Backcountry Horsemen of California
Los Padres Unit

PO Box 6773, Santa Maria, CA 93456










Historical Footnote About Backcountry Horsemen of California

            In the fall of 1980 Max Cochran was on a trip to Lion Meadows on the Little Kern with three experienced backcountry packers:  Francis White from Woodlake, Howard Glover, and Clovis and Rudy Rudholm of Fowler.  Sitting around the campfire, with Diane and David House from Taft, they talked about the possibility of forming a horse association related to the interests and concerns of stock users in the Sierra that might meet with Forest and Park Service officials on land management plans and user policy.  On the way out they met Don Bedell at Gray Meadow, who was packing out a party at Soda Creek.  They asked don what he thought of such an organization that might support the interests of private and commercial packers.

            After the first of the year 1981, Max and Richard Cochran, Frances White, Don and Phyllis Bedell,, Ray Banks, Bill Wylie, Ray and Eugene Kellog met at the Bedell’s home in Three Rivers for lunch.  Max had prepared some written objectives for an organization and these were reviewed.  They each agreed to ask four or five other backcountry users to a meeting to be held at the State Forester’s office.  Ray Banks was asked to chair the meeting with Max to act as secretary.

            Over 60 people attended this preliminary session which encouraged the attendees to schedule the next meeting.  A few weeks later the first official meeting was held in  Tulare where over 200 attended.  Officers elected were Ray Banks, President; Ray Longley, Vice President; Everett Welch, Treasurer; Max Cochran, Executive Secretary. Dick Cochran wrote the bylaws.

            Spring of 1985 – Representatives of The High Sierra Stock Users and Back Country Horsemen from Idaho, Montana and Washington met in Washington State to initiate the formation of the Back Country Horsemen of America.

            Bylaws were approved and policy statements drafted.  Lloyd Fagerland of Montana was elected Charter Chairman for the organization.  The meeting was held in conjunction with the BCHW state convention.  California Representatives were Everett Welch and Charles Morgan.  Later Board representatives included:  Max Cochran, Jim Wells, Mylon Filkins, Dick Cochran, Ann Lange and Alan Hill.

            In November of 1985 – the first state newsletter was published in Springville, California.  It was called, SIERRA TRAILS and covered, among other items, the CWC’s California Wilderness Conference.  Other names appearing on the masthead have been “Road Apples” 1989 and since 1992 – “Back Country News”.

            The first BCHC rendezvous (convention) was held at the Convention Center in Visalia, California on April 15 and 16, 1988.  There were only 6 units organized at that time which were:  Tulare-Kings (now High Sierra), Kern (now Kern Sierra), Kern River Valley, San Joaquin, Merced, Madera (now San Joaquin Sierra), Mother Lode and the newly formed Mid Valley.  In order to finance the convention each unit was asked to commit $100 for a booth space.  This provided the start up money.  The event was deemed a success and the format with only minor variation remains the same today.