BCHBC Chapter Profile: Northwest
The N.W. Chapter is located in the Smithers and northwest area of British Columbia. Our members reside from Fraser Lake to Terrace, and all towns in between. Our meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to June at Smithers Secondary School. Occasionally, we hold meetings in restaurants, halls and around the campfire.
The Chapter was formed in May 1999, with the first meeting taking place at Chandler Park School May 11th with 18 Charter members, five of which are still active members. Our chapter founders were Norma Jean Adzich and Eileen Shorter. They had a vision and a need to give the trail riders a voice in a changing environment and also to have fun, meet new people, provide education, socialize and find new places to ride. The membership climbed steadily, topping at 95, and then falling back to 65-75 for a number of years. The 2014 membership was 36, plus three lifetime members.
To raise funds for our chapter activities we have cleaned Recreation sites, worked the gate and security at hockey games, held raffles and a poker ride. We have provided education to local 4- H groups, promoted BCHBC at local equine fairs and with a display at a local feed store for Horse Week. We have representatives on different local groups like VRAMG and the RAMP. We had An Adopt-a-Trail agreement with B.C. Parks for Lyon Creek Trail in the Babine Mountain Park for 10 years, which now is under a Volunteer Group Agreement. We log our work bee hours for work bees on Lyon Creek Trail to scouting trails and improving regularly used trails before rides. Our favourite places to ride are the Babine Mountains, Hunter Basin, Hungry Hill area, the Kispoix Valley and the Hills, to name a few.
For a number of years, we held our own Mini Rendezvous in the North West. A lot of preparation and planning last year went into our overnight Centennial campout ride to help celebrate Smithers’ 100th birthday. We dressed in period costume and rode a portion of the historic Telegraph Trail route and then through Smithers on the Sunday. Another memorable event was 2007, when we helped Aldermere celebrate its 100th birthday complete with packhorse demos, and selling pie and ice cream from our storefront.
We start the riding season in May with a Kick Off the Season ride, hold an annual Solstice Ride in June, and in October we hold our Thanksgiving Memorial ride. All of these events are followed by potlucks. We have held surprise rides, poker rides, valley bottom rides, mountain rides, packing clinics, Children’s Wish Foundation rides, and sleigh rides in the winter. Over the years we have had a host of educational guest speakers at our meetings with topics including Bear Aware, weed issues, saddle fitting, de-spooking, Leave No Trace, round pen demo’s, movie nights and slide shows highlighting rides members have been on. The past four years we have sponsored the Trainer of the North Challenge at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition which has been a great educational event. Our latest project is to find a suitable area to set up a permanent horse camp.
We welcome new members and new ideas. We also have a Facebook page to list events, post pictures etc.
Northwest Chapter Executive
Secretary/Treasurer: Tom Roper
Board Alternate: Reg Collinwood
Directors - Irene Howard, Eileen Shorter, Jerry Cummings, and Carl Eddy