16. December 2022 · Comments Off on That First or Special Horse – Some of our member share theirs · Categories: Member Profiles

Rob Adams – My first horse was a pony named Little Spot who was all white with a brown head and a blue and brown eye in 1956.  I rode him bareback most of the time as I was to lazy to bother with a saddle.  Rex arrived in 1959 and always was saddled as he would test his rider and was know to bolt for almost any reason (he force me to be a better rider) and Kelly as a foal in 1963, the first horse I trained.  We lived in SW Michigan in a area that was mostly fruit farms (both active and inactive) providing lots of places to ride.  They are all subdivisions now!

Janine Townsend – That’s me and Topsy when I was about 6 years old. And an added bonus….me and the cat when i was about 4 yo!  Janine grew up around the Silver City area of Idaho.
Lisa Griffith – This is my first pony, Sugar

I’m the tall one on the right!

Ellen Knapp –  on her horse Amber in 1995

Phil Ryan – with his beloved mustang “Wild Bill”

Charles Chick – His Arab “Sara”

Heather Donesky – Me and my cousin on my older sisters horse, “Boots”

Also not my horse, but a horse I borrowed while we lived in Fiji for 8 months.

The school work horse, Monteruku . Circa 1975  Heather

Scott Morgan – with “Molly” and “Justice”

Linda Hughes – His name was Artful Dodger, we called him Art. 1985

Terry Macdonald – Horse was named Skeeter, and the year was around..1963

Helen Pline – This is Tucker. Arabian/Thoroughbred. He was 32 in this picture. Miss him.

21. October 2022 · Comments Off on John Bush (Updated) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Member Profiles

This past weekend past member of our chapter John Bush passed away.  He was in the Landmark area doing some trail clearing with Joe Williams.  When they got back in camp, John mentioned to Joe that he was feeling very tired and needed to sit down.  Joe said that John appeared to fall asleep and shortly after stopped breathing and died.  John and Jackie were members of our chapter in the early 2000’s.  This is Jackie’s contact information:  Jackie Bush, 6700 Sage Canyon Way, Star, ID  83669

Star, Idaho – John Michael Bush, 69 years old, of Star, Idaho, passed away on October 15, 2022 in the mountains of the Idaho wilderness that he loved.

Mass of Christian burial will be Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Benedict Church in Atchison, Kansas, with Fr. Jeremy Heppler, OSB as celebrant. Interment will follow in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be Friday, Oct. 28, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home.

John was born on December 23, 1952, in Atchison, Kansas, the son of Francis Miller Bush and Mary Elizabeth (Langan) Bush. He graduated from Maur Hill Prep and then the University of Kansas with his B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He remained an avid Jayhawk his entire life. Following graduation, he departed Kansas for Texas and began his long career in semiconductor design working with leading companies in the burgeoning electronics and computer industries. Though his path never led back for more than visits, John was always a steadfast Kansan and son of Atchison.

He and Mary Louise (Jackie) Bush were united in marriage on April 18, 1981, in Leon Springs, Texas.

John was endlessly curious and always testing or investigating new thoughts. Throughout life, he pursued serious interests in photography, horsemanship, outdoorsmanship, woodworking, gardening, skiing, and snorkeling. He had a flair for repairing machinery and electronics, as well as building and renovation, and never failed to share his talents with those around him. John was also a member and past president of the Backcountry Horsemen of Idaho where he led members on trips deep into the mountains and maintained trails used by all entering the backcountry.

He is preceded in death by his parents and siblings, James “Jim” Bush, Robert “Bob” Bush, Charles “Charlie” Bush, Thomas “Tom” Bush and Dorothy Bush.

John is survived by his wife, Mary Bush, of Star, ID; a daughter, Kathryn L. “Katie” and her spouse, Travis Field, of Seattle, WA; a son, James C. and his spouse, Caitlin Bush, of Olympia, WA; his grandson, Samuel M. Bush; four sisters, Elizabeth Adams, Virginia Lefler, Barbara Bush, Mary Lou Weatherford; and one brother, Richard Bush.

Published by Emmett Messenger Index from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, 2022.

John’s Wife Jackie

Pictures provided by Ellen Knapp

05. December 2021 · Comments Off on Val Johnson – Visionary and founder of Back Country Horseman of America · Categories: Around The Campfire, Member Profiles

Val Baker Jonhson, husband, father, brother, friend, grandfather, packer, mule-man, teacher, and political scientist passed away Friday morning, November 12, 2021, at Grace Assisted Living in Twin Falls, Idaho with his family by his side.

Val was born in Nampa, Idaho on March 6, 1941, to Marie Baker and Lafe Gwilliam Johnson. He was raised in Cascade and joined by sister Sharon and later, brother Joe. Being older, Val was their caregiver and backbone of the family for many years. As a youngster, he traveled to the backcountry with his dad, uncles, grandpa, and grandma to the Snowshoe Cabin area, many summers herding sheep.

Val graduated from Cascade High School in 1959 and went to Brigham Young University that fall. The second semester he tried the University of Idaho but did not like beer, so transferred back to BYU and graduated in 1963 with a degree in Political Science. Figuring he would get drafted, he enrolled in the US Air Force Officer Training School in San Antonio, Texas in November of 1963. Thereafter, he was assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) HQs at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska as a 2nd Lt. Photo Intelligence Officer. It was here that he met Stephen P. Mealey with whom he would later partner and run an outfitting and guide business in Salmon. Val was sent to Vietnam from December 1965 until December 1966. Upon his return, in his new blue GTO with white leather interior, he made it to Offutt AFB for a New Year’s Eve party where he first met Sara Lee McConnell, also an AF Intelligence Officer.

Val and Sara were married on June 9, 1967, at the Offutt AFB Chapel. Their USAF obligations were met within two weeks of each other in February of 1968 at which time they moved to Salmon, Idaho, and with Steve Mealey, started Nez Perce Outfitters and Guides. Big-game hunting and summer float and pack trips were the results. Val and Sara bought 120 acres on the Salmon River, which was ideal for keeping pack string animals and later Hereford cows and pigs. Val and Steve sold the outfitting business in 1971 and Val opted to go to Idaho State University to get his teaching certificate in Social Studies. He kept the float business for a few years and continued his many backcountry explorations.

Daughters Laurie and Suzie were born in 1968 and 1969, respectively, and they all lived in the old log house. The pastures were irrigated via ditches from a pipeline just south along the Salmon River. Wheel lines were added when the kids were gone! In 1971, they built a house east above the highway, and Erik came along in 1974.

For the 25+ years that Val taught at Salmon High School, his voice rang through the hallways. The relationships that he developed with students and faculty went beyond the classroom and continued throughout his life.

In 1978, Val was instrumental in joining three Montana state chapters of Back Country Horsemen, with a newly formed Salmon River Back Country Horsemen, the first in Idaho. Val, Dave Couch, and Richard Smith were the visionaries for the future Back Country Horseman of America. Now in 2021, there are 212+ chapters in 32 states with roughly 13,000 members throughout the US and Canada.

Val’s extreme love of the backcountry and his mules were part of his DNA. His favorite mule, Reuben, carried him thousands of miles and still carries his grandchildren today. He shared his appreciation of mules, hunting, and the backcountry with his children and grandchildren. Lick Creek hunting camp and fellow riding companion stories abound to this day.

From plaza backgammon games in Turkey, travel to India, visiting Suzie wherever she was stationed, 30 days with Cole in South Africa, rodeoing with Erik, and attending high school sports with grandchildren, Val so enjoyed seeing different places and varied cultures. In 2009, Val and Sara purchased a second home in Arizona, where his pace slowed to the desert and warmer climate.

Val is survived by wife Sara of 54 years; daughter Laura Marie (Bill) Lickley of Jerome, Idaho, grandchildren Valene Marie Lickley and Cole Johnson (Anna) Lickley; daughter Suzanna Kay Hardy and grandsons Andrew Johnson Hardy and Kyle William Hardy; and son Erik McConnell Johnson of Eltopia, Washington, and grandchildren Tiegan Grace, Tessa Faith, and Traver Imes Johnson. He is also survived by his sister Sharon (Joe) Stippich of Weiser and half-brother Joe (Marla) Worthington of Red Oak, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Salmon Public Library or your favorite educational or outdoor charity in memory of Val.

BCHA Announces 2012 Legacy Award Winner

Back Country Horsemen of America leads the nationwide effort to preserve trails for horse use, not only for today’s equestrians, but also for tomorrow’s. They seek to leave an inheritance to future generations; a legacy of responsible enjoyment of America’s wild lands the way our forefathers did: by horseback.

With that goal in mind, Back Country Horsemen of America selects an individual member each year whose numerous contributions, made over many years of dedicated membership, exemplify their mission and values. In 2012, BCHA chose Val B. Johnson of the Salmon River Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho.

There From the Start

Val was an organizing founder of Salmon River Back Country Horsemen in Idaho in 1978, the fourth group in the original BCH organization, and the first outside of Montana. Val joined the presidents of the three Montana groups (the Flathead, Missoula, and Bitterroot BCH), to outline a proposal for uniting the existing groups into a formal organization. The presidents presented their plan at the first BCH annual convention in Kalispell, Montana, on March 17 and 18, 1979.

That weekend, Back Country Horsemen was born, with stated purposes that Val helped draft: 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 recreational stock use; 3) to assist the agencies responsible for the management of public lands; and 4) to educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise and sustaining use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage. Over the years, slight updates were made, and a fifth was added: to foster and encourage the formation of new state Back Country Horsemen organizations.

In March, 1983, Val was elected Vice Chairman of Back Country Horsemen. He took the Chairman’s seat a year later, with the goal of affiliating with Washington Back Country Horsemen and the High Sierra Stock Users Association of California. Val was also very involved in the drafting of the BCHA constitution, which was adopted in 1986 by representatives of the groups in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and California. The organization officially became Back Country Horsemen of America.

In 1989 and 1990, Val was again elected Chairman. He served on the BCHA National Board of Directors through 1991, and again from 1999 until 2011. Val was also Chairman of the Visions Committee for a number of years, and the unofficial historical and constitutional watchdog.

Many Roles of Service

Born in Nampa, Idaho, and raised in Cascade, Val spent his early years with his father and grandfather at Snowshoe Cabin at the head of Pistol Creek in the Idaho Primitive Area. After college in Utah, he worked one year as the Sulphur Creek Patrolman on the Landmark District of the Boise National Forest. That fall, he attended Officer Training School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He served in Vietnam from December 1965 to December 1966 as an intelligence officer.

Upon returning from Vietnam in 1967, he and a fellow officer from Oregon bought an outfitting and guiding business, offering big game hunts and summer float and pack trips out of Salmon. They sold it in 1971, but retained the summer float and pack trip portion of the business. After earning a teaching certificate, Val began teaching social studies in the Salmon High School in 1972.

Driven by his love for the former Idaho and Salmon River Breaks Primitive Areas, along with the Middle and Main Salmon Rivers, Val became involved with the management of those areas, and eventually became dedicated to promoting the use of horses and mules on public lands.

About Back Country Horsemen of America

Back Country Horsemen of America commends Val B. Johnson of the Salmon River Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho for his outstanding example of commitment and dedication to the vision and principles of BCHA. They encourage horsemen from coast to coast to allow his accomplishments to be an inspiration and encouragement to achieve their goals for protecting our right to ride horses on public lands.

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes regarding the use of horses and stock in the wilderness and public lands.


23. March 2021 · Comments Off on Kurtis Stutz – Squaw Butte member · Categories: Member Profiles

Kurtis H Stutz Obituary

October 8, 1965 – March 19, 2021 (55 years old)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Kurtis H Stutz (Nampa, Idaho), who passed away on March 19, 2021, at the age of 55, leaving to mourn family and friends. Leave a sympathy message to the family on the memorial page of Kurtis H Stutz to pay them a last tribute. You may also light a candle in honor of Kurtis H Stutz.

Kurtis and partner Susan Hobbs joined Squaw Butte in January of 2019

From Friend David Benson

Kurtis could tie knots. His dad was an outfitter in montana so he grew up packing. He studied a map for a few days, packed his stock and rode from red lodge montana to Stanley idaho without a map.

01. March 2019 · Comments Off on Lorraine Joyce Genzmer – BCHI Cache Peak · Categories: BCHI /BCHA, Member Profiles


28. September 2018 · Comments Off on Charles “Devon” Mills – December 26, 1962 ~ September 25, 2018 · Categories: Current Events, Member Profiles

C. Devon Mills, 55, Emmett, (formerly of Eagle) Idaho, passed away Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Devon was born December 26, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, raised in Twin Falls, Idaho and graduated from Filer High School, Class of 1981. He married his high school sweetheart Allison Whitney in 1984, had two children Brianne and Brandon and later divorced. Devon spent the past 16 years with his loving companion Linda Erickson.

Linda Address:  Linda Erickson: 6727 W. South Slope Rd, Emmett 83617Devon was a proud member of Boy Scouts, 4-H, FFA, local pool leagues, the Twin Falls and Caldwell Elks Lodges and Back Country Horseman. He was employed by Amalgamated Sugar for 36 plus years.Survived by: Linda Erickson, Ruth “Mom” Mills, brothers: Randy, Claude “Butch” (Teri), Keith (Amy); sister: Cheryl (Scott) Taylor, Wallace “Creep” Farnham; birth mom: Toni Farnham; children: Brianne (Armando) Guzman, Brandon (Ashley) Mills, Carlee (Michael) Olivera, Ryan Erickson; and mother of his children Allison Chapman; Grandchildren; Anthony, Enzo, Harper, Jadyn, Drake, Brooklyn, and Ryder; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.Preceded in death by: his Dad Justin Clark Mills, Grandparents Clark and Eleanor Mills, Charles and Thelma Tippett, Elsie Kenyon, Vern Osborn and Step Dad Wallace Farnham Sr.Devon loved spending time with his family camping, hunting, fishing and riding. His children and grand children brought so much love and joy to him and were the highlight of his life. Some of his best days were the miles he spent on his mules riding in the mountains.Services provided by Cloverdale Funeral Home; Boise, Idaho. A celebration of life will be held 3:00 PM on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at Caldwell Elks Lodge.  Caldwell Elks Lodge #1448, 1015 N Kimball Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605  MAP

Make Me No Grave

Make me no grave within that quiet place
Where friends shall sadly view the grassy mound,
Politely solemn for a little space,
As though the spirit slept beneath the ground.

For me no sorrow, nor the hopeless tear;
No chant, no prayer, no tender eulogy:
I may be laughing with the gods–while here
You weep alone. Then make no grave for me

But lay me where the pines, austere and tall,
Sing in the wind that sweeps across the West:
Where night, imperious, sets her coronal
Of silver stars upon the mountain crest.

Where dawn, rejoicing, rises from the deep,
And Life, rejoicing, rises with the dawn:
Mark not the spot upon the sunny steep,
For with the morning light I shall be gone.

Far trails await me; valleys vast and still,
Vistas undreamed of, canyon-guarded streams,
Lowland and range, fair meadow, flower-girt hill,
Forests enchanted, filled with magic dreams.

And I shall find brave comrades on the way:
None shall be lonely in adventuring,
For each a chosen task to round the day,
New glories to amaze, new songs to sing.

Loud swells the wind along the mountain-side,
High burns the sun, unfettered swings the sea,
Clear gleam the trails whereon the vanished ride,
Life calls to life: then make no grave for me!

Henry Herbert Knibbs, from Songs of the Trail, 1920
This poem is in the public domain and does not require permission for use

07. September 2018 · Comments Off on Robbin Schindele Update – Fall 2018 · Categories: Current Events, Member Profiles


Here’s the website for my project; http://www.craterlakewild.org

And for my employers: http://www.umpquawatersheds.org . I work 25 hours a week for pitiful wages but I believe in the mission.

On the 22nd I will become a Board Member for another conservation org. The Friends of Crater Lake: http://www.friendsofcraterlake.org/  Promoting conservation issues here in “the timber capital of America” is a tough sell but I’m chipping away at it.

Robbin Schindele
High Haven House
PO Box 342
Glide, OR 97443

20. July 2017 · Comments Off on Members trip – Western Canada & Alaska · Categories: Member Profiles

Squaw Butte members, Bill Selkirk, Kate Miller and Linda and Rob Adams made an RV & Motorcycle trip from Horseshoe Bend, Id, to western Canada and Alaska from mid-May to mid-July, 2017. Highlights of the trip were, the World Museum of Mining, Lewis & Clark Caverns, Glacier & Waterton parks, Banff & Jasper National Parks, the ALCAN Highway, Dawson Creek and Whitehorse, YT.  Along the way we stopped at  many museums and cultural centers, hike, view lots of wild life, and met many interesting people.  Roads traveled include the “Ice Field Parkway, the Klondike road to Dawson City, the Top of the world highway, and many more.  In all the RV traveled 8,035 miles and the motorcycle 3,500.

In Waterton Park and Seward, AK we took scenic boat rides, in Dawson City a ferry a crossed the Yukon river and in Skagway the White Pass & Yukon Train, In Denali Park, we spent nine hours on a bus, the only way to see the park short of flying over it, or walking in summer, of course you can take a dog team in winter.  Wildlife is one of the main reasons for a trip like this and we saw it in abundance as well as glaciers and amazing mountain ranges.  The most scenic part of Alaska is along the coast, the interior is mostly brush and swamps, western Canada was just amazing and we can’t wait to explore more of British Columbia.  If you are interesting in seeing more picture, click here.

26. November 2015 · Comments Off on Madison Seamans Cowboy Art · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Member Profiles


09. July 2015 · Comments Off on The Chronicles of King at his new home · Categories: Around The Campfire, Member Profiles


By Marybeth Conger and King

After seeing Laurie’s email, I had a feeling King would be a great addition to the Conger herd plus help me to heal from the loss of our Fred horse.

So, while I was celebrating my Mom’s 90 birthday in New Hampshire, Bill brought King home. He immediately put his hoof down with our mules (good thing) as they quickly got and respected that he was now number 2 in our herd, after Bill’s Scout horse.

Bill packed King twice while I was gone. King only broke the pigging string once, and quickly learned the distance and the pressure of the pigging string. Actually, Bill was impressed with King and the job he did in our string as a pack animal. One time, Bill packed King with my saddle, breast collar etc. on, so King could get use to the sound, feel and smell of my stuff.

I have ridden King twice now. The first time, was just a short loop around our neighborhood and along the canal. On this maiden ride, I followed behind Bill and Scout, so I could get to know King a bit. The second time, we went in the lead which really helped him to focus on moving forward and build confidence. I learned that day, that King is willing and tries hard to do what is asked of him. After this ride, it was horse bath time with the hose and yep, there is more work to be done with horse bath time at the Conger’s.

Today Ron, our horse shoer was out. At one point King was all alone tied to our hitching with no problems. The plan is some ring work with King where I will focus on neck reining and leg aides, but I will always keep riding him in the hills. Several things I am impressed with, King knows whoa and is very sure footed. Plus, at my age, I find it so refreshing to get up on a shorter animal.

I am so happy to have King as an additional member of our four legged herd. More chronicles to follow, and even some from King. Stay tuned.

15. August 2013 · Comments Off on Shelly Duff – aka “Newbie” · Categories: Member Profiles

Shelly Duff Squaw Butte’s newest member


Shelly and Lilly

For anyone thinking about joining the BCH I would shout “DO IT”!  This last weekend I joined the SBBCH on a work project. It was not anything like I expected (which was a good thing).  I expected to work on trails (which we did) but, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had.  Rob and Laurie and Terry were patient and helpful and they made it very easy for me to join in without feeling like I was in the way.  I saw country I did not know existed in Idaho.  The most tiring thing I did was mount and dismount my horse, but I managed with the help of a few stumps and many rocks.  I am looking forward to the next work project that I can fit into my schedule and plan on getting to know as many of you as I can.

I had a great time,

Shel Duff



17. November 2012 · Comments Off on Welcome Randy Rasmussen · Categories: Current Events, Member Profiles

mule string

Dennis Dailey officially retired from the BCHA as our Wilderness Advisor at the National Board meeting in Oregon this past April. No one can deny the value that Dennis brought to BCHA and fortunately for us Dennis is still actively involved with the BCHA. Chairman, Mike McGlenn set out to find a trustworthy replacement for Dennis and with the task completed we now welcome Randy Rasmussen who comes to use with the much experience and enthusiasm.

15. August 2012 · Comments Off on Annie’s Saga · Categories: Member Profiles

orange boxes

Learn how Annie went from queen of her pasture to a trail guide.

Chapter One “The Barter Mule” (chapters 1-6)

Final Chapter of Annie’s saga  “A New Home For Annie”


19. January 2012 · Comments Off on Rob and Linda Adams · Categories: Member Profiles

Rob pictureRob and Linda Adams have been active members of the SBBCHI chapter since January of 2000. Rob was first introduced to the Back Country Horsemen during a horse show at the Nampa Center. “I talked to Dale Forester and liked the mission of the organization.  This horse show was in the fall, as I went to a couple of meetings before I joined.” Mentions Rob.

With a passionate belief in the organizations mission, Rob and Linda have dedicate countless hours towards the operation and success of the Squaw Butte Chapter. Rob has been an active member of the chapter and is currently the chapters Vice President, Project trails coordinator and manages the chapters web presence. Click here for Rob and Linda’s complete bio.

Janine       The Life and Times of a Chapter President

The joyous occasion occurred in Nampa Idaho, one fall evening.  The sire was from good Owyhee County/Silver City stock; the dam was out of a Scottish immigrant that settled near Peck Idaho. Home was to be a 28-acre farm just south of Homedale.  It was a perfect place to raise a herd of young’uns; lots of pastures and fields and outdoor activities to grow ‘em up robust and healthy.

After the wars, Dad came home and got hired on as a Rural Mail Carrier, a job he held for the next thirty-something years.  Mom graduated from the U of I and came down here to teach Home Ec.  She ended up being a stay-at-home mom, which was the norm back then, and besides carrying mail, Dad also farmed, through rain, sleet, snow and dark of night.  He raised hay, corn, wheat, and beef cows.  Twenty eight acres was just big enough to keep the kids in chores and teach them a work ethic, and to have horses.

Horses were my life.  I can’t remember when I fell in love with them, but I got it from my mom, and I  know I was pretty little—about knee-high to a grasshopper, I think.  Every summer when we’d go up to Granddad’s I’d hound my older cousin to take me horseback riding.  She hated me, I’m sure.  Then Granddad gave me his old hunting mare, which was too old to be too dangerous for a little tyke, but I learned a lot from that horse.

The rest of the story


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