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Oakdale Farmer Takes Reins Of Statewide Organization

POSTED January 25, 2011 3:42 p.m.

At their semi-annual Board of Directors meeting, representatives of Backcountry Horsemen of California (BCHC) units throughout the state elected Oakdale resident, Dennis M. Serpa to their top leadership position. Serpa has now taken the reins as President of this over 3000-member equestrian organization that, through volunteer service and education, works to keep public lands open for recreational stock use.

Born and raised in Turlock, Serpa graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1968. He has been a dairyman and farmer in the Turlock-Oakdale area since 1970. Serpa discovered Backcountry Horsemen of California at Bishop Mule Days over 20 years ago and joined the group to advance his backcountry education. He is a member of Mid Valley Unit, the second largest of the units in California, whose members reside primarily in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and neighboring counties.

Serpa shares with his wife of 45 years, Loretta, their four children and 11 grandchildren his passion for the backcountry and raising, riding and packing mules. While serving as Public Lands Liaison for Mid Valley Unit, he administered volunteer service projects to clear and repair trails in Stanislaus National Forest and the Emigrant Wilderness, making them safe for all users. He is qualified as a Wilderness Rider to educate the public in the principles of Gentle Use/Leave No Trace and regularly volunteers for the Pacific Crest Trail Association by packing in supplies and equipment for Sonora Pass trail projects.

He said Backcountry Horsemen’s number one challenge is increasing youth participation in BCHC programs. Other goals he hopes to achieve during his tenure are to connect with more people through BCHC’s education programs and to improve communication within the organization itself.

More information about Backcountry Horsemen of California is available at www.bchcalifornia.org.

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