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.

-----

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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Idaho: Trail fans can help hiking, biking, horse trails

CDAPress.com - Full Article

July 9, 2020 1:00 AM

BOISE — Residents who want to chip in to support the state’s hiking and bike trails can pick up a trail sticker for a $10 donation.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation made its “Idaho Trails Supporter” sticker available for the public last month on National Trails Day.

For 10 bucks, residents can sponsor Idaho’s hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. All proceeds of this voluntary program will go toward maintaining and protecting Idaho’s non-motorized trails. To sign up visit the state parks and recreation website and click on the Trails Sticker on the “shop” tab...

Read more here:
https://cdapress.com/news/2020/jul/09/trail-fans-can-help-hiking-biking-horse-5/

Friday, July 10, 2020

Trails for tomorrow

EquusMagazine.com - Full Article

Now more than ever, your help is needed to maintain and preserve the open land and trails that are the backbone of the horse industry.

ALANA HARRISONJUL 8, 2020

For nearly a decade, Elise Backinger explored the trails of Salida, Colorado, aboard her Quarter Horse gelding, Pep. Salida calls itself the “Gem of the Rockies,” and Backinger’s memories of her rides there are tinged with awe. “There is something deeply profound about the solitude and tranquility you experience riding out in nature. It’s just you, your horse and the land,” she says.

Backinger and her husband have since sold their hay farm and Pep is now a semi-retired therapy horse, but the horsewoman remains grateful for the bond she and her gelding developed on the trail. Their outings, she says, “taught both of us valuable lessons---from encountering unexpected wildlife to negotiating rough terrain to building confidence and endurance.” To ensure that future generations will have the same opportunity to enjoy nature with their horses, Backinger volunteers for the Central Colorado Conservancy, giving presentations on local trails and wildlife areas...

Read more here:
https://equusmagazine.com/riding/trails-for-tomorrow

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Webinar: Successful Models in Developing and Maintaining Private Equestrian Trail Systems

ELCR.org

July 30 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am Free

Equine Land Conservation Resource and American Trails will partner to provide a free webinar on July 30 at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern Time) entitled Successful Models in Developing and Maintaining Private Equestrian Trail Systems. The webinar will spotlight how three different communities have developed and maintained successful equestrian trail system on private land.

Privately owned land is the most at-risk component of our equestrian landscape. Boarding barns, competition venues, trails, hunt fixtures and hayfields are being lost every day as a result of development, misunderstanding of liability issues by new owners of land, and rising demand for land around urbanizing areas. Access to private land for equestrian use can be a valuable asset in your community and can result in not only a viable recreational trail system but even a corridor providing equine access to public land.

For more information and to register for the webinar go to:
https://www.americantrails.org/training/successful-models-in-developing-and-maintaining-private-equestrian-trail-systems

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

E-Bikes in National Parks: They’re Riding a Slippery Slope

SierraClub.org - Full Article

Do they just damage trails, disturb wildlife, and endanger hikers?

BY CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM | JUN 29 2020

After you’ve labored to summit a hill on a human-powered bicycle, there’s an ineffable joy in riding the force of gravity down the other side, free and easy. Electric bikes offer a wholly different experience, as e-bikes are typically fossil-fuel-powered machines. (Although they can also be powered by renewable energy.) There is no work required to climb the hill; a battery pack charged by a coal-burning power plant or a natural gas facility does the work for you. That battery-powered motor allows you to race at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, simply by getting on the e-bike.

E-bikes are all the rage in Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior. Last summer, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued a directive to national parks that “simplifies and unifies regulation” of the machines by asking “whether e-bikes should be treated [as] motor vehicles.”

Bernhardt’s answer? No, they aren’t motor vehicles. Therefore, all is well with more e-bikes in the parks. “Use of e-bikes will increase access to recreational opportunities,” states the National Park Service on its website. E-bikers will now be able to access “park roads, paved or hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use, and administrative roads where traditional bikes are allowed.”

No problem, right?...

Read more here:
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/e-bikes-national-parks-they-re-riding-slippery-slope

Friday, June 26, 2020

Get Off Your High Horse About Poop

SignalSCV.com - Full Article

JUNE 25, 2020
Judy Reinsma

This is regarding the letter in the June 21 edition of the Sunday Signal about horse poop on the San Francisquito Canyon trail.

The dirt path next to the asphalt walking, jogging, biking trail is a BRIDLE TRAIL. A bridle trail is specifically there for HORSES, not for unmounted humans.

Horses poop. Horse poop does not stink, does not contain any harmful germs and actually improves the soil as it dries out and is incorporated into the surrounding natural area.

Getting off one’s horse and scooping up a pile of horse poop, and then putting it into a grocery bag (it’s that large) isn’t easy. One would also have to carry a rake or shovel on horseback and that’s not possible.

So yes, it is too much to ask horse owners to use horse diapers or clean up like dog owners are required to do.

That’s one reason why there are bridle trails, so horseback riders are not riding their horses on the asphalt trails where people and bikes want to go...

Read more here:
https://signalscv.com/2020/06/judy-reinsma-get-off-your-high-horse-about-poop/