Gentle with Stock,
Land and Trail
Copyright © 2002 - 2018 All Rights Reserved.
Backcountry Horsemen - Sequoia Unit
P.O. BOX 456, Springville, California 93265
Hope to see ya on the trail!
“Mr. Backcountry Horseman” of California
Charlie Morgan lives on in the memory of the Sequoia Unit, the Backcountry Horsemen of California (BCHC), friends and family. He was one of the founders of the High Sierra Stock Users Association in 1981, which 5 years later became BCHC to form a union with similar organizations nationwide.
When he passed away on October 1, 1999, Charlie Morgan was the BCHC First Vice President. That was just one of the many roles for Charlie during his decades of commitment to help people learn to appreciate and preserve the wilderness he'd grown up in. He was active in developing the BCHC High Sierra Unit, and later in the Sequoia Unit when it split off to form in 1995.
Charlie was a local legend who grew to be known and respected throughout California. He could be controversial, but was a natural teacher and would make you think. A favorite hang-out was Charlie's tack store in Springville, where smiling people hungry for knowledge always came back for more. He was a walking encyclopedia of the regional history in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
"Charlie's loss will be felt and mourned by everyone in our organization. Backcountry Horsemen of California has lost a friend and a cornerstone."
Tom Stovall, BCHC President, in the November 1999 Backcountry News
Charlie grew up spending his summers in the packing business and living in cabins in those mountains, often at the Little Whitney Cow Camp and the Tunnel Ranger Station. If you spent any time in those mountains, you met Charlie Morgan.
Charlie was a true packer who never hesitated to smile and gladly share his knowledge when asked. Ruthie Heuer said "Life gives us many people who will cross our trail and ride with us for a time. A smile, a handshake and the offer to help are always the beginning of a friendship. Our friend Charlie will be missed." People always felt welcome around Charlie. He wanted others to appreciate and enjoy his beloved backcountry as much as he did.
"The more I learned from Charlie, the more I realized
what I didn't know." Geoffrey Goldsmith, Sequoia Unit
Charlie Morgan was known as the man to turn to if you wanted an answer or needed something done. No project was ever too big, or too small. A few of the long list of Charlie's BCHC projects include:
Charlie believed in his mission to keep trails open on public lands for use by packers, horseback riders, hikers ... anyone who wanted to visit. He offered a wealth of knowledge about packing and local history, but was also an exceptional guide on the philosophy of gentle backcountry use.
He could show you the right way to build a fence so others weren't aware of the size of the area it enclosed. He could show you the art of building a strong swing gate that would be easily handled by hikers or riders. Charlie had the patience to teach knot tying to anyone interested, and his favorite was the Mount Whitney Diamond.
He was a friendly man who enjoyed sharing his knowledge, and through the BCHC he was able to share with thousands of members and the public in general by reaching out with education.
Charlie's blend of the old packer and mountain skills coupled with his decades of efforts through BCHC to preserve the backcountry set a new standard for increasing the public's awareness of gently appreciating the backcountry that was home to him.
Charlie Morgan's legacy lives on in the many lives he touched, and in the wilderness itself that benefited so greatly from his efforts. His mission to educate people about Gentle Use to preserve the backcountry continues in the BCHC he helped found and build to the extensive and dedicated organization is it today. Charlie's focus on service and education made a lasting impact on the backcountry concerns throughout California.
Thank you, Charlie Morgan. Those who knew you will miss you. Future generations will remember you as the legend you were during your lifetime, and will carry on your mission.
"There is an empty saddle on his favorite horse,
but the air is full of great memories."
Ben York, Jr., San Diego Unit, Past President 1991-92
Article and photos of Charlie Morgan courtesy of Ruthie Heuer
Copyright © 2004 Ruthie Heuer, Sequoia Unit
All Rights Reserved
click on smaller photos below to see a larger version
|Charlie Morgan Memorial|
|Charlie Morgan Memorial|