Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 1 Deadline for National Recognition of your Trail Project

Coalition for Recreational Trails ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
 Awards for projects funded through the federal Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 1, 2015 The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations, is pleased to announce its 2015 achievement awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the national Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C. during Great Outdoors Month™ in June 2015 as part of the Coalition’s ongoing effort to build awareness and appreciation of this highly successful program, which has greatly enhanced the quantity and quality of trail experiences available to the public. We will be holding the awards ceremony on Capitol Hill and will encourage Members of Congress to join us in honoring the outstanding achievements of their constituents. As an additional benefit, American Trails makes a web page for each winning project. See the over 100 award pages we have created since 2003. We hope you will join us in this important effort to recognize the significant contributions to our nationwide system of trails and greenways that the Recreational Trails Program is supporting all across the country Awards are given in several categories: • Maintenance and Rehabilitation – maintaining, repairing damage to, or upgrading the quality of a trail to improve the trail experience, increase user safety, and/or enhance protection of the environment, including wildlife • Construction and Design – planning and building a trail, portions of a trail (e.g., a bridge), or trail-related facilities (e.g., a trailhead, shelter, etc.) • Public-Private Partnerships and Access to/Use of Public Lands – facilitating and/or encouraging cost-effective partnerships between public and private entities, especially to increase access to and use of federal, state and local public lands, including parks, forests and wildlife refuges • Community Linkage – providing and/or enhancing opportunities for trail-based recreation and transportation within or near local communities • Education and Communication – using a variety of established and/or technologically innovative communications tools (e.g., web sites, social media and peer-to-peer information sharing) to increase environmental awareness, promote trail-related safety, encourage trail-related outdoor recreation and, overall, enhance trail use and enjoyment • Multiple-Use Management & Corridor Sharing – facilitating and/or encouraging the use of a trail corridor by more than one type of trail enthusiast, particularly those enthusiasts that do not ordinarily share trails or trail-related facilities • Accessibility Enhancement – facilitating and/or encouraging increased access to trail-related recreation opportunities for people with disabilities • Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach – making effective use of the services and skills of qualified youth conservation or service corps and other community organizations as project partners and supporters NOMINATING A PROJECT Award winners will be selected from projects nominated by public agencies, trail administrators or other project sponsors. Projects must be completed in order to receive an award. In addition, projects completed before 2007 are ineligible. APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 1, 2015. The nomination form and any supporting materials, including pictures, should be returned via e-mail by April 1, 2015 to the Chair of the Coalition’s Awards Committee: Duane Taylor, Director of Federal Affairs, Motorcycle Industry Council, at coalitionforrectrails@gmail.com. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call him at (703) 416-0444 or send him an e-mail. Winners should be notified no later than May 8, 2015. The 2015 nomination form can be found on this page: http://www.americantrails.org/awards/CRTawards.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back Country Horsemen of California Clears Storm Damage in the Sierra Mountains

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2015 by Sarah Wynne Jackson The folks at Back Country Horsemen of America feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful country, and are dedicated to protecting our right to travel this stunning landscape by horseback, as our ancestors did. An important part of that goal is the down and dirty labor required to re-open trails and access roads after storms of rain, snow, ice, and wind. A Special Place A storm with winds in excess of 140 mph hit the Sierra Mountains in November 2013, leaving many popular campgrounds and trails inaccessible due to toppled trees. Since then, various groups have made cleanup efforts in the affected area. The Mother Lode Unit of Back Country Horsemen of California spent two days in the Eldorado National Forest opening up trails around the Tells Creek Horse Camp, which is nestled among the pristine lakes of the Crystal Basin at 6,300 feet above sea level. From there, adventurers on foot, horseback, mountain bikes, skis or snowshoes explore the local land that was the Van Vleck cattle ranch from the 1860s to the 1960s. Some also take longer trips into the Desolation Wilderness, 63,960 acres of alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes. A Big Job BCHC’s first work day began with a mandatory safety briefing, then the volunteer sawyers, trained by the US Forest Service, and their helpers began work on a two-mile section of the Two Peaks Trail from the Tells Creek Horse Camp to the Bassi Creek crossing. The most experienced crewmember commented that this was the worst storm damage he’d seen in 18 years of trail maintenance. Leapfrog Isn’t Just a Game Seven workers each rode a saddle horse and four pack animals hauled an assort­ment of chainsaws, axes, shovels, and other equipment, including a Peavey pry bar. This odd apparatus looks like a five-foot pry bar with a hinged fish hook near the end, which enables a single person to roll large, heavy log segments off the trail without back strain. The Mother Lode Back Country Horsemen work group separated into two teams and used the very effective leapfrog technique. The first team unpacked and cut the first obstacle. While they cleared the area of debris and repacked the gear, the second team proceeded to the second obstacle, unpacked and cut that one. Teams of three or four people makes quick work of the task without members getting in each other’s way. Working in shifts also allows teams to last a bit longer at this exhausting elevation. If they en­countered a nest of tangled logs, the two teams took turns cutting and removing debris. Up to the Challenge The Mother Lode Unit spent six hours clearing about three dozen trees from two miles of trail. After watering their stock at the Bassi Creek crossing, the return trip took only 45 minutes on the now open track. The next morning, the group crossed Bassi Creek and cleared about 20 trees from the next part of the Two Peaks Trail. There they met up with another work party who had cleared trails around Barrett Lake and Pearl Lake on the far side of the summit of Two Peaks East. The job is tough, but projects like this are essential to preserving our access to America’s wild places. Back Country Horsemen groups from coast to coast routinely spend over 300,000 volunteer hours each year maintaining trails, trail heads, and camps for all users. 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.backcountryhorse.com; call 888-893-5161; or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands! Peg Greiwe 1-888-893-5161

Sunday, March 22, 2015

National Forest Trail Bill Introduced

Horsecouncil.org Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/11/2015 - 14:01 On February 10, 2015, Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) re-introduced the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (H.R.845). The bill would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many national forests, including equestrians. The bill was first introduced during the last Congress. The American Horse Council, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Wilderness Society were significantly involved in the creation of this bill. A June 2013, study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Forest Service has deferred trail maintenance needs that exceed half-billion dollars, and only one-quarter of the agency’s 158,000 miles of trails meets agency standards for maintenance. This maintenance backlog is causing access and safety issues for equestrians and all trail users on national forests. The National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act would direct the Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails. It will also provide outfitters and guides the ability to perform trail maintenance activities in lieu of permit fees. Additionally, the bill would address a liability issue that has discouraged some national forests from utilizing volunteers and partner organizations to help perform trail maintenance and would direct the Forest Service to identify and prioritize specific areas with the greatest need for trail maintenance in the national forest system. In the current fiscal environment it is unlikely Congress will appropriate additional funds to directly address the trail maintenance backlog. This bill will help improve trail maintenance without the need for additional funding. The bill is supported by the AHC and many other recreation organizations.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Equine Land Conservation - Planning and Zoning Webinar and On-line Guide

The Basics of Planning and Zoning for Horse-Friendly Communities Date: March 24, 2015 Speaker: Christine Hughes, AICP Senior Long Range Planner, City of Wilmington Planning, Development, & Transportation. ELCR and My Horse University are partnering to bring you this informative webinar. Local governments of all shapes and sizes are using planning and zoning tools in their communities. This webinar will discuss the basics of planning and zoning, and will cover the tools of zoning codes and the comprehensive plan. In plain terms, learn how to understand what your property is zoned, how to get involved in the planning process, and what to look for relative to horse-friendly plans and regulations. Click here to register. Planning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities Now Available On-Line - click here Planning and zoning decisions can affect how land is taxed, what it may be used for, and which standards and regulations are applied to it. These regulations determine not only whether individuals may keep horses on their own property, but also whether horses have access to community parks and trails. Since land is saved locally it is vital that horsemen understand the basics of planning and zoning and how this impacts horse keeping, breeding, competing and recreating, as well as equine related businesses in their communities, in order to retain access to horses and enjoy their benefits. The Planning and Zoning Guide for Horse-Friendly Communities is an important comprehensive resource for horsemen providing users with the tools they need to understand comprehensive planning, land use mapping, zoning ordinances, and the effects of these on horse keeping and other horse-related activitie s within their own local communities. The information will help them to be engaged in the process, to activate their equine community and to educate planners and decision makers on the benefits of horses in their communities.

National Recognition For Your Trails Project

DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015 Coalition for Recreational Trails ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS Awards for projects funded through the federal Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration Has your trail received funding through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP)? Here is a great opportunity for national recognition that also helps all of us make the case for continued funding for trails! Learn more about the Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Awards and download the Nomination Form...