank or undergrowth!
  • If non-horse people are present in waterways, ask permission to enter the water before crossing.  If person are fishing, wait patiently until they can retrieve their fishing equipment and move to a safe location.
  • Do not bathe horse OR people in waterways.
  • Avoid letting your horse rest in or adjacent to, bodies of water to prevent compromising water sources.
  • Avoid insect repellents on horse when accessing waterways to prevent residue being left in water.
  • Use a collapsible bucket to water your horse rather then ride into a stream or pond if you are not crossing the waterway.
  • If a horse stopes to drink while crossing, wait until all horses have finished before moving on.
  • WALK your horse THROUGH muddy spots instead of going around them.  If you absolutely must go around a particularly bad spot, go to the uphill, rather than downhill side.
  • Avoid riding side-by-side in open areas.  This causes "trail braiding" and leads to more erosion than a single track would cause.  On 2 tracks or roads this is not a problem.
  • Wear hunter orange if riding during any hunting season, attach bells to your tack.
  • When bicycles, back packers, or toher users approach on a trail, ask them to speak to you.  This allows the horse to understand they are people and pose no danger.
  • If you have a dog with you, keep the dog on a leash and on the trail.  Other horse may not be comfortable with dogs darting in and out of the underbrush.  Comply with local rules. 

Our First Cowboy Picnic! (2008)

Deanna Stamp, State Representative Joel Sheltrown, Dick Kleinhardt,
Larry Kleinhardt, Connie Kleinhardt, Norma Laine and Judy Kleinhardt


Norm Seppi, Deanna Stamp, Dick Kleinhardt, State Representative Joel Sheltrown


NRA Lobbyist Darin Goens, Deanna Stamp, Sandy Seppi ,Rand Smith, Norma Laine,

Dick Kleinhardt, Norm Seppi & Rep. Tom Casperson with Jacob and Maggie in the forefront.


Maggie and Stephanie


Norm Seppi and Representative Tom Casperson


Jacob and Deanna Stamp

 Deanna Stamp and Darin Goens

 Representative Joel Sheltrown, Ron Beyer and Cynthia Kieliszewski

Rep. Elsenheimer and his family ready to eat roasted pork loin and many other goodies!

We also had a huge cake to celebrate Father's Day!

Dave Gomola, Stephanie and Darin Goens


Rep. Elsenheimer and family join Cowboy Picnic and talk with group about restrictions placed on equestrians in Pigeon River.  Over 50 members from Waterloo Horsemen's Group along with land owners from surrounding area of the PRC were eager to express their concerns.