Back Country Horsemen of Missoula

P.O. Box 2121 Missoula Missoula, MT 59806


This year the annual state convection was hosted by the Selway-Pintler Wilderness Backcountry Horseman and held at the Bitterroot River Inn and “Boomtown” in Hieronymus Park. As part of the convention our club nominated Gary Salisbury and Richard Tamcke to receive “The Chairman’s Award”.

Gary Salisbury

Gary Salisbury has been involved in several events with the Missoula Backcountry Horseman, both large and small, including acting as chairman for “The Steak Ride” a premiere ride and fundraiser at the Clearwater Game Range for many years  as well as the club’s Christmas party, “Membership Round Up” and “Spring Tune Up”. Gary is a current State director and a past chapter President for the Missoula Back Country Horsemen. But whenever you think of Gary, some of the things that come to mind are of him working with horses, as a volunteer packer, a ride leader, and most of all as a mentor.


Richard Tamcke has also been involved with the Missoula Backcountry Horsemen for some time. He is at every meeting, serving in many roles such as board member and project chair. He not only is the one coordinating trail and volunteer pack projects, but he participates on as many of them as he can. He also is a great ambassador for our organization meeting with agencies like the Forest Service and Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He works closely with the National Smokejumper Association, Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and other groups to coordinate volunteer packing and work projects. He is instrumental in projects like the Burnt Cabin project, the Game Range wire roll-up and the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant. One attribute stands out more than others about Richard; he is a mentor to many.



 Left to Right; Richard Tamcke, Connie Long and Gary Salisbury

 Back Country Horsemen of Missoula Celebrates 40 Years

                                                   By Connie Basham 

Following the vision of the original founding members from the Flathead Valley, it didn’t take much convincing for a few Missoula horsemen and packers joining in kindred spirits, to form the second affiliated chapter of Back Country Horsemen in the early part of 1974.  On April 4-6, 2014 Missoula Back Country Horseman will celebrate their 40th year of affiliation as part of the national organization of Back Country Horsemen of America.   

BCH of Missoula will be sharing this celebration with the Wilderness Association for their 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. 

The unification of these two chapters, later joined by members from Idaho, became the backbone of the Back CountryHorsemen of America, as we know it today.  Thanks to these charter members – Mike Chandler, Smoke Elser, Jim Brogger, Ray Roberts, Chuck Smith, John Lance and Fred Hartkorn, Missoula’s chapter has grown to be one of the largest in the nation. 

Developing a sustained working relationship with many agencies and organizations, Missoula Back Country Horsemen dealt with numerous issues over the decades which threatened stock use on public lands. Issues including trail and trailhead closures and abandonment; access problems; endangered species; user permits; trail sharing disputes; and other land use concerns. 

Working with local, state and federal agencies, BCH of Missoula members have spent countless hours, weeks, months and years pouring over forest management plans,

congressional issues, environmental matters and a host of other concerns facing stock use of the back country.   Vast amounts of time and labor, both human and equine, have gone into building, clearing and maintaining trail systems, trail head facilities, camp facilities, bridges and buildings to protect and promote horse use in Montana.  These efforts have benefited numerous trail users insuring our continued presence while remaining a valued advocate for Montana’s wildland. 

BCH of Missoula/Montana have always been actively involved in wilderness designation and preservation throughout the state. The Missoula chapter was one of many that helped stave off drilling for oil along the Rocky Mountain Front of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, preserving its untouched wildness forever. 

With the objective of educating and encouraging sensible, responsible horse and stock use, Missoula BCH sponsored the Equine Expo for public involvement.   They proudly and actively participate in the use and enjoyment of those successful efforts to uphold our horse heritage in Montana’s back country. 


Upcoming Events

Aug. 21 Annual Summer Picnic, Holt Heritage Museum, 6:00 PM


 Mission Statement

  1. To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness.
  2. To work to ensure that public lands remain open to recreation and stock use.
  3. To assist the various agencies responsible for the maintenance and management of public lands.
  4. To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise and sustained use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.
  5. To foster and encourage the formation of new state Back Country Horsemen organizations.