AVTREC FOUNDER, GLORIA GOSSARD
Interview by Elaine Macdonald (1998)
Where did you first experience your love for the outdoors?
Well, to be truthful, when I was born I was surrounded by the outdoors! There was little congestion. Downtown was the shopping district and there were no malls. I was born in Santa Monica and had a great dad who loved the outdoors. As a child I got to explore tide pools, and backwater lagoons. We had a cabin at Lake Hughes and I spent many hours watching muskrats, turtles and water snakes or ducks making nests in the tules. When not doing that, I got to tag along with dad when he made his visits to the local "old-timers cowboy" who, when not riding as an extra for the movies, rented the corrals or groomed up the nags for a movie. Life was just so great being outdoors and around horses, I couldn't bear the thought of never seeing either one again.
What books have you written/published?
A total of six. I have published three books under the banner Yellow Rose Publications. The Joshua Tree, A Contradictory, Controversial Centenarian has been accepted in several botanical gardens and universities, including the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University. Also Antelope Trails and Pioneer Tales, Stories of the Antelope Valley and the Tehachapis and Tehachapi Time line, 100 Years of Historical Happenings, 1850s -1950s.
I am in the process of finishing up the illustrations for A Round Up of H.O.R.S.E.S., Etc., a collection of some of the most popular columns which I wrote for 20 years. In the meantime, I have been writing articles which have been published in Western Horseman and Ride Magazine. This year I was accepted for membership in the American Horse Publications, an association for equine publications and writers.
How did you get involved with advocating for trails?
The State Riding and Hiking Trail through Lake Hughes, where we hosted a State Trails Dedication. I think that was in 1948-49. Since then I've been involved in trails and community issues. During the time that I and my late husband (not Gossard) had a pack station above Kernville, we were both active with the Western Packers Association and worked to preserve horse use in the Sierras. At that time there was a move on to either ban horses or make them wear diapers to keep from messing up the trails!
Thanks to Desert Riders ETI, I got to form an ad hoc committee on trails; this in turn became the Antelope Valley Trails Council. In order to reach out to include all, the name was changed to A.V. Trails, Recreation & Environmental Council (AVTREC). Ed Skinner was there every step of the way. Eventually, I had the great fortune to meet an energetic activist, Elaine Macdonald, whom I gratefully passed the torch too, sat back and watched her make this whole plan a success. I can't think of anything more gratifying than seeing Elaine and the present board doing such a great job and only hope future generations will appreciate all that you have accomplished.
What are you involved in now, besides writing?
Now arthritis has claimed my bones, and although horseless, I still keep up with horse events, including writing a Horsemanship Manual for the Equestrian Center's Summer Kid's Horse Camp. I do the publicity for them, and have put on a successful Equestrian Open House for three years. I recently was appointed to the Environmental Control Committee and will be in charge of all animal rules and enforcements.