Sunday, October 4, 2020

As Wilderness Areas Attract More People, Volunteer Rangers Hit The Trail

BoiseStatePublicRadio.org - Full Article

By AMANDA PEACHER • SEP 28, 2020

When Joyce Fabre saw how many cars were parked at the Iron Creek Trailhead when she pulled in, she knew it would be a busy day. It was a warm, late summer morning, and her destination – Sawtooth Lake – is one of the most popular day hikes in Central Idaho. Cars were spilling out of the parking lot and lined the dirt road for a quarter mile. Fabre tightened her boot laces and pulled her backpack onto her shoulders. Before she could get going, her work began: She approached two men as they printed their name on a wilderness permit at the trailhead.

"Thanks for filling that out," Fabre said. She introduced herself as a wilderness stewardship volunteer with the Idaho Conservation League. "You going to be out there for a few days?" she asked, pointing to their heavy backpacks. The men were chatty and excited, telling Fabre about their fishing plans. Fabre reminded them that no campfires are allowed at the lake, wished them a great trip, and then they started up the trail.

Sawtooth Lake is a place that many describe as "loved to death." Visitors are awe-struck by the unusually large, deep blue alpine lake set against a spectacular backdrop of granite peaks. Striking in another way are the impacts of thousands of hikers and backpackers who visit each summer – piles of unburied human waste that dot the forest floor surrounding popular campsites, illegal campfire rings, trampled alpine plants where hikers wandered off trail.

But that's exactly why Fabre is here – to help educate hikers about Leave No Trace principles, and hopefully impart the sense of stewardship that she has for this place.

"I'm not here for enforcement. I'm just here to educate people and be an ambassador." "We want to keep it this way for future generations," Fabre told me. "We want to keep it this way for other hikers who are here today. They don't want to see the scraps from my lunch. And they don't want to see the pile of poop under a rock. As volunteers, I think that might be where we can have effect and credibility is to help people understand why they came here in the first place."

Fabre's one of about 40 volunteer wilderness stewards in a program run by the Idaho Conservation League in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Volunteer wilderness stewardship programs are on the rise as budget and staffing levels drop and pressure on the landscape only grows...

Read more here:
https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/wilderness-areas-attract-more-people-volunteer-rangers-hit-trail#stream/0

Saturday, September 19, 2020

How will America’s state parks survive 2020?

NationalGeographic.com - Full Article

In an unprecedented year of pandemic and natural disasters, cash-strapped state parks now face funding cutbacks.

BY MILES HOWARD
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

The closure of Yosemite National Park due to heavy smoke from the wildfires in California sparked national attention. But another story is smoldering in the state: 34 of its 300 state parks have had to shut down due to the fires, which have brought additional pressure on public spaces already straining under a surge of pandemic crowds.

California is experiencing its worst fire season ever, as firefighters continue to battle more than two dozen major fires that have killed 25 people and left scores more displaced. So far, this unprecedented year for wildfires has seen 3.3 million acres ravaged across the Golden State—a record-breaking 26 times more than the acreage lost to fire last year.

The flames have destroyed countless structures, including historic facilities in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park and home to iconic thousand-year-old redwoods. In August, Big Basin temporarily closed its gates; it’s unclear when the park will reopen.

In California and across the country, the combination of natural disaster, pandemic, and economic retrenchment against the threat of recession spell trouble for the future of state parks...

Read more here:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/2020/09/state-parks-face-budget-cuts-wildfires-coronavirus/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=SpecialEdition_20200918&rid=BB6673C4CE72E9E250D0E59D22726895

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nearly $600K To Enhance Red Grade Trails Near Sheridan

Credit Sheridan Community Land Trust
WyomingPublicMedia.org - Full Article

By Catherine Wheeler
September 15 2020

The Sheridan Community Land Trust has received two grants that will go towards building more trails and parking areas in the Bighorn National Forest.

The two grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Wyoming Business Council total nearly $600,000. The funds will go to building 15 miles of trail and three parking areas in the existing Red Grade trail system.

Sheridan Community Land Trust Executive Director Brad Bauer said the trails will be non-motorized and multi-use for hiking, biking and equestrian activities...

Read more here:
https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/nearly-600k-enhance-red-grade-trails-near-sheridan?utm_medium=40digest.7days3.20200916.home&utm_source=email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=campaign#stream/0

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Oregon: Horse trails planned for Jacksonville's Forest Park

MailTribune.com - Full Article

by Tony Boom for the Mail Tribune
Tuesday, September 1st 2020

An equestrian group with experience in building horse trails will work with Jacksonville Forest Park volunteers to establish an 8-mile equestrian loop in the park west of the town.

Jacksonville city officials closed the park to all horse riding earlier this year after three incidents where riders caused damage to trails designed for hikers and mountain bikers. Previously a trail had been available to riders in the upper reaches of the park.

Rogue Valley-based Sourdough Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America began discussions with Jacksonville officials on expanding horse-riding options in the park over a year ago. Equestrian use is listed in the park’s mission statement, but little development of that has taken place.

“We’ve got people who are good at building trails,” said Cate Bendock, president of the local chapter...

Read more here:
https://mailtribune.com/news/top-stories/horse-trails-planned-for-jacksonvilles-forest-park

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Three Keys to 'Leave No Trace" Trail Riding

EquusMagazine.com - Full Article

The leader of a national trail riding organization offers tips for minimizing your environmental impact when you ride the trails.

Alana Harrison
Jul 8, 2020

When more people began using public land for recreational activities in the 1960s, the effects on flora and fauna became increasingly evident, which led the United States Forest Service to develop the Leave No Trace (LNT) program. Emphasizing wilderness ethics, the program promotes practices to reduce human impact on open lands and trails.

A similar effort was adopted by the Back Country Horseman of America’s (BCHA) founding chapter in Flathead County, Montana, in the early 1970s. The organization established guidelines for equestrian users of public land that evolved into BCHA’s current equine Leave No Trace program. The Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) established an equivalent program for trails on private land called Tread Lightly...

Read more here:
https://equusmagazine.com/riding/leave-no-trace

Friday, July 24, 2020

1000 Horsemen and Women Push “Great American Outdoors Act” Toward the Finish Line!

American Horse Council

July 23, 2020

In a rare, bipartisan development, on Wednesday, July 22, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the “Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act of 2020” (H.R. 1957) by a vote of 310 to 107. The “GAO Act,” referred to as a “recreation package,” combines key elements of legislation long supported by the horse industry. This includes more resources for the backlog maintenance of public trails and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), at $900 million per year, which supports conservation easements that promote riding. The bill also incorporates provisions of the industry supported “Restore Our Parks Act” (ROPA). It creates a revenue stream to dedicate funds from energy development projects to support the maintenance of trails run by the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other agencies. “Whether it’s been a campaign to pass 'ROPA' or the 'Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act,' for the past three years, the horse industry has worked steadily to pass legislation that will make the nation’s public trails more accessible to horsemen and women,” noted American Horse Council (AHC) President Julie Broadway.

The House action follows on the heels of a similar, bipartisan victory in the Senate, which passed the bill on June 17 by a vote of 73 to 25. During meetings in February, staff with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee informed representatives from the horse industry that they intended to move a recreation package that bundled the sector’s top trails issue priorities. They also accurately predicted that Congress would pass trails legislation before the November election. “ More than 1000 members of the horse industry have sent letters to Congress urging support for the recreation package,” stated Craig Huffhines, President of the American Quarter Horse Association and Chairman of AHC’s Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee. “Wednesday’s victory shows what the horse industry can achieve when we work together,” continued Huffhines.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Great American Outdoors Act Passes the House!

The Partnership's Statement Upon the Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act:

July 22, 2020

The Partnership for the National Trails System issued the following statement from Board President Barney Scout Mann upon passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Today’s vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and send it on to the President is a dream come true. The Partnership for the National Trails System is thrilled that the decades-long effort to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the backlog of maintenance and construction on our public lands has resulted in passage of GAOA with strong bipartisan support.

In the midst of an incredibly challenging time, Congress has taken a bold step to invest in communities and special places all across the nation for the benefit of people and the protection of our natural resources in ways that will endure for generations to come. It is gratifying to see that this issue has brought people together rather than further divide us.

The Partnership is incredibly grateful to those who worked on this legislative effort for over 30 years and who worked so hard to get us to this day. Given how long we’ve been at it, the list of those we want to thank is pages long. In this moment, we especially want to acknowledge the GAOA’s lead sponsors in the House – Reps. Joe Cunningham (SC-1) and Mike Simpson (ID-2), House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) – and House leadership for moving the bill so quickly following Senate passage. We also thank those who led action in the Senate last month – Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) – as well Senate leadership for making this important legislation a priority.

The National Trails System’s congressionally designated 30 scenic and historic trails are a critical part of America’s impressive public lands and provide spectacular outdoor recreation and cultural experiences. There is at least one national trail in each of our 50 states. These 30 trails connect with 84 national parks, 89 national forests, 70 national wildlife refuges, over 100 BLM public land areas, 179 national wilderness areas, and more than 230 major urban areas and trail towns. Over the years, substantial funding from LWCF has helped build out the trail footpath, protect viewsheds, and conserve important historic and cultural resources that help tell this country’s unique stories. Maintenance and construction funding have ensured that the trail experience is a positive one for millions of visitors each year. But there is much more to do to complete the length and breadth of the National Trails System as envisioned by Congress. We also recognize the importance of creating accessible, safe, and welcoming trail experiences for all users.

The Partnership and its member organizations look forward to working with our public agencies, local communities, and Congress to use GAOA funds to full effect along our scenic and historic trails, ensuring that the National Trails System remains a world-class public land resource for all people now and well into the future.

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For more information about the Partnership for the National Trails System, visit www.PNTS.org. The mission of the Partnership is to “empower, inspire, and strengthen public and private partners to develop, preserve, promote, and sustain the national scenic and historic trails.”

Barney Scout Mann
Board Chair