Sunday, November 19, 2017

Breaking Down the Silos - Bridging the barriers between trail user groups

AmericanTrails.org - Full Article

American Trails exists to help the trails community to communicate, share information, and work together to build the strength of our message that trails move the world.

Toward that end, American Trails introduces an ongoing series called “Breaking Down the Silos,” where we discuss the happenings and ideas that help to bridge the barriers between the different trail user groups and bring all members of our trails community together to ensure positive change in our trail world.

Mike Passo, American Trails’ executive director, recently attended the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Conference in Manchester, NH.

“It was a truly superb event,” Mike said. “While there, I learned a lot about what moves the motorized trail community, what their struggles are, and how other constituency groups can work with NOVHCC.”

Mike hosted an American Trails Town Hall listening session as a part of the conference, and over the course of the weekend, heard several themes emerge around the motorized trail community and its relationship to the rest of the trails world. Below is a synopsis of the themes that arose:

There is a need for a common message that ALL trail constituencies can rally behind. As a coalition of trail organizations, we can develop agreed-upon goals and messaging and promote that vigorously for the betterment of trails as a whole...

Read more here:
http://www.americantrails.org/views/Bridging-barriers-trail-users-Mike-Passo.html

Saturday, November 18, 2017

How to Help Keep Horse Trails Open – California's Reyes Creek Horse Camp

Trailmeister.com - Full Article

July 3 2017
by Robert Eversole

Paradise. For some that’s an image of a tropical beach, for me, it’s a dirt trail that twists and meanders to a backcountry camp deep in the wilderness. It’s a quiet solitude punctuated by the peaceful clip clop of hooves and the far scream of an eagle aloft. It’s the sweet perfume of pine on a warm summer day. It’s the companionship of a trusted horse who will faithfully take you home.

Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases paradise is padlocked.

In only a few short generations we’ve “improved” a lot of backcountry and rural areas into suburbia and shopping malls. Trail Closed signs are both dreaded and unfortunately frequently encountered. Least we lose them, we’d better take care of the equine friendly country that remains. Paradise needs protecting.

You don’t have to be a trail rider, or even have your own horse, to recognize the importance of conserving horse trails. There are many things that each of us can do to preserve equine trails. Here’s one easy thing that you and I can do to help keep our trails open.

Avoid Wet Trails

I count this under the headings of both good stewardship and good relations with other trail users.

Rain will be in the forecast. Throughout the spring season, trails tend to be more saturated and hold more water, sometimes taking days to dry. Simply put, if mud or wet trail is sticking to your shoe or your horse’s shoes, you should turn around.

I understand that “stuff” happens. Through either bad circumstance or poor judgment, we’ve all found ourselves in situations and on trails we shouldn’t have been on. I‘m not here to place blame, or be a trail Nazis, but simply to spread awareness and encourage everyone to be considerate trail users. After all, these are our trails, paid for largely by our tax dollars, donations, and volunteer labor. It’s up to us to protect and sustain them for years to come.

Here are two reasons not to ride wet trails...

Read more here:
https://www.trailmeister.com/how-to-help-keep-horse-trails-open-reyes-creek-horse-camp/?cat=1

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bikes and horses: changing attitudes


An exercise to sensitize bikers to horses and horses to bikes; photo from Black Hills Trails
AmericanTrails.org - Full Article

By Kerry Greear

Six years ago, my friend Lori Johnson and I were riding our horses on public land near my home on a perfect Saturday in June. After saddling our horses, we led them toward a gate and experienced our first interaction of the day: a mountain biker who was getting ready to go on a ride with his children.

The biker was rather abrasive and complained about equestrians damaging trails when they are wet, expecting bikers to stop and get off the trail, and generally causing aggravation. Lori and I were nice to them, our horses were well behaved, and I left with a comment about all of us getting along and getting to know each other better.

Our second and third interactions with bikers on “our trails” were equally negative. The following weekend I talked with my son, who is a mountain biker, about the possibility of changing attitudes and learning more about each other. And I hatched a plan.

The following month a mountain bike race was scheduled near Sturgis, SD, near my home. With a copy of the ride map, my horse Hawk and I were ready at mile 20 to get behind the last rider and “sweep.” I picked up GU containers, lost water bottles, and a few parts lying along the trail.

Ten miles later, I found an injured woman in an area with no cell phone service. After making sure she was okay, I helped her mount Hawk and pushed and rode her bike down the trail until she could call her family. I took her to a place they could pick her up along with her bike. I continued on and at the finish line received a substantial standing ovation... and many thanks for the trash and parts I’d picked up along the trail.

After that, I noticed a slight thawing of attitudes when I met mountain bikers out on the trail....

Read more here:
http://www.americantrails.org/resources/horse/Bikes-horses-changing-attitudes.html

New Mexico: County Commission OKs plan for Thornton Ranch trail system

ABQJournal.com - Full Article

By T. S. Last / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Friday, November 17th, 2017 at 12:02am

SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s been a long time coming and will take a few more years. But public access to some of the most scenic, historic and culturally significant acreage in Santa Fe County is on the way now that the County Commission approved the master plan for Thornton Ranch Open Space.

The action paves the way for an expanded trail system that can be used by hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, and an educational hub augmented by interpretive signs to introduce visitors to the site. Public access could come as soon as 2021.

The master plan, as well as a management plan for the space, was approved by the County Commission earlier this month, along with management plans for Petroglyph Hill and the Galisteo Basin Interpretive Plan.

“We’ve been working on how we’re going to manage this property for a long time,” Colleen Baker, project manager with Santa Fe County, said of the 2,430 acres in the heart of the Galisteo Basin about 15 miles southeast of Santa Fe. “It’s really the culmination of a coordinated effort to bring all four of these plans together.”

While increasing access is part of the plan, “first and foremost, it’s for the protection of cultural resources – then to provide meaningful public access,” she said.

Central among the cultural resources is Petroglyph Hill, a basalt-capped volcanic outcrop featuring more than 1,800 images etched into the rock by indigenous people, some believed to be thousands of years old, but most carved by pueblo people who resided in the Galisteo Basin, in the short-lived Burnt Corn Pueblo in particular...

Read more here:
https://www.abqjournal.com/1094115/county-commission-oks-plan-for-thornton-ranch-trail-system-ex-public-access-to-the-area-in-the-galisteo-basin-could-come-as-soon-as-2021.html

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Mexico: Sabinoso Wilderness opens to public Friday after long delay

ABQJournal.com - Full Article

By Michael Coleman / Journal Washington Bureau
Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 7:16pm

The Sabinoso Wilderness in northern New Mexico will finally become accessible to the general public beginning at noon today (Friday, Nov. 10).

The U.S. Interior Department announced late Thursday that the pristine habitat for elk, mule deer, and other wildlife is for the first time accessible to the public for hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. The 16,000-acre Sabinoso had been surrounded by non-federal land, making it inaccessible to the general public.

The private donation of 3,595 acres formerly known as the Rimrock Rose Ranch adjacent to the Wilderness was accepted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and will allow for the public access. Click here for New Mexico’s hunting rules and regulations.

“I’m happy to announce today the Sabinoso Wilderness Area is finally open and accessible to hunters and all members of the public for the first time ever,” Zinke said.

The rugged and remote wilderness area is east of Las Vegas in San Miguel County in northeastern New Mexico. The Sabinoso Wilderness boasts some of the most pristine elk habitat in the country. Zinke had previously voiced concerns about accepting the donated ranch as wilderness itself and whether there should other kinds of access beyond on foot or horseback...

Read more here:
https://www.abqjournal.com/1090591/sabinoso-wilderness-opens-to-public-friday-after-long-delay.html

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New Mexico: Thornton Ranch area to open for public access

SantaFeNewMexican.com - Full Article

Tripp Stelnicki | The New Mexican Nov 6, 2017 Updated Nov 7, 2017

Santa Fe County has finalized a long-awaited plan to open up almost 2,500 picturesque acres in the heart of the Galisteo Basin.

Hikers, bikers, outdoor explorers and horseback riders will soon be able to enjoy the Thornton Ranch Open Space. New trails will be built, and much of the “culturally sensitive” land and archaeological resources in the scenic conservation area 15 miles southeast of Santa Fe are to be improved or restored.

The Thornton Ranch master plan was approved last week to applause by county commissioners. They also authorized an interpretive plan for the Galisteo Basin and a management plan for Petroglyph Hill, a small volcanic summit that is sacred to Native tribes and was designated for protection by Congress in 2004.

These documents will together guide the public use and management of what is the county’s largest open space, with 360-degree mountain views and immaculate night skies.

“There’s been an attack in other parts of the country associated with our public lands and many areas that are saying they want to give them back,” said Commissioner Robert Anaya, referring to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendations that at least four national monuments be shrunk. “That couldn’t be further from what we really need. What we need is to continue to have projects like this...”

Read more here:
http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/thornton-ranch-area-to-open-for-public-access/article_b4cb6b4f-105f-5155-89e9-7526aaee5ba9.html

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why You Don't Want the States Managing Public Land

Outsideonline.com - Full Article

The GOP doesn't think the feds should oversee our national heritage. Here's why they're wrong.


Wes Siler
Nov 2, 2017

States should manage the public lands within their own borders, right? It sounds like one of those common sense, local management, small government things that will be in the citizens’ best interests.

It’s actually exactly the opposite.

That's because the federal government is mandated to manage public lands for multiple uses. So for-profit enterprises, like logging and drilling, need to co-exist with folks who want to hike, bike, and play on those lands, as well as the wildlife that already lives there. In contrast, states are mandated to manage their lands for profit, which means logging and drilling take precedent over public access and environmental concerns.

The difference really is that simple, and it's really all you need to know to understand why federal management is better for our wild places than state management. But the ramifications of that difference are incredibly far reaching...

Read more here:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2256531/why-you-dont-want-states-managing-public-land