Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Webinar: Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably


Register here

Topic: Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably

Description
This webinar will cover some basic insights on how sustainable and long lasting trails should be created. The discussion will start with proper design techniques, where the trail should go, where shouldn't it go, and why. This will be followed by a talk about best management practices for construction that will create durable trails in many different terrain and soil types.

Time
Oct 17, 2017 7:00 PM in Eastern Standard Time (US and Canada)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Back Country Horsemen of America Strikes a Balance Between Recreation and Preservation

October 2 2017

by Sarah Wynne Jackson

From its inception over 40 years ago, Back Country Horsemen of America established a solid reputation as a service organization. Its members are known as hard-working, knowledgeable folks who turn up when there’s a job to be done. Some people wonder why. Why would they spend their free time, weekends, and vacations from their jobs bending their backs, growing blisters, and braving the weather time and time again?

The answer is simple, really. They love the land. They cherish the untouched and scenic landscapes all around us that cannot be accessed by RV or four-wheel drive SUV. They treasure those carefree days when they traverse those lands in what seems like the most natural way: on the back of a horse, like our ancestors who first explored these areas.

Back Country Horsemen of America was created because people like this saw the break-neck speed of development and knew if they didn’t take action, future generations wouldn’t have places like these to marvel at. They work so hard to keep trails open because someone has to, or those recreation opportunities will be dug up, paved over, or cemented under.

Recreation vs. Preservation

The Big South Fork Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Tennessee greatly values the natural wonder for which their group is named: the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, the main feature of the remote Cumberland Plateau. North White Oak Creek, a major tributary that runs all the way to Jamestown, and its accompanying O&W Trail (an abandoned railroad right-of-way) provides many miles of picturesque recreation opportunities for equestrians, hikers, and bicyclists. But each spring, the Creek becomes a raging whitewater, cutting new paths and destroying crossings constructed for use in quieter times of the year.

A joint venture between BSFBCH and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (BSFNRRA) set out to replace the natural crossing (treacherous basketball-sized rocks) with a hard surface that would also protect the stream banks at the Zenith Day Use Area. Since this is one of the few developed places inside the legislatively protected gorge area of the park, this seemed like a sound compromise between recreation and preservation.

Where There’s a Will…
Back Country Horsemen volunteers purchased the necessary materials, built the structure off-site to federal environmental standards, accomplished the monumental task of transporting the 16 two-ton concrete slabs into the creek gorge, and installed them from bank-to-bank across North White Oak Creek.

This project was funded through numerous BSF Back Country Horsemen events, including trail rides, campouts, raffles, and auctions, and from their own pockets. BSFNRRA restored the Zenith Day Use Area through a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Grant, a federal fund-matching program.

This Land is Your Land

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area encompasses 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky and Tennessee, where the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River meanders and rushes between magnificent bluffs, high arches, and other amazing natural formations. Nearly 200 miles of horse trails, many commercial camps and resorts, and three National Park Service camps provide equestrian visitors with a back country adventure unique in the eastern United States.

When you visit, you’ll see the hard work of Back Country Horsemen all around you – passable trails, safe water crossings, maintained trailheads, and America’s awe-inspiring landscape unspoiled for your enjoyment.

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 59 Rainbow Road, East Granby, CT 06026. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Webinar: Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably

MyHorseUniversity

Topic
Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably

Description
This webinar will cover some basic insights on how sustainable and long lasting trails should be created. The discussion will start with proper design techniques, where the trail should go, where shouldn't it go, and why. This will be followed by a talk about best management practices for construction that will create durable trails in many different terrain and soil types.

Time
Oct 17, 2017 7:00 PM in Eastern Standard Time (US and Canada)

For registration go here:
https://msu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_T7X_bCbqTbuMH69iFuxUgw

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!