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History of Kalama Horse Camp

By Judy Smith

Blue Horse Trail was scouted by Lori Bisconner and myself in 1989 with the route approve by the Forest Service in 1990. Volunteer work by Washington Trail Riders on the Blue Horse Trail started June 30, 1991 and was completed July 19,1992. Groundbreaking on Kalama H.C. campsites and corrals by Washington Trail Riders started April 4, 1992 in the snow. The camp loop road had been completed by contract prior to the volunteer work on the campsites and corrals. The 10 campsites and the mounting assist platform for the disabled were completed June 27, 1992. A total of "3029.75 " hours worth $60,237.39 of volunteer labor was provided mostly by Washington Trail Riders with trail help from the Mt. St. Helens Trac-Riders Snowmobile Club, and the newly started Mt. St. Helens Chapter of Back Country Horsemen. The camp was in use that summer of 1992. Rock and gravel were added to each corral, and a perimeter trail built around the camp by WTRA and BCH before the camp dedication on June 5, 1993. I don't believe the contractor completed the Toutle Trail until 1994. The camp has been kept up and repaired each year by a combination of volunteer labor from both WTRA and BCH with BCH taking over the care since 1997. Money collected by donations at the camp is used to buy materials to repair and maintain the campsites.

A proposal was presented to I.A.C. to build a log Shelter at the camp. The shelter was built with volunteer labor from BCH, Mt. St. Helens Trac-Riders, and WTRA. The cement foundation was laid in October and the shelter erected over 3 weekends in November. The volunteers were forced out of the camp by snow after putting on the plywood roof. Forest Service volunteers completed the roofing in May of 1999 while the horse people volunteers started the new Kalama Horse Camp expansion.

Total Volunteer labor hours complied by horse people at Kalama Horse Camp in 1998 were "1560" hours. BCH also contributed 346 volunteer hours cleaning and repairing Lewis River Horse Camp and surrounding trails in 1998. They built the Lewis River camp in 1993 and have been maintaining the camp and trails along with the Kalama camp, every year.

A proposal had also been presented in May of 1998 to I.A.C for matching funds for a Kalama Horse Camp expansion and to build the 8 miles of Fossil Creek Trail. Volunteer horse people broke ground on the new expansion May 15, 1999. We got a late start because of the heavy snow pack. We also had to start from scratch, brushing and building the road before we could work on the actual campsites. A total of 492 volunteer hours of labor (67 volunteer hours of Heavy Equipment by a BCH member) were spent on building the road. We had to stop and wait for the Forest Service to gravel the road before we could proceed with the campsites. The road was finally graveled in late fall. We started brushing out the Fossil Creek Trail 9-28-99. We brushed out approx. 4 miles of trail using 500 volunteer hours. We also maintained Lewis River Camp Ground and surrounding trails and worked on the Siouxon Trail for an additional 62 hours. Work started again March 11, 2000. We started building on the picnic tables and as of June 3, volunteer horse people have put in a total of 1171 volunteer hours at Kalama Horse Camp in this year. We provided the labor to put in the cement sidewalks around the shelter, cleaned and maintained the regular campsites, and repaired corrals. Then, we restarted on the camp expansion. So far, we have built 14 of 18 sets of corrals and grubbed out some of the campsites.

Members of the Mt. St. Helens Back Country Horsemen and Washington Trail Riders have a huge investment of volunteer hours in Kalama Horse Camp and we take great pride in this Camp and the trails we have built.

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