History of the Four Corners Back Country Horsemen
Founded March 19, 1995

As another event of celebrating 30 years of designated wilderness in the fall of 1994, the USFS and SJMA (formerly known as the San Juan National Forest Association) partnered in hosting a FREE weekend clinic at Sky Ute Downs. “Back Country Horse Sense” was organized and advertised by Tess Lewis-Stransky, Education Coordinator of SJMA, and presented by the USFS, Biff Stransky and Penny Roeder, on March 18-19, 1995.

Biff and Penny presented common sense Leave-No-Trace information and demonstrated packing techniques/equipment with special demonstrations by John Kinkaid and the Region 3 pack string. Other presenters were from our local farrier, George Martin, local vet, Jodie Peterson, local trainer, Edna Van Nort, and local saddle maker, Buck Profit. Many vendors were also there FREE… as a result, approximately 200 horsemen attended. The Budweiser Team was even there!

Horsemen were ready for this event. Too many were still tying to trees, burying their trash, etc. The pressure was on them to change their ways. They knew it, read about it, and came to learn. The last event on Saturday was a presentation by Sandy Fuller from the Rocky Mountain Back Country Horsemen chapter. After informing the audience of the national organization, Back Country Horsemen of America, and the chapters that existed, the crowd was ready to begin another local chapter—the Four Corners Back Country Horsemen. The deal was sealed the following day at noon, March 19, 1995 at Sky Ute Downs. It truly was an exciting time and many life-long friendships began!

The Founding Members

Biff Stransky, founding president, USFS Durango-Bayfield (see photo)
Steve Scott, vice-president
Karen Trimble-Otterstein, secretary
Tess Lewis-Stransky, treasurer

Board of Directors:
Penny Roeder, USFS Pagosa Springs
Chris Martin
Susie Martin

Early founding members:
Ottie Otterstein
Marta Scott
Pete and Elizabeth Testa
Forest and Carol Capps
Jim and Sherri Libby
Charlie and Liz Morris
Larry Zauberis and Sandy Young
Dave and Linda Nistler
Dan and Mary Coulter and others…

Since then, our purpose has been:

  • To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness areas;
  • To work to ensure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use;
  • To assist the agencies responsible for the management of American public lands in meeting their goals;
  • To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the American back country resources by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage and “Leave No Trace” principles; and
  • To foster and encourage the extension of the Back Country Horsemen of America National Chapters network.

Meeting Schedule

Monthly Board Meeting: Board meetings are the first Wednesday of each month starting at 6:30pm. Anyone is welcome to attend. Please contact a board member for location information.

Monthly General Meeting: General membership meetings are the third Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at the Florida Grange at 656 Highway 172 between Durango and Bayfield.

Special Projects

Public Affairs Committee (PAC)

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) promotes 4CBCH mission-driven issues as they relate to federal, state, and local governments, other interest groups and the public. Their strategy is to:

  • Influence public policy
  • Build a positive reputation with all entities
  • Find common ground with stakeholders

If you discover an area that you feel threatens historic equestrian access, a redesigned trailhead, signage designating limited horse access, or if your favorite trail seems to be less equestrian-friendly than it once was, contact a board member.

Bylaws updated 2023