Tuesday, August 31, 2021

California: Outraged Gavilan Hills residents say local horse trails blocked by expanding nursery business

ABC7.com - Full Story

By Rob McMillan
Sunday, August 29, 2021

GAVILAN HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- For decades, residents in the rural Riverside county community of Gavilan Hills have used dirt roads and paths for hiking and trail riding.

But in recent years, they say many of their trails have been blocked off or destroyed by the operators of the ever-growing, 420-acre Altman Plants nursery.

"There's a trail we've been using for twenty years, and they've now gated it off," said resident Chris Herron, who lives on a property just north of the nursery. "They've closed off trails to the point where I can't access adjacent property that I own anymore by horseback."

Herron and a group of supporters rallied in front of a recent Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, where they also spoke out during the public comment period begging county officials to step in and protect their community.

"What they're doing is limiting access to my trails which is why I moved here," said resident Bonnie Starling. "What they've done is put fences up with barbed wire, and they're making it very difficult for us to get out and enjoy."

But are the trails the residents are referring to actually trails? They seem to think so, and the Riverside County general plan has a map with dotted lines showing various regional and community trails...

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Equine Land Conservation Resource Supports Launch of Nationwide Trail Etiquette Campaign

August 25 2021 www.ELCR.org

Lexington, KY – August 25, 2021– Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) has announced its participation in the launch of a nationwide trail etiquette campaign, “Trails Are Common Ground,” with a national coalition of trail user groups.

Any trail user will tell you there are more people on the trails than ever before. According to a study commissioned by the Outdoor Industry Association, 8.1 million more Americans hiked in 2020 versus 2019. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, automated counters at trail systems around the country recorded four times as many users compared to the same timeframe in 2019. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reported a 79% spike in usage nationwide between March and July of 2020.

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to expand at an exponential rate, which is a significant concern to the equine trail community, ELCR and Backcountry Horsemen of America joined an unprecedented consortium of advocacy groups, brands, media outlets, and ambassadors that came together to create the recently launched public awareness campaign, “Trails Are Common Ground,” which elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails.

Trails are being used more than ever before by an increasingly large number of people, many of whom recently discovered a love for the outdoors. It’s a complex ecosystem with lots of moving parts: people and animals moving in different directions, in lots of different ways, for lots of different reasons. Trails Are Common Ground aims to build a communal perspective on the mutual use of, and respect for, trails and for one another.

"ELCR was pleased to join with one of our partner organizations, Backcountry Horsemen of America, to represent the equestrian trail community in this important nationwide initiative," said ELCR Executive Director Holley Groshek. "We look forward to working with the equine trail community across the country to embrace the campaign aimed at ensuring the trail experience is welcoming, safe, inclusive and enjoyable for all trail users."

Advocacy groups and industry leaders began collaborating in February 2021 to discuss the need for this campaign. The coalition shaped the campaign to reinforce the many local, regional, and user-specific trail respect programs in existence by promoting kindness and awareness while elevating the work of these programs. More than 15 meetings have taken place with input from more than 20 organizations, as well as outdoor industry brands, land managers, representatives with BIPOC communities, and adaptive trail users. Coalition members represent all manner of activities that take place in the dirt, including hiking, trail running, equestrian, mountain biking, and motorized singletrack.

The organizations partnering on Trails Are Common Ground include American Motorcyclist Association, American Trail Running Association, American Trails, Back Country Horsemen of America, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Equine Land Conservation Resource, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Latino Outdoors, NavajoYES, PeopleforBikes, Teton Adaptive Sports, Tread Lightly!, US Trail Running Conference, Vermont Mountain Bike Association, and Washington Trails Association, among many more partners.

Equestrian trail users across the country are invited to support the Trails Are Common Ground campaign. The campaign includes a website, social media, and creative assets that can be shared and personalized by brands, nonprofits, content creators, and all passionate trail users who want to rise together to share the message of Trails Are Common Ground. To find out more, visit www.trailsarecommonground.org and follow the campaign on Instagram and Facebook @trailsarecommonground.

About Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical, and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability, and equine economic impact. For more information about ELCR, visit www.elcr.org or call (859) 455-8383.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Wyoming: Fun and Fellowship Among Horsefolk

TetonValleyNews.net - Full Article

By Michael Mulligan for Get Out Magazine
Jul 14, 2021

Horsewomen and horsemen of the Valley, including die-hard mule devotees, can now claim membership in a chapter of the national organization of the Back Country Horsemen. Founded in 1973, this group thrives in 32 states and is dedicated to perpetuating the commonsense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness. BCH works to ensure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use and assists the agencies responsible for the management of public lands in meeting their goals. Members volunteer to clear and repair trails and to undertake projects such as building pathways and bridges to protect wetlands. Devoted to “leave no trace” principles, BCH and the Teton Valley chapter are committed to keeping our backcountry and wilderness lands wild. This past summer, in conjunction with the Forest Service, members of TVBCH restored parts of three different wilderness trails and linked arms and loppers with HAPI Trails to clear their riding trail. Experts also partnered with HAPI Trails to offer a day of instruction to members and the public on how to pack and camp with stock.

Teton Valley is a historical stronghold of Western horsemanship. In recent years, though, our Valley has experienced exceptional growth: an explosion of home construction and home rentals; the building of several golf courses; burgeoning interest in bicycling both on the roads and in the backcountry; the advent of electric bikes, as well as the long popular use of motorized two- and four-wheelers...

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Upstart group working with partners to blaze new trails in Moffat County, Colorado

CraigDailyPress.com - Full Article

July 15 2021
Cuyler Meade

From some perspectives, Northwest Colorado’s vast wealth of outdoor recreation space was given all the grooming and artistry it needed by an ancient hand.

But, as the region seeks to shift a portion of its economic focus toward attracting visitors to the region — often on the sturdy back of that god-given exterior space — there are those who know that a little bit of love is due these areas to maximize their utility for humans.

That’s essentially the mission of the Northwest Colorado Trails Corp., a relatively new group seeking to help update and maintain the trails in the region that are populated by motorized recreators as well as mountain bikers and trail horse riders and others.

“There’s a lot of trails that don’t get maintained,” said Samantha Jager, who’s working on securing grants for the group. “Local people, when they want to go ride, they bring equipment with them because the trails don’t get logs cut or cleared often, if at all. The idea was to get grants to do trail maintenance...”

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Webinar Recording: Current and Future Trends in Equestrian Trails


July 12, 2021, by ELCR

Date recorded: June 24, 2021

On June 24th American Trails hosted its 124th webinar in its Advancing Trails Series sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority. This webinar focused on trending equestrian trails topics with information shared by recreational trail planners, land managers, and trail users. Topics are presented by ELCR, MIG, INC, Sustainable Stables, USDA Forest Service, and Hancock Resources LLC. Check out the recorded webinar to learn more about conserving equestrian trails resources, community engagement and inclusion in trail planning, equestrian trails sustainability and new technologies, and land managers’ challenges and opportunities.

This moderated panel of experts from the equestrian community and beyond discuss the following topics:
• Conserving Equestrians’ Trails Resources (Holley Groshek)
• Community Engagement & Inclusion in Trail Planning (Cole Gehler)
• Equestrian Trails Sustainability & New Technologies (Clay Nelson)
• Land Managers’ Challenges & Opportunities (Deb Caffin)

Following the presentations, the panelists respond to questions from webinar participants.

Learning Objectives:
• Describe eco-friendly materials that support the sustainability of equestrian-use trails
• Recognize trail user practices that can create safety hazards for equestrians
• Evaluate best practices and trends in planning and designing equestrian trails
• Identify community outreach techniques for planning inclusive trail user opportunities


Holley Groshek:
Holley will focus on providing key educational resources available to support equine access to trails. She will highlight what is available from ELCR and BCHA and Jan Hancock’s Equestrian Guidebook etc. that people can access after the webinar.

Cole Gehler:
Most people like the idea of creating more trails and connections in their community, but not all understand the needs of other user groups. Cole will discuss various approaches to community engagement on a variety of trail planning projects.

Clay Nelson:
Clay will discuss best practices to protect land and water on equestrian trails while also providing a safe, enjoyable riding experience, with a focus on new eco-friendly solutions ideal for use on equestrian trails and trailheads.

Deb Caffin:
Deb will discuss why “Sustainable, Stewardship, and Community” are not just the buzz words of the day but represent the future of trails on public lands. Hear about how the USDA Forest Service’s 10 Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge Launch and Learn is setting the foundation for a more sustainable system of trails and how you can help.

Monday, July 12, 2021

New York: West Almond trail to receive $49,000 in work thanks to Wilson Legacy Funds

OleanTimesHerald.com - Full Article

By Olean Times Herald staff Jul 9, 2021

WEST ALMOND — A grant of $49,200 was awarded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo in 2020 to complete drainage and trail tread improvements on Trail 4 of the West Almond Trail System in Allegany County, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported.

This is a collaborative project between the Cattaraugus/Chautauqua Chapter of the New York State Horse Council, Inc., and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation...

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Kiwi equestrian traditions at risk as horse riders fight for their future

HorseTalk.co.nz - Full Article

July 7, 2021 Shelly Warwick

Members of an equestrian action group plan to ride their horses to parliament to draw attention to the “insidious loss” of access to places to ride in New Zealand. Shelly Warwick, co-chair of the New Zealand Equestrian Advocacy network, explains why horse riders must act now or risk losing even more recreation ground.

The humble horse, who was once relied upon for our transport, construction, farming, industry and leisure, seems now to be forgotten for its contribution, both historically and in recent times, by the New Zealand Government and decision-makers nationally and locally.

The Government, continually looking for ways to be greener, cleaner, and searching for shiny new projects to hang from CV’s, has overlooked the equestrian industry and recreational community for decades. Recently with the push for eco-friendly initiatives, the government has been busy funding projects for walking and cycling without a thought for the equestrian recreational sector.

There is a community of about 80,000 sport and leisure horses nationwide, and equestrians have slipped under the radar with regard to legislation, planning and funding. The trails and pathways once forged by horses are becoming “horse unfriendly” as the government funds new “shared pathways” for walkers and cyclists instead of “multiuse pathways” for walking, cycling and horse riding...

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