August 2017

President's Message

After a long hot summer, our first meeting of the fall season will be September 20th at the Taipei Taipei Chinese Restaurant in Brooksville.  We won’t have a speaker, but someone suggested that we do something similar to what we do at the dumb ass campfire at our ranch.  That is, each of you share a few minutes about the dumbest horse related thing you have done recently or at sometime in your life.   

We need to get more trail riders involved in supporting the operations of our organization.  Your current board loves their job, but we do not want to do it forever.  We need new, concerned riders, stepping onto the mounting block with fresh new ideas and to eventually take over the running of Nature Coast BCH.  We would love for you to come and join us.  Bring your horsey friends and meet the rest of us horse crazy folks who care about our trails in this area.   At this general meeting, I would like to hear from riders with any suggestions or ideas for improving our trails or our monthly meetings.  You ask why?  The reason is that we want your experience as a trail rider and a member of NCBCH to be rewarding.    

Mary Lou Patton, NCBCH President

September Meeting

Smith Prairie

Lita Hart, FFS, contacted us asking for suggestions on what to do at the Smith Prairie Trailhead.  She would like suggestions on how to stop the mud bloggers from tearing up the area that we park our trailers.  So far suggestions have been… lime rock or millings (neither of which would hold up) - law enforcement nailing these people - making it like Tucker with an area in the woods with picnic table, fence, and cable across - blacktop (would be pricey), however one of you out there may just know someone who would do it for nothing or cheap -you just never know. Again any suggestions would be much appreciated. 

Croom Recons

There have been a lot of storms and wind this summer.  Starting in September, our Recons will be out in earnest to check their assigned trails for problems that occurred over the summer.  We appreciate their efforts in keeping our trails clear for our riding enjoyment.  If you notice an obstruction somewhere on the trails in Croom, please give Mary Lou Patton a heads up at

Good Neighbor Trail

Construction has begun for both Phase III and Phase IV of the Good Neighbor Trail, which will go through the Withlacoochee State Forest and connect with the Withlacoochee State Trail at the WST south access trail by FR 10. At this point, crews are relocating utilities along Richbarn Rd. for the Phase III section, and clearing trees starting at the State Forest line and heading east beside FR 10. This section is being paid for by Transportation Alternatives funds that were applied for several years ago. When it is complete, probably by late autumn of this year, the Good Neighbor Trail will take WST users ten miles into the heart of Brooksville.  The equestrian trail will be rerouted so that equestrians do not have to cross over that section of the paved GNT. 

Withlacoochee State Trail

The land managers for the Withlacoochee State Trail no longer allows us to use our equipment to clear it.  This is a recent change of policy as for years we have used our own equipment with no problems. On August 23rd, David Mackenzie and Mary Lou Patton will meet with WST land managers to discuss the logistics of using WST equipment.  We will then hopefully set up a date to begin the reopening of the 9 miles of the WST equestrian trail that runs through Hernando County.

Picnic Tables

Recently some regular riders in Croom suggested that it would be nice to have more picnic tables  located in various areas near the Croom equestrian trails as they like stopping in different places for lunch.  Florida Forest Service said they are okay with that as long as we get the site that we pick approved by them.  Let us know your ideas about where you think a picnic table should be located.  They need to be placed in an area where fire will not destroy them and they will be safe from vandals.                                                                                                                      

Ideas for NCBCH Events

Are you interested in having some fun events this riding season?  Things such as a scavenger hunt, poker ride, etc.  The NCBCH board would consider sponsoring these sorts of events as fund raisers if we can figure out where to get reasonably priced insurance to cover these events.  If you have any suggestions on how to obtain insurance or for event fund raising ideas please contact Mary Lou at         

Nature Coast BCH Annual Dues

Effective on August 1, 2017, Nature Coast BCH's dues will be $25 for individuals and $30 for family membership.

New Local Chapter Approved for Suwannee Valley Area

The Backcountry Horsemen of Florida (BCHFL) is pleased to announce a new chapter has been formed to carry on the mission of the BCHFL in the Florida’s Suwannee Valley area.  The BCHFL is the Florida state chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America (BCHA) - an nation wide organization consisting of over 195 state and local chapters dedicated to perpetuating the sustainable recreational equestrian use on our public lands.  

The new chapter, Suwannee Valley Back Country Horsemen (SVBCH) is located Florida’s Suwannee and works with local land mangers in that area. They can be contacted at Please join the BCHFL in welcoming the SVBCH.

Bob Hopta  -  Work or Play?

Fuel Geysers, Beware

Fuel geysers have resulted in injury when sprayed fuel and vapor ignite. Fuel geysers can happen anytime when there is fuel, heat & pressure from small gasoline-powered engines, chainsaws, leaf blowers, portable pumps, even when opening fuel transport containers. 

What do I need to know to protect myself?  To get more information go to:

Ghost Town in Croom


A pillar from an old iron railroad bridge, some foundations, the Thomas House, a brick vat, and several small cemeteries is what is said to remain of the town. You can reach the ghost town with a hike from either Hog Island or the Silver Lake Recreation Area.

see the full article at