The Powell River Chapter of BCHBC may be one of the smallest in the province, but this end-of-the-road, rural community has miles upon miles of riding trails. Located at the northern tip of the Sechelt Peninsula, Powell River is a town of 17,000 with neighbouring Texada Island a short ferry ride away. Separated from the city of Vancouver by two ferries and from Vancouver Island by one ferry, travelling to and from equestrian events is expensive and time consuming. Perhaps this is why the club has such a good working relationship with other user groups.
“We have to share, there’s nowhere else to go!”
The Powell River BCHBC chapter formed in the mid 1990’s when Bob and Sharon Sunquist moved to Powell River from Kamloops and introduced BCHBC to the local horse community. Gradually the club’s numbers grew as word spread and over the years the group has become a driving force in developing and maintaining trails and bridges in the backcountry. We are especially proud of our relationship with other user groups. BCHBC has given us a focus and provided us with opportunities to educate other outdoor enthusiasts and learn to work together for the good of all.
With no local veterinarian and hay starting at $480 ton, the “Wet” Coast is not an easy or cheap place to keep a horse. However, our equine numbers are strong! Most of us can ride, for hours, right from our doorsteps without ever doubling back. Beautiful lakes are accessible on horseback and there are also several sandy beaches to lope. We even have our own horse camp on Lois Lake with corrals, picnic tables, fire pit, outhouse and firewood. A true backcountry experience!
We are a participating member of ORUG – Outdoor Recreation Users Group Trail Society. Now before a new trail is developed, all interest groups including the Ministry of Forests and user groups such as Trail Riders, the quad club, BOMB squad (Bloody Old Men’s Brigade), motorcycle groups, hikers, bikers and horse club members get together to discuss best methods. For example, bridges were being built to accommodate quads, but they were dangerous for horses. Now, because we have great communication and understand the specific needs of each group, we are able to collaborate and build something that works for everyone, doesn’t cost anything extra and enhances the great outdoor experience. When logging happens, and it does, the logging companies re-establish our trails for us. Just means a little more sunshine or maybe an ocean view.
The club meets the first Friday of the month at a member’s home. Each member takes a turn hosting a meeting. The Powell River chapter brings it all together once a year for the annual Poker Ride. We’ve held the Poker Ride since the club started. The ride attracts BCHBC members from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, and is always an action-packed day that everyone looks forward to. The ride is our club’s only annual fund raiser and brings in money for our entire year of work parties and supplies for trail building and repair. We also host:
- educational events
- monthly group rides
- backyard or beach cookouts
and attempt to get out for semi-monthly work parties.
In October we have a Halloween party and finish the year off with our Christmas party.
Learning together, being responsible for the environment around us, and caring for each other and our horses is what our club is all about. Horseback riding shouldn’t be dependent upon trailering your horse somewhere so you can ride in a ring.
We want to get on our horses and ride, not just for pleasure, but because it’s part of our heritage. Like hunting and fishing, we have a right to choose, it’s all about being Canadian!