Forest Service Recognizes Back Country Horsemen for Their Enduring Service

BCHMO members Steve Assenmacher (left) and Bill Winkelmann (right) proudly display their award while standing next to Zone Recreation Officer Darla Rein outside the Forest Service office in Ava, MO.

AVA, Mo. (Sep. 27, 2018) – The Back Country Horsemen of Missouri (BCHMO) were nominated and selected for the Enduring Service Award which recognizes sustained support and engagement with volunteerism and service over many years to the Forest Service.  This group exemplify excellence in their work and commitment to the Forest Service mission.  The nomination was sent to the Region 9 Regional Office in Milwaukee, WI and recipients are chosen at the Regional level which covers eleven states and fifteen National Forests.

The nomination narrative submitted to the Regional Office, which follows below, explains why this group is so deserving of the Enduring Service Award:

In April 2017, the Mark Twain National Forest was affected by a devastating flood event.  Many recreation areas and trails were greatly impacted on the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District (ACWRD).  Recreation connects people to the outdoors and the flood impacted our ability to provide safe recreation.  Assessments needing to be done in expeditious manner and the District knew it would need assistance.  

The Back Country Horsemen of Missouri (BCHMO) have been a dedicated partner for many years and are instrumental in assisting with maintaining these two areas.  

When the flood event occurred and knowing the workload it would be to assess all District trails, all it took was a phone call to Steve Assenmacher and Sherry Copeland of Back Country Horsemen of Missouri to see if they could help.  There was no hesitation at all – the response was when and where do you need us. The ACWRD has 212 miles of trails.  Swan Creek and Bateman non-motorized trail systems have 44 miles between them and BCHMO were very familiar with these areas.  

The type of dedication from BCHMO as a partner is what makes our relationship strong.  The Forest Service can rely on BCHMO.  Their work during the flood ultimately is assisting the Forest with the USDA strategic objective of delivering benefits to the public by providing information so the district can develop a strategy plan for doing maintenance on the trails to provide safe recreation opportunities for the public.

Volunteers are an integral component in accomplishing work across the entire Forest Service.  We thank all of our volunteers for the dedication of being good stewards of the natural resources so our public can enjoy their National Forests.

If interested in volunteering on the Mark Twain National Forest, contact Jane Mobley, Mark Twain Manpower Development Specialist on the Doniphan Ranger District at 573-996-2153 and if interested in volunteering on the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District, contact Darla Rein, Natural Resource Specialist, at 417-683-4428 M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.