HORSEPLAY: A summer full of blackberry joy and wildfire fears


WHO DOESN’T LIKE a parade? Especially one focused on fresh blackberries and homemade blackberry pie? This year marked the 38th Annual Joyce Daze Parade and, as always, spectators and attendees alike had fun participating.

Members of three Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) chapters – Peninsula, Mount Olympus and Buckhorn Range – were thrilled to participate in their first parade since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peninsula Chapter member Donna Hollatz recalled how wonderful the entire Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry festival was, with its art and craft stalls and abundant homemade blackberry pies.

“A lot of people lined the streets to watch the parade, and the atmosphere was festive,” Hollatz said.

Although most of the summer was hot and dry, she said, “That day was the first rain we had in weeks, and we all ended up getting wet. The forests liked him, but the human minds were somewhat chilled.

Hollatz said it took a lot of preparation to prepare their group of 10 people and seven cattle.

“We lined up early in high school with six platforms, seven animals, a horse cart and a tool trailer,” she said. “Our parade unit consisted of four saddle horses, a horse pulling a cart and a miniature horse and a donkey as pack animals.”

Linda Morin, Peninsula Chapter Events President, organized the parade unit and rode a horse. The other riders were Kat Sample of Peninsula and Ray and Rochelle Sutherland of Mount Olympus. The Peninsula Tool Trailer, complete with displays of all of the Chapter’s landowner decals, was towed by Don Gonder. Kandy Mulrony and Jim Morin – Linda’s brother-in-law – led the miniature pack animals, Murphy the donkey and Harley the horse. The honey bucket duties were handled by Buckhorn Chain members Jeff Chapman, wielding the shovel, and Juelie Dalzell, whose horse pulled the cart with the bucket. Denise Hupfer of the Peninsula Chapter documented the escapades with her camera.

“We got the second place in the miscellaneous category,” Hollatz said, adding that it was a fitting title. “We were certainly a motley bunch.

Anyone interested in learning more about BCHW or how to become a member of a local can visit the group’s website at or call Hollatz at 360-457-6694.

Forest fire plans

Like many others in our area, I woke up to the smell of fire on August 12th. When I looked out the window and saw the air thick with smoke, I panicked. Thoughts of “Where’s the fire?” Is it near me? Should I pack the horses and dogs and go right away? filled my head.

Immediately I texted some friends and neighbors nearby, who at the time were like me and didn’t know anything, then made a mental list of things I needed to do to get away. In the past when the fire danger was high, my horse trailer was hooked up and loaded with hay, a portable water tank filled with water, food for my dogs, and my own travel bag.

Then I realized that I hadn’t updated my emergency travel bag and that my horse trailer contained a pile of wood that I had to move before I could hang it. Big mistake on my part! I have since disposed of this stack and am now prepared and ready to go.

I got a call from a Horseplay player who lives on the Indian island. She also felt anxious about a forest fire and the lack of an official assembly point. She’s not tech-savvy and wondered if someone had set up a phone tree, or list, as a way to notify other riders of a fire and the need to leave the area as soon as possible. .

To my knowledge, there is no such thing in our region. If anyone is interested in forming one, please do not hesitate to contact me, and together we can try to create one. In the meantime, I have compiled a list of resources to check if there are forest fires near my home. However, they do not list newly started fires or those that are small in size.

Local emergency management offices, such as Clallam or Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices or local fire districts, order and communicate evacuations when needed, as well as any emergency activity outside of work. to fight forest fires. However, calling them to ask is not the most effective way to find out, as they can be inundated with calls from other people asking the same question. And personally, if I need to get out of the zone quickly, I don’t want to waste precious time being put on hold.

I signed up to receive emergency text alerts from Clallam and Jefferson counties wireless emergency alert information. For Jefferson County Emergency Management, visit or click the ALERT button in the upper left corner of the main website page.

In Clallam County, sign up for CODE RED alerts at

Both counties have a lot of vital information on how to prepare for an emergency. It is worth researching information in both counties. To my knowledge, neither of the two counties has set up an assembly point.

If you suspect there is a local fire or to watch for a fire already started, try tuning into local radio stations. Port Townsend has KPTZ 91.9 FM; KROH 91.1 FM and KIRO 97.3 FM. In Sequim, the stations are KSQM 91.5 FM and KZQM 104.9 FM. Port Angeles has KONP stations at 101.7 FM and 1450 AM; KNWP 90.1 FM, KVIX 89.3 FM and KSTI 102.1 FM. Forks has KBDB 96.7 FM and KNWU 91.5 FM.

I think the state’s Department of Natural Resources has the best website for information on wildfires in Washington and Oregon. On my iPad, I bookmarked The DNR provides information on wildfires that are notable, due to their location or size, through their Twitter feed @waDNR_fire. Those who do not use Twitter, you can text 40404 at any time to receive DNR tweets on your cell phone as an SMS.

MNR and other forest fire response agencies work collaboratively to provide information on large fires on the Incident Information System at and through the intermediary of the North West Interagency Coordination Center at Since all links can be found on the MNR website, this is the only page I have bookmarked.

As to where to evacuate, as far as I know, there are no official zones. Years ago, there was talk of asking the Clallam County Fairgrounds management to be an emergency assembly point. However, if there is a large forest fire near my home in Sequim or on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, I would prefer to evacuate to an area off the peninsula like the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

I had thought about it this week and emailed the idea to the emergency management centers in Jefferson and Clallam. I’ll keep you posted if Kitsap approves it.

Officially, we need to get permission for the assembly points. Unofficially, however, I would get away from it all, get as far away as possible, and find ample parking in a safe place, like a Walmart. Then I would try to call the local stables for a place to stay long term until the danger is over. Hopefully I will still have a house to return to. The most important thing is to get out and go, and to have food and water available for you and your animals.

Most of us who own horses or other large animals are pretty resourceful, so I think it behooves all of us to make our own emergency plans. There are private facilities, boarding schools, etc. that are ready to take on the emergency roles in a disaster. If you have such a facility or area that you are prepared to offer in the event of a disaster, including a place for those in tsunami areas, I encourage you to contact our local county emergency management teams. .

In Clallam County, contact the EOC coordinator, Anne Chastain, at 360-417-2483 or by email [email protected].

In Jefferson County, send an email [email protected] or dial 360-385-9376.


Karen griffiths‘, Peninsula Horseplay, appears on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have an equestrian event, clinic or seminar that you would like to list, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call him at 360-460-6299.

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