Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Equestrian Voices Needed: Attend the Oregon Trail Summit!

TrailKeepersOfOregon.org

OREGON TRAILS SUMMIT 
REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

October 27, 2017 
Bend, Oregon

Summit will include:

• Opportunities to build relationships with trail advocates, land managers, trails professionals, dedicated volunteers, and fellow trails enthusiasts
• Keynote address and sessions on increasing access, addressing overuse, overcoming conflicts, and collaboration models
• Updates from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Travel Oregon, and the Oregon trails community
• Strategic planning for a nascent statewide trails coalition 
• Off-site networking happy hour hosted by Travel Oregon
• FUN!

Who should come to the Oregon Trails Summit?

• Land management, parks and recreation, and transportation public agency professionals charged with developing and/or maintaining trails
• Professional trail builders and trail planners
• Volunteer and non-profit trail advocates, stewards, and crew leaders
• Trail outfitters, tour guides, and outdoor recreation industry professionals with an interest in trails
• Local leaders and policy makers who know trails are valuable to their communities
• Trails enthusiasts of all types
• YOU!

The Oregon Statewide Trails Coalition is being planned by a committee of public agency, non-profit, and private sector trails enthusiasts. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available! Contact Steph at noll.stephanie@gmail.com for more info. 

Register here:
https://www.trailkeepersoforegon.org/get-involved/oregontrailssummit/

Monday, September 4, 2017

Wisconsin: Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association completes trail project

Sheboyganpress.com - Full Article

For USA TODAY NETWORK - Wisconsin Published 9:43 a.m. CT Sept. 2, 2017

Northern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association completed trail enhancements totaling $32,000 on chronically wet Kettle Moraine State Forest - North equine trail. The Horse Trail Association values Wisconsin’s state forests and works hard to protect our right to enjoy these lands by horseback, according to a press release.

The association completed trail enhancements on the multi-use hiking, snowmobile and horseback riding trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest – North Unit. Improvements included removing saturated soil with heavy equipment, installing geotextile fabric and material brought in to repair and solidifying the trail surface...

Read more here:
http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/2017/09/02/community-notes-sheboygan-county-northern-kettle-moraine-horse-trail-association-completes-trail-pro/621865001/

Friday, September 1, 2017

Proposed LWCF Appropriations in 2018 Bill (8/29/2017)

PNTS.org

August 30 2017

The House Appropriations Committee is recommending appropriating $275 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to be used for acquiring land for conservation and recreation for Fiscal Year 2018. This is $125 million less than Congress appropriated for Fiscal Year 2017. During the Committee’s markup of the 2018 Bill, Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert both stated that they are willing to seek greater funding for LWCF in deliberations with the Senate later in the appropriations process. The House and Senate are expected to work toward passing the 2018 Appropriations bills in September after Labor Day.

Included in the recommended $275 million for the LWCF is funding for land acquisitions along or adjacent to these National Trails:

Bureau of Land Management

• Mojave Trails National Monument CA – Old Spanish NHT: $1.4M
• North Platte River Special Recreation Management Area WY – Oregon NHT: $1.3M

US Fish & Wildlife Service

• Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge PA – Appalachian NST: $500,000

National Park Service

• Appalachian NST – NY: $2M
• North Country NST – MI: $3.472M

US Forest Service

• Trinity Divide CA – Pacific Crest NST: $5M

Total: $13,672,000

If Congress appropriates $400 million for LWCF projects as it did for Fiscal Year 2017 then projects along the Continental Divide NST and Overmountain Victory NHT could be funded.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back Country Horsemen of America Keeps Trails Open for All in Arkansas

August 30 2017

by Sarah Wynne Jackson

Even today, over 40 years after its creation, Back Country Horsemen of America still adheres to the principles that guided its founders: keeping trails open for equestrians requires 1) a desire to keep trails open for all and 2) making yourself part of the solution with boots-on-the-ground trail work and generous distribution of responsible recreation skills through clinics and one-on-one instruction. The Buffalo River Chapter in Arkansas applies BCHA’s vision and mission to the wild lands in their state with determination, drive, and heart.

The Lands They Love

The Buffalo River Chapter BCH’s primary focus is the Buffalo National River and its watershed in northwest Arkansas. This National Park Service gem stretches 136 miles from Route 21, through five counties, to Route 14 and a Wilderness area also maintained by the NPS. Within and adjacent to the National River are Wilderness areas managed by the NPS and the US Forest Service, Ozark National Forest land, Wildlife Management Areas, and other conservation land.

Buffalo River Back Country Horsemen cherish this, America’s first National River. It flows freely nearly 150 miles from headwaters high in the Boston Mountains of Ozark National Forest to White River near Buffalo City. This national treasure encompasses almost 96,000 acres of rugged mountain terrain that is best accessed by horseback, massive limestone bluffs, deep hollows, and lush valleys.

Trails That Feel Like Home

BRBCH knows the 75 miles of equestrian trails very well. They ensure that they are clearly marked with yellow blazes, whether they are old road traces, gravel bars, or rocky mountain paths. These Back Country Horsemen remove downed trees, clear windfall, and repair water crossings on the trails that meander gently, crisscrossing the river many times. On the narrow, steep, and challenging trails, they repair washouts, dig out rocks in the trail tread, and lay down durable surfaces where needed.

Buffalo River Back Country Horsemen also maintain horse campsites, like the primitive camps at Steel Creek and Erbie, where recreationists find basic facilities like a pit toilet, fire grates, and places to hightie their horses. On the middle Buffalo, equestrians can stay at Woolum horse camp, which also has ample trailer parking. Wagon Gap and Hathaway camps on the lower Buffalo have no water and no facilities, but they access beautiful trails along the river.

Back Country Horsemen of the Buffalo River Chapter have spent many happy hours on horseback, both clearing and enjoying trails not only in the Buffalo National River, but also through the rest of their state’s stunning and varied landscapes. They help maintain trails in Wildlife Management Areas overseen by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, including the Gene Rush and the McElroy Madison County Wildlife Areas.

Keeping Trails Open for All

The Buffalo River Chapter works and coordinates with the Buffalo River National Park through a special Memorandum of Understanding that outlines their working relationship with the Park. Through regularly scheduled work days, the chapter puts their mission into action. They keep trails open to everyone by clearing brush and deadfall, pruning low-hanging branches, picking up trash, placing water bars to control erosion, and maintaining horse camps.

Their skills are especially valued when work is required in Wilderness areas too fragile for mechanized travel and power equipment. Their steady horses and mules haul equipment and supplies necessary for repairs, and the hard-working BRBCH members use hand saws, nippers, and loppers instead of chainsaws.

In 2015 alone, BRBCH contributed over 3072 volunteer hours to the Buffalo National River and its surrounding areas. Members also volunteered their time in the Ouachita Mountains, the Ozark National Forest, six different Wilderness Areas, and several Wildlife Management Areas maintained by Arkansas Game and Fish, totaling more than 1845 hours of trail work that year.

Promoting Responsible Recreation

In keeping with their mission to educate others on the wise use of our limited back country resource, Buffalo River Back Country Horsemen provide classes in CPR and first aid, packing with stock, and Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics principles. They also host an annual Youth Camp Weekend that promotes responsible riding, packing, and camping skills to young people in a fun, safe environment.

Chapter members experienced with Leave No Trace, back country packing, and other skills regularly share their knowledge with other members and the general public. Several members are trained and participate in Wilderness Search and Rescue, providing a life-saving resource to the public.

The Original Horsepower

One spring, the National Park Service had cut some logs to be used to repair a badly washed out stretch of trail leading to the Hathaway Horse Camp in the Lower Buffalo River Wilderness. Five members of the Buffalo River BCH and their horses joined three NPS trail personnel in moving the logs to the repair location.

This area of the Ozark Mountains is a rough and rugged place to ride, but the washed-out trail was so hazardous that even experienced BCHers led instead of rode their sure-footed horses up the hill. They used horses and mules to drag thirty-five 8-foot cedar logs a quarter mile from the adjacent wooded area to the damaged trail so the repair could be made, all without the harm caused by motorized vehicles and equipment.

Well-Earned Accolades

The folks at the National Park Service are so grateful for the sustained volunteerism of Buffalo River Back Country Horsemen that they recently sent the chapter a letter that said in part, “...a BIG THANK YOU for all the volunteer hours donated to maintain horse trails at Buffalo National River. During this latest effort… your assistance put us about two weeks ahead of schedule... We are so thankful for all the park volunteers who help to make Buffalo National River such a great park!”

About Back Country Horsemen of America

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes regarding the use of horses and stock in wilderness and public lands.

If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit their website: www.bcha.org; call 888-893-5161; or write 342 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nurturing Land Management Relationships

ELCR.org - Full Article

July 12, 2016, by ELCR

Maintaining and Acquiring Horseback Access to Public Land, Trails and Facilities


By Denise Y. O’Meara, RLA | May, 2015

In the upstate areas of the New York City watershed, equestrians are losing access to trails on land newly acquired by the water authority. Often, the trail segments lost to use provide connections that can’t be replicated by detours as they cross long stretches of land. The New York State Horse Council is taking steps to understand why these trails have been closed to horses, and what they can do to regain access.

Publicly owned open space, lengthy trail corridors and a variety of landscapes create the backbone of our riding and driving needs. Managing public agencies range from municipal parks and woodlands, to state parks and natural resource areas, to federal parks and the vast natural resource zones. Ownership and management of these lands may also be jointly undertaken between multiple agencies.

A What to Do Guide


Get to Know Public Land Policies through the Agency Land Manager


If you are riding on public land, you should know not only the government agency or agencies involved, but their rules and regulations, their planning and decision-making processes and schedules, and the specific land managers for your region.

Keeping up with changes in access and other policies is a continual task, but one that must not be overlooked. When government agencies create policies that are unfriendly to horses, it is critical to gain an understanding of why these changes came about. To do that, horsemen and women need to develop lines of communication with public land managers...

Read more here:
https://elcr.org/nurturing-land-management-relationships/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

National Recreation Trail: Forever Wild Wehle Trail System - Alabama

Americantrails.org - Full Article

The Forever Wild Wehle Tract consists of 1,500 acres of rolling hill country through open pine grasslands and mature hardwood bottomlands.

The Forever Wild Wehle Tract consists of 1,500 acres of rolling hill country in Bullock and Barbour County, AL. The tract was once owned by Mr. Robert Wehle whose dream was to see that the property be protected by the Alabama Forever Wild Program and that the land be used for educating people about Alabama's need for conservation.

The Wehles generously funded the construction of the ROBERT G. WEHLE NATURE CENTER on land they deeded to the State Lands Division. This center was opened to the public for use for education and enjoyment.

There are three trails, which are part of the Forever Wild Wehle Trail System, that extend away from the Center, taking hikers on short, medium, and long treks through different habitats. These trails are augmented with interpretive stations highlighting the unique characteristics of many local plants and animals. The Nature Center can also be reserved for meetings, school field trips, and approved special events by appointment through the State Lands Division.

After opening the property to the public, roughly one third of it was added to the Barbour County Wildlife Management Area to increase acreage available for public hunting. The other two-thirds of the property are used for natural science education and non-consumptive recreational activities such as nature study, photography, hiking, picnicking, fishing, horseback riding and general field related activities...

Read more here:
http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/trailNRT/Wehle-Trail-System-AL.html

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Washington: Hold Your Horses: Trail Riding Around the South Sound

SouthSoundTalk.com - Full Article

By Mariah Beckman

Hikes are better with friends, and some trailblazers say man’s best friend is the perfect companion, especially if your four-legged companion happens to be of the equine variety. If you fall into this category or have been looking for a good place to start a trail riding tradition, there are plenty of places near and far that can have you saddled up and ready to ride in no time.

Horse Ranches and Guided Tours

Sunset Chevrolet LogoEZ Times Trail Rides in Elbe, Washington, has been serving the South Sound for nearly 30 years. Owner Jeff Celskki cleared and shaped all of the trails around his Elbe ranch when he moved to the area in 1989, and the routes he created take riders past points of interest like Lake Adler, the Nisqually River and several overlooks that offer views of the Elbe Hills. Rates vary per trail and number of riders, but rest assured that horses here hit the trail rain or shine, sleet or snow. You can learn more about taking in a one-, two- or three-hour guided ride, designed for equestrians of all ages and experience levels, on EZ Times Trail Ride’s website. Kiddos are welcome!

Riding Horses in South Sound

Access miles of trails in the Puyallup River Valley when you visit Orting’s Northwest Horse Park. Riders here can enjoy wide open spaces, but also feel safe in the knowledge that seasoned equestrians are on site if any questions or concerns arise on the ride. And, because lessons are available at the park as well, this is a great place to identify areas where horse and rider can both improve before they ever step out on the trail and into wilder terrains...

Read more here:
http://www.southsoundtalk.com/2017/08/26/hold-your-horses-trail-riding-around-the-south-sound/