Backcountry Horsemen of California

Header Image of BCHC Members on a Trail.

Educational Program for
Leave No Trace / Gentle Use
Outdoor Skills and Ethics

Wilderness Riders

The Wilderness Rider program is a partnership between Backcountry Horsemen of California, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Wilderness Riders are trained stock users who have made a commitment to educating others about the value of wild lands and the importance of Gentle Use (GU) / Leave No Trace (LNT) skills.

Wilderness Rider Job Description

Wilderness Riders represent the Backcountry Horsemen of California, the Park Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

Their duties are weighted equally between work in the field and workshop presentations. Wilderness Riders are mounted volunteers who ride high use areas educating stock users and others about the value of wilderness and the importance of LNT/Gentle Use skills.

They may also be called upon to monitor trail maintenance needs, maintain trails, conduct on site restoration, trailhead education, field based LNT/Gentle Use instruction and other duties as requested by the agency contact.

Wilderness Riders schedule and deliver educational sessions on how to practice LNT/Gentle Use skills in or out of doors, and could involve hands on demonstrations, skits, slides, videos, and other multi-media presentation tools.

The Wilderness Rider must be able to maintain relationships with the agency partners and community members, schedule their own trips and educational sessions.

color photo of 16 Wilderness Riders holding
          certificates of completion (Stacy Kuhns and Donna Maier wearing Wilderness Rider vests in
          front row)

Wilderness Rider Requirements

Must be committed to practicing and teaching LNT/Gentle Use techniques

Must possess demonstrated skills in public speaking; including the ability to interact with individuals, groups, and diverse audiences.

Possess demonstrated skills in riding stock management and within two years of completing course, demonstrate packing abilities.

Must be 18 years of age or older.

Must provide own riding and pack stock.

Must be accepted into and successfully complete a five day Wilderness Rider training course.

Must annually submit electronic project report forms.

Must perform two mounted field sessions, trailhead education, or backcountry LNT/Gentle Use training.

Must fulfill two LNT/Gentle Use speaking/ teaching workshops per year. Must be able to schedule and deliver workshops on LNT/Gentle Use skills.

Must be able to establish and maintain a working relationship with contacts from the agency partners.

Must attend a refresher course, once every two years.

Selection Procedure

For more information, contact the Wilderness Rider Steering Committee Chair.

The Wilderness Rider program grew out of BCHC’s Gentle Use program. The program’s evolution from teaching Gentle Use to Leave No Trace as well as the people involved in its early development are described in Wilderness Rider History.

The Wilderness Rider Code of Ethics and the description of Wilderness Rider Packing Ability will help you understand more about what is expected of those who become Wilderness Riders.

The The Wilderness Rider Agency Contact Packet contains Frequently Asked Questions, Code of Conduct and Wilderness Rider History.

Documents to help you track and report Volunteer Service Hours for Wilderness Riders: