About the Redwood Unit

Philosophy and Purpose:

Backcountry Horsemen of California has the following goals:

  1. To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's backcountry and wilderness.

  2. To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.

  3. To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.

  4. To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the backcountry resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.

  5. To foster and encourage the formation of new units of the organization.

How we got started:

Several concerned horsemen learned about Backcountry Horsemen of California and were inspired by what they heard. Names and addresses of equine lovers all over the area were gathered and post cards sent out to invite people to attend an informational meeting. Charley Morgan, Chairman of BCHC and Fred Chamberlain, Chairman of the BCHC Public Lands Committee, came to a meeting at the Freshwater School on December 16, 1991 to talk about how to form a local unit.

The first official meeting was held on January 24, 1992 and the new unit was named “Redwood Unit.” Nineteen members signed up as the founding group. Meetings are still held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Freshwater School.

The Redwood Unit holds a Pack Clinic at the Ferndale Fairgrounds in February each year as an educational event for anyone interested in learning about the Backcountry Horsemen organization, packing skills, and horsemanship. The Half Ass Flat Catered ride is held the last full weekend in June each year as a fund raiser for Redwood Unit. Other events like parades, fairs, the state BCHC Rendezvous, and rides are participated in each year. The end of the year is celebrated with an awards/appreciation Christmas dinner party on the second Saturday in December.

How we've grown:

The Redwood Unit made connections with local government officials, and began to do volunteer trail and camp maintenance on State and Federal public lands, working together with the BLM, USFS, and other agencies. We have continued to grow and expand our horizons, by starting several memorable annual events. Our main event and fundraiser is the Half Ass Flat Ride. Another annual event is the Packing Clinic, in which our knowledgeable members have the opportunity to educate and interact with the local community. Several of our members pack locally and throughout the United States, often packing invaluable supplies into the remote regions of our nation's wilderness. Some of our members are content to lend their support to our group's causes, without the assistance of an equine. While keeping informed on local, state and federal legislation, we seek to maintain the right to equine use of our public lands.

The Redwood Unit today:

The Redwood Unit is in its twentieth year and still going strong. There are currently 180+ unit members from all over the state of California, as well as a few other states. We meet at the Freshwater school on the first Wednesday of each month January-November, and hold an awards and appreciation Christmas dinner party in December. We have recently joined the World Wide Web, and you can visit our website at Inquiries into membership are always welcome and encouraged. Any questions about our unit, events and membership can be answered by contacting our officers via e-mail, phone or old fashioned snail mail.

Current President: Carole Polasek

Carole is retired after working for 33 years in education at Ferndale High School and College of the Redwoods. She and her husband, Darrel, live in Ferndale and are both enjoying retirement. They have six mules and have ridden and packed in California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon.

"I don’t remember a time I wasn’t in love with horses." Carole rode whenever possible as a child and continued after marriage. Horses at first and then in 1981 she and Darrel started switching to mules. "I love going in the back country as far as possible. Packing into Hancock Lake was the highlight of my summer for years."

Carole and Darrel are both founding members of the Redwood Unit which was established in 1992. Carole has been Secretary and President of the unit in the past, and has served as the Public Lands Chair for the past several years.

Besides her love of horses and mules, the outdoors and back country, Carole also enjoys a variety of crafts, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery, counted cross stitching and sewing.