Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2018 is the National Trails System's 50th Anniversary

Trails50.org

It's the National Trails System's 50th Anniversary

And you're invited to the party!

In 2018, America will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our National Trails System but the party is already underway! Join the celebration by sharing your stories, photos, or favorite memories, or by simply getting out on the trail – and maybe bringing along a friend.

With the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968, America was given a gift – the creation and protection of some of Americans’ favorite places to discover the great outdoors. Trails that celebrate outdoor adventure such as the Appalachian Trail and trails that allow us to walk through history, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

So, join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or right here on our website dedicated to this tremendous nationwide celebration of trails and all the places they allow us to explore. Share your love of trails and the outdoors. Go ahead – wear your heart on your sleeve – or on your backpack: this is a time of celebration.

While you're here, please take a moment and sign up to get email updates to find out what's going on in your neck of the woods as well as get key updates to the 50th.

Share your favorite trail photos, sign up, and more, at:
https://www.trails50.org/

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Horsepower: where it all started

Americantrails.org - Full Article

Horsepower. The term oozes petroleum, big diesel pickups, Harley’s and cut-off flannel shirts in the garage. In an age where television is riddled with ads for vehicles boasting “the most” and “the strongest,” we often forget where it all start- ed from; the horse.

By definition, horsepower is what it takes to lift 33,000 lbs one foot in height over the course of one minute. A healthy human can sustainably produce approximately one tenth of one hp, not very much by any standard when the big trucks on television tout 300-500 horsepower.

Now contrast that to designated Wilderness areas where motors are no longer allowed and the options for accomplishing work and moving equipment are limited to either human power or horsepower. Moving downfall off the trail, digging new tread, and building turnpikes are examples of work that must be done without the assistance of motors.

In order to accomplish many of these tasks, backcountry managers use horses and mules. While livestock can’t pull a crosscut or swing an axe, they can provide the needed torque to move heavy objects around in the backcountry.

The majority of the gear necessary to work and recreate in the Wilderness is packed in on the backs of horses and mules. However, what most people don’t see is the work that was done and still continues to occur using mule teams to drag and skid objects...

Read more here:
http://www.americantrails.org/resources/horse/horsepower-mule-trail-plow.html

A Public Land Manager on How Americans and Their Federal Government Can Work Together

Outdoorlife.com - Full Article

Tim Love was a Forest Service District Ranger for 20 years. This is his perspective on our public lands

By Alex Robinson
June 8, 2017

In January, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill that would eliminate the jobs of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management rangers. The idea behind the bill is that local law enforcement could do a better job policing than the feds. The sentiment that federal agencies are overreaching their responsibilities on massive tracts of public land in the West played out in a dramatic standoff the previous year when an armed militia seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and demanded the federal government relinquish control of the 187,000-acre refuge.

Chaffetz’s bill and the Malheur takeover captured national media attention, painting a picture of stark conflict between local westerners and federal land managers.

But as Tim Love tells it, this sort of heated contention is the exception, not the rule.

Love was the U.S. Forest Service district ranger for the Seeley Lake area of the Lolo National Forest in northwestern Montana for 20 years. He was in charge of managing 400,000 acres for outdoor recreation, wildfire management, wildlife habitat, and timber harvest until he retired in November 2014. Because he is retired, Love can speak freely about the Forest Service.

Love admits there are real problems facing federal land and challenges for those trying to manage it. But according to Love, the solutions to those problems include simplifying regulations and working closely with the community—not extreme measures like transferring lands to the states or stripping away agency budgets...

Read more here:
http://www.outdoorlife.com/public-federal-land-manager-on-how-to-work-together?6coBlJK7RWMkDTYW.03

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ELCR and USDF Launch the Equine Land Conservation Achievement Award

Lexington, KY – June 5, 2017 – Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), in partnership with the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), is pleased to announce the inaugural Equine Land Conservation Achievement Award. Nominations for the award, which recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding achievement in protecting land or access to land for equine use, will be due by August 31, 2017. Nomination forms may be found on the USDF website at: https://www.usdf.org/awards/service/. Winners will be notified by October 1, 2017.

“USDF is very pleased to partner with ELCR on this award to help increase awareness of the importance of land conservation in the dressage community and to serve as inspiration to others within our discipline,” said USDF Executive Director, Stephan Hienzsch.

USDF’s Regional Group Membership Organizations (GMO) have been asked to consider individuals, organizations and agencies familiar to them, which are related to dressage and their communities, and to nominate those persons or entities which have accomplished exceptional achievements in the area of equine land or facilities protection or enhancement, especially at the local level, along with those activities that may have nationwide impacts.

The award will be presented at the Adequan/USDF Annual Convention awards ceremony on Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Convention and awards ceremony information may be found at: www.usdf.org/Convention.

“We are delighted to present the Equine Land Conservation Achievement Award in partnership with USDF, one of our long standing Conservation Partners. We look forward to recognizing and celebrating many future conservation achievements with the dressage community,” said ELCR Executive Director, Holley Groshek.

For additional information, contact:
Denise Y. O’Meara, Director of Education
Equine Land Conservation Resource
Phone: 859-455-8383
Email: domeara@elcr.org
www.ELCR.org

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Smart Growth Strategies and Partnership Key to Land Preservation in the Bluegrass

Kentucky Equine Networking Meeting Focused on Land Conservation in Kentucky
 
Lexington, KY (May 22, 2017) - A varied group of equine enthusiasts gathered at Fasig-Tipton for the spring session of the Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA). Presented by the Equine Law Group of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, the evening was intended to educate equine professionals, horse owners and recreational riders on the issue of land loss in the Kentucky's infamous horse country.

The stellar set of panelists included Holley Groshek, Executive Director of the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), Susan Speckert, Executive Director of the Fayette Alliance, Ashley Greathouse of Bluegrass Land Conservancy and Roy Cornett, currently serving as the Treasurer for the Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA). 
 
Groshek, who represents a nationwide organization, spoke of the creation of the ELCR to "sound the alarm" about land loss to equestrians. As most horseback riders are now aware that land loss is an issue, the focus of the organization has shifted to a more-local level and partnership with local entities also seeking to preserve land. "We're losing 6,000 acres of land a day to development," Groshek said. Much of the land that is being developed is being developed poorly, she noted.
 
The concern over "urban sprawl" was reiterated by Susan Speckert oftheFayette Alliance, a land-use advocacy organization in Fayette County, Ky., that is not a focused solely on equines. "People understand what makes our community [of Lexington] great," Speckert said. In addition to the active, engaged community members, the history and heritage of agriculture are what make Lexington, Lexington. The Fayette Alliance strives to preserve farmland and promote innovative development-which means limiting urban sprawl.
 
Kentucky has what is deemed "prime farmland soils and soils of statewide importance," in its Bluegrass Region. The farmland that makes the area renowned for its Thoroughbred racehorses is what Speckert dubs the "factory floor" - this economic engine drives 1 out of 9 jobs in Fayette County and brings in $2.4 billion each year.  Speckert reiterated that the Fayette Alliance is not against growth, but it does advocate for smart growth strategies that minimize sprawl.
 
Ashley Greathouse of the Bluegrass Land Conservancy detailed options available to landowners in the Bluegrass Region wishing to permanently protect their land from development. Designed to protect both land and heritage, the Conservancy focuses on protecting lands that are used as habitat, that are historic, and those that are used for equine and cattle farms in the region. The organization also focuses on preserving fresh water.
 
Roy Cornett, an active member of the Back Country Horsemen of America, spoke of the need for riders to have access to public lands on which they can ride. He feels that partnership is the key to keeping lands open and rideable, whether that is partnering with other organizations that use the land (like hikers and bikers) or partnering with those tasked with caring for the land.
 
"This was one of the most diverse crowds KENA has had to date," said Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. "The depth of the topics covered was impressive, informing the audience on everything from the amount of money farmland brings to the table in the Kentucky economy to how land owners can protect their lands from development. It's refreshing to see this vast and varied group of people focus on working together to help solve issues that ultimately affect us all."
 
Each of the panelists spoke of the need for equestrians to be active in their local communities; for them to have a unified voice to ensure that land is preserved from urban sprawl; and for them to be educated about the issues that face them as equine enthusiasts.
 
The next KENA meeting will take place on August 15 at Fasig-Tipton.
 
 ABOUT THE KENTUCKY HORSE COUNCIL - The Kentucky Horse Council is a 501©3 non-profit organization dedicated, through education and leadership, to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community. The Kentucky Horse Council provides educational programs and information, outreach and communication to Kentucky horse owners and enthusiasts, equine professional networking opportunities, trail riding advocacy, health and welfare programs, and personal liability insurance and other membership benefits.  The specialty Kentucky Horse Council license plate, featuring a foal lying in the grass, provides the primary source of revenue for KHC programs.

CONTACT: 
Kentucky Horse Council
Katy Ross
Executive Director
(859) 367-0509

Sunday, May 14, 2017

AERC Signs MOU with USFS

We are happy to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between AERC and the U.S. Forest Service. This document confirms the coordination between our two organizations and encourage mutually beneficial programs, projects, training and other activities on National Forest lands by the USFS and AERC.

Many thanks to Trails and Land Management Chair Monica Chapman who spearheaded this project. She is pictured here with Jamie Schmidt, USFS National Program Manager for Trails (left) and Jeff Mast, USFS Assistant National Program Manager for Trails (right).

To view the MOU, go to https://aerc.org/static/TrailsNews.aspx (toward the bottom of the page).

Friday, May 5, 2017

Uphold the Integrity of the Wilderness Act: Voice Your Opposition to H.R. 1349

Mountain bikes in designated Wilderness?


For over 50 years it’s been prohibited by the landmark Wilderness Act. But a new group, the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC), intends to change that. The STC’s president proclaimed that legalizing mountain bikes in wilderness is inevitable.


We need your help to ensure that this won’t happen. Please contact your member of Congress today to say they should not support H.R. 1349.


Importantly, the International Mountain Bicycling Association does not support the STC’s goals or tactics.  That makes the cries of the STC sound very isolated within the mountain biking community. The STC currently is “shopping” among Congress for support for H.R. 1349. They claim that bikes were always intended to be included in the Wilderness vision.

Backcountry horsemen, we need your help! Please educate your member of Congress on why mountain bikes in Wilderness is a bad idea.

The infant STC organization, formed in 2015, thinks they can dictate the terms of how people access and enjoy Wilderness. Yet Section 4(c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act states: “...there shall be…no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment”..and “no other form of mechanical transport...” Clearly, bikes are mechanical transport.



The STC claims that the Wilderness Act has become the victim of outdated thinking and bureaucratic “lethargy and inertia.” That’s far from the truth. It just doesn’t fit with the STC’s wishful thinking. The vision behind this celebrated act of Congress is just as relevant today—if not more so—than it was over 50 years ago.



Why oppose mountain bikes in Wilderness? In the continental U.S., less than 3% of the land is designated wilderness. That’s just 3% of the landscape to which horseman can escape and be assured of a relatively primitive recreational experience. Further, according to the U.S. Forest Service, 98 percent of all the trails on land it manages outside of designated wilderness are open to bicycles. It and other agencies continue to create and open new mountain biking trails across the country. So it's hard for folks to argue that not allowing bikes in wilderness is restricting or harming public access.



Other reasons bike use would be problematic include:


• The rapid speeds at which mountain bikes are capable of traveling, combined with their often silent approach, would create significant safety hazards for horsemen on steep, narrow or winding trails.
• Worse still would be safety hazards for persons leading a pack string, where a bike startling the least-trained horse or mule among the pack string could bolt and/or endanger the entire party.
• Solitude or a primitive and unconfined recreational experience would be lost if horsemen were forced to constantly scan the trail ahead and over their shoulder for rapidly approaching bikes.
Please join BCHA in voicing opposition to H.R. 1349, which would authorize bikes in Wilderness. Call your member of Congress today.

You can locate the phone number of your representative in Washington DC by entering your zip code HERE.



Or the Capitol Switchboard can connect you to your legislator in Washington DC.


Call: (202) 224-3121. But please call today!