Monday, August 31, 2015

Emergency closure of Idaho public lands starts Sunday - Full Article

August 28 2015
From Staff Reports

A large swath of public land in the Idaho Panhandle will be closed starting Sunday because of extreme wildfire danger.

Public lands north of Interstate 90, south of Bunco Road (also known as Forest Service Road 332), east of U.S. Highway 95 and west of the Idaho/Montana border will be under a temporary emergency closure due to wildfires.

The Thursday evening decision by government agencies is the latest move to restrict recreational and industrial use of federal and state lands due to wildfire danger. Earlier in the day rafters were being pulled off the famous Salmon River as a fast-growing wildfire made a run toward the town of Riggins, Idaho.

The fast-growing Tepee Springs fire forced an unprecedented closure of nearly 18 miles of the river, affecting all recreation there and all uses...

Read more here:

Friday, August 28, 2015

LWCF is meaningful, should be preserved - Full Article

Star-Tribune editorial board
August 28 2015

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has doled out $17 billion in the last five decades for recreation opportunities across the nation.

That’s $17 billion worth of pools, ballfields, parks and other public lands. They’re the sites of some of our fondest memories. Here in Wyoming, Highland Park, Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park and Curt Gowdy State Park have all benefited.

But that national tradition could be ending soon: The fund is slated to sunset Sept. 30 unless Congress reauthorizes it...

Read more here:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's time to stand up for our Constitution - Full Article

Ray Kuehne, Writers Group
1:36 p.m. MDT August 25, 2015

For years, I’ve listened to people demand that the feds “give back” our public land to the states.

Their language pushes the myth that the land was stolen from the states. However, history shows that our first public land was under national management before the Constitution was written, and that the Founding Fathers, in Article IV, gave Congress sole authority to determine the use and disposition of it and all western land the U.S. later acquired.

Our Founders also created a government to prevent individuals, regions, or interest groups from gaining power for themselves...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trails Action Alert. Montgomery County, MD

On September 3 the Montgomery County Planning Board will determine the future of a 3+ mile equestrian trail in Boyds. Your help is needed NOW to secure future use of the trail. Please write to the Planning Board and/or consider attending the hearing and testifying in support of the EPIC easement to demonstrate that safe and sustainable public trails are important to trail riders in and around Montgomery County.


1. In 2010 EPIC was invited by M-NCPPC/Park Planning staff to serve as grantee of a trail easement that would advance the Countywide Trails Master Plan and help link existing public and private trail systems. EPIC accepted the invitation and agreed to manage and maintain the trail. The Planning Board subsequently approved a proposed subdivision (Subdivision Plat No. 220120040–220120060, 220120510, Greentree Farm, formerly Barnesville Oak) that included the requirement that the developer include on its plat recordation a recreational trail easement naming EPIC as the grantee.trail easement.

The illustration at left depicts the required easement. The trails are both wooded and along the edge of crop fields and will be mostly untouched by the approved residential lots. It is a beautiful 90-minute ride from Whites Store Road near Bucklodge Road to Two Sisters Farm at the western edge close to Route 109.

read full article here...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Land & Water Conservation Fund Supporters Rally In Missoula - Full Article

August 25 2015

About 60 people rallied in Missoula's McCormick Park Monday afternoon to urge Congressional support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

That fund gets money from offshore oil and gas development if Congress so authorizes, and the money is used to purchase land for public use. Conservation Fund money was used to help buy McCormick Park. In the 50 years it’s been around, the Fund has purchased dozens of large and small properties in Montana for public use, and with local matching funds.

The LWCF is set to expire at the end of September...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Mexico: Udall, Heinrich Announce $500K For Outdoor Projects - Full Article Submitted by Chris Clark on August 18, 2015 - 1:47pm SENATE News: WASHINGTON ― Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the State of New Mexico will receive $500,138 through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to support outdoor recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. LWCF funds are a highly effective tool for creating and protecting urban and rural parks and open spaces that provide recreation opportunities, enhance communities and create jobs, but the program will expire in September unless Congress takes action. Udall and Heinrich have introduced legislation (S. 890) to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. “I'm proud to announce these funds, which highlight how urgent it is that Congress act to ensure this program is around for generations to come,” Udall said. “From urban parks like Valle de Oro and Petroglyph National Monument to the wild backcountry of the Valles Caldera, the LWCF has had a powerful impact in New Mexico communities, providing resources to conserve special outdoor spaces that enhance tourism and enrich our quality of life. LWCF is an investment that pays dividends — for every $1, we see a return of $4 to local communities. We need to allow the LWCF to reach its full potential by permanently reauthorizing it and guaranteeing full funding.”... Read more here:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Oregon Starts Search For Elliott State Forest Buyer - Full Article by Jes Burns and Ashley Stewart OPB/EarthFix | Aug. 13, 2015 The State of Oregon will start looking for a buyer willing to take the Elliott State Forest off its hands. The State Land Board voted Thursday to move ahead with plans to sell the public forest located near Coos Bay. The Elliott is managed as part of the Common School Fund, and is obligated to make money for public schools. But with declines in timber sales in recent years, the state has been losing money on the land. The state was met with harsh criticism last year when it sold off two smaller pieces of the Elliott to timber companies to help meet its financial requirements. Officials hope to avoid that kind of backlash this time around by including stipulations on the sale that would preserve, at least in part, some of the “public” characteristics of the forest. Oregon will now look for a buyer to purchase the entire 84,000-acre Elliott, while still providing recreation access, habitat protections and community economic benefit... Read more here:

Monday, August 10, 2015

AERC Trails Grant Recipient Cache Creek Ridge Ride Completes Successful Three-Year Trail Development Project

AERC Trails Grant Recipient Cache Creek Ridge Ride Completes Successful Three-Year Trail Development Project Implementation Lessons Provide Blueprint for AERC Ride Managers AUBURN, California – August 10, 2015 – The Cache Creek Ridge Ride volunteers have been involved in planning, maintenance, repair and identification of trails in the Cache Creek, California area for more than six years. The group of dedicated volunteers, led by the Stalley Family including Chuck and Pam and their daughters Jennifer and Alyssa, contributed more than 100 hours to trail maintenance in the 2014 - 2015 ride year alone. In 2014, they submitted an AERC Trails Grant proposal to make an 8-mile loop out of the Cache Creek Ridge trail - a premiere scenic portion of the Cache Creek Trail, which has ultimately become a case study in AERC grant implementation. The AERC Trails Grant allowed them to begin research and development on an area inside The Payne Ranch, a non-wilderness, recreation area owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Ukiah Field Office, Ukiah, CA. The area is an old cattle ranch with roads and trails, which go in straight lines out to points without connecting into loops. AERC Trail Master and geologist Robert Sydnor, AERC Trail Master Michael Shackelford and AERC Ride Manager Chuck Stalley were all instrumental in planning the two-phased project that took three years to complete. To fund Phase I of the project, the group received approval of $3,000 in AERC Trails Grant funding which allowed the BLM and the trail developers to scout and flag the trail to allow for NEPA studies to begin. The BLM evaluated the spiked trail in January of 2015 and made recommendations for the trail re-route where they encountered draws and washes along the proposed route. Finally, CCC crews returned to the site in the Spring to spike the route revisions. This marked the exhaustion of the original grant funds and concluded Phase I of the trail project. A request for funds was made to continue work brushing the spike trail, which was completed and approved by the BLM in March of 2015. Funds were applied to this project from an AERC grant written in April of 2015. In Phase II, the group began work on a loop trail to augment the currently out and back trail. It was agreed that the loop would enrich the riding experience for both the endurance event hosted on this property as well as the many recreational riders and endurance riders training in this location. Chuck Stalley, a member of the Bear Creek Unit Steering Committee representing equestrians and the Cache Creek AERC sanctioned rides, notes that the group had the advantage of an official memorandum of understanding with the BLM, which allows for current and future use of trails for endurance events. The original BLM use plan for the Payne Ranch clearly indicates equestrian trail riding and hiking as the main purposes for which it was transferred to the BLM, with those activities receiving priority in managing the future development and use permits for the location. This Unit is charged with the preservation and development of the property and is supportive of thoughtful trail planning and networking the trails for maximum enjoyment of riders and hikers. Upon completion of the project, AERC Trails and Land Management Committee Chair Monica Chapman believed that this project could be held up in example and asked Chuck Stalley and his wife Pam to share their experiences and lessons learned during the project to help provide a Trails Grant playbook for other ride managers. Here are their tips, in their own words: · First we contacted the landowners, in this case the BLM land managers, and held a PLANNING MEETING where they were asking for input into the future use of the Cache Creek Recreation area. BLM managers agreed to our idea to make a loop trail as hikers and equestrians both like to do loops rather than out and backs. This would make the final out and back trail into a loop for the Cache Creek Ridge Ride. · Next we were able to DEFINE A COALITION of support to finance the trail construction and early on asked AERC to partner with The Cache Creek Ridge Ride and the local BLM. Volunteers were organized and two AERC Trail Masters were contacted to consult and advise. This show of support encourages land managers to commit to matching funds and effort. Building a coalition of interested parties is important. · Our third lesson? BE FLEXIBLE! We thought Winter would be the right time, but it turns out Spring worked better. It has been important to be flexible and work with people when they are available, even though Spring is the busy time for endurance riders. · Finally, it helps to GEAR UP if you are going to be in the trail building business. Chainsaws, a four-wheeler, a trailer, a four-wheel drive pickup, GPS and all the safety gear that goes with it is nice to have. “It has been an educational experience to commit to a four mile equestrian trail in a remote area,” added Mrs. Stalley. “I just keep telling myself and others that someday my grandchildren might ride over this section of trail and say ‘My grandparents designed and helped build this trail!’” All of the combined hard work that went into enhancing the trails during this project paid off when on May 2, 2015 the AERC sanctioned Cache Creek Ridge Ride managed by Jennifer Stalley, hosted their 25 / 50 mile ride competition and 148 riders finished the ride. Plans are underway to address an additional, third phase of the project later in 2015. About the AERC's Trail Master Program
 AERC sponsors Trail Master classes across the U.S. In addition to teaching endurance riders the proper way to design and build new trails -- and maintain and improve existing trails -- we invite two land managers to attend the class with riders. Mornings are spent in the classroom. A written test follows at lunch, and afternoons are set aside for field work and getting one's hands dirty. Those who graduate from the four-day course are certified crew leaders, and can go anyplace to lead crews in the proper way to maintain, build and design trails. By working together with our land managers we can build sustainable trails for the future. About the AERC
 In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, the AERC encourages the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or Tevis Cup, covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage. The American Endurance Ride Conference, established in 1972, is headquartered in Auburn, California, “The Endurance Capital of the World.” For more information please visit us at Media Contact Candace FitzGerald Dobbin Group LLC 603-738-2788

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Recreational Trails Program in Senate Highway Bill Submitted by admin on Thu, 08/06/2015 On July 30, the Senate passed its version of a multi-year national highway bill, called the DRIVE Act. The bill would reauthorize the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP). An amendment by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was filed that would have eliminated the Transportation Alternatives Program, which includes the Recreational Trails Program. However, this amendment was not considered and the RTP program will continue un- changed if this bill becomes law. Grassroots support from recreational trail users, including equestrians played an important role in making sure RTP was included in the Senate-passed bill. The AHC appreciates all the individual horsemen and organizations that contacted their Senators in support of RTP. Since its inception RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians. RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users. It is funded with a portion of the gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund by recreational off-highway vehicle users. For now, because of disagreements over funding a multi-year highway bill, the House of Representatives is unlikely to consider the Senate Passed DRIVE Act. In the meantime the Congress has passed a 3 mouth extension of the current highway bill, which includes the RTP program. If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back Country Horsemen of America Maintains and Repairs Multi-Use Trails

August 6, 2015 by Sarah Wynne Jackson Back Country Horsemen of America values our nation’s beautiful landscape and works hard to protect our right to enjoy these lands by horseback. They also believe in being good stewards of this limited natural resource by practicing sound outdoor ethics, participating in trail maintenance, and sharing the trails with other users. To this end, BCH folks forge strong relationships with other user groups and the agencies that manage our public lands. Back Country Horsemen in Montana and Missouri recently completed trail projects that exemplify this spirit of collaboration. Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area The three mile trail leading to the Humbug Spires in southwestern Montana is normally a gentle walk through postcard-perfect scenery in an old growth forest braided with a clear creek. The Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area contains a group of over fifty granite spire formations just southeast of the continental divide. Popular with rock climbers, over 10 spires rise 300 to 600 feet above the forests like cathedral towers. The highest point of the study area is Mount Humbug, at 8265 feet, which offers stunning vistas of big sky country and lends a truly alpine feel to all endeavors. A series of microburst storms in 2014 left the area riddled with downed trees, making the path challenging for even the most athletic hiker. Although the annual trail cleanup here typically consists of 10 to 20 trees, this year’s crew faced over 100 downed trees. As part of the Wilderness 50 celebration and National Public Lands Day, Mile High Back Country Horsemen of Montana assisted employees from the Bureau of Land Management’s Butte Field Office in re-opening this scenic trail. The Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area is an 11,175 acre roadless preserve managed by the BLM as a de facto wilderness, which excludes the use of motorized or mechanized equipment. In these types of areas where the environment and ecosystem must be protected, horses and mules are invaluable for performing maintenance, repairs, and other needed work. Six members of Mile High Back Country Horsemen assisted the trail-clearing project by hauling food, water, and hand tools on their pack and saddle stock. Some of the BCHers had already seen the trail’s condition first-hand on a pleasure ride where they found it impassable, so when the BLM asked for help, their answer was a resounding “yes.” After a day’s work, the crew cleared 138 trees that were down on the trail, plus an additional 40 to 50 dead and leaning trees. Over a dozen water bars were fixed and several other trail repairs performed. The BLM and Mile High Back Country Horsemen of Montana hope to make trail maintenance at the Humbug Spires an annual joint project. Meramec Conservation Area The Indian Trails Chapter of Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen recently improved a multi-use hiking, biking, and horseback riding trail at the Meramec Conservation Area near Sullivan. They worked in cooperation with Show-Me Missouri BCH President Larry Bast, members of the Eastern Missouri Chapter, and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Meramec Conservation Area consists of nearly 4000 acres of varying forest types, including plantations established by the first state nursery. Sheer cliffs along the Meramec River form the western border of the area, offering a scenic view of the river valley and surrounding hills. Historic sites include a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, Lone Hill fire lookout tower, and old mines. The area is home to abundant wildlife, including a great blue heron rookery and bat caves (closed to the public to reduce the spread of white nose syndrome). BCH volunteers used hand tools to reshape the trail and spread about 8 tons of gravel donated by Capital Quarry. Chapter member Barb Wagner drove the dump truck donated by Havin Material. The gravel was then hauled from the parking lot to the work site by horses loaded with panniers. Volunteers also closed off an old trail that was eroded and will be repaired at a later date. The folks at Trail Blazer Magazine heard about the project, contacted Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen for more information, and featured the work in their Trail Savers column. 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:; 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 Back Country Horsemen of America

Outdoor industry not amused by latest GOP efforts to privatize public lands - Full Article August 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn Various land-transfer proposals seen as threat to recreation-dependent economies FRISCO — Transferring federally managed public lands to state or local ownership would be a bad deal for outdoor recreation, and could lead to a loss of public access, business leaders warned during the outdoor industry’s recent trade show in Salt Lake City. Outdoor industry leaders held a panel discussing during the trade shindig, focusing on what some perceive as a direct threat to the industry. The panel brought together political experts with conservationists, the sportsmen community, outdoor enthusiasts and business leaders from across the outdoor industry, all joining in opposition to state takeover of federal lands. Panelists and attendees also explored what the outdoor community can do to fight back... Read more here:

Going to Extremes: The anti-government extremism behind the growing movement to seize America’s public lands - Full Article Last week, armed members of the Oath Keepers and other militias arrived at a mine in Montana, posting “no trespassing” signs on public land. The operation is the latest in a string of standoffs involving extremist groups that refuse to recognize the authority of the U.S. government, including incidents at the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon and Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada. A new investigation by the non-partisan watchdog Center for Western Priorities has uncovered wide-ranging ties between those extremist groups and Western legislators involved in a coordinated effort to take our national lands from the American people. At the center of the land grab is Ken Ivory, a Utah state representative and president of the American Lands Council. Ivory has been accused of fraud in three states for allegedly scamming local governments into funding the ALC using taxpayer money... Read more here:

Friday, August 7, 2015

Outdoor Industry Takes on Lands-Transfer Movement - Full Article By Judy Fahys August 6 2015 Ads in Salt Lake City’s daily newspapers Thursday urge people to transform their support for public lands into political action. It’s part of the outdoor industry’s new counteroffensive against efforts to put federal lands under state control. Outdoor recreation companies say their $676 billion industry depends on having beautiful places to play in. So, hunters and fishermen are joining hands with mountain bikers and backcountry hikers to foil what they see as an existential threat. John Sterling, director of the political coalition called the Conservation Alliance, is urging recreation businesses and the conservation community this week to fight the Utah-grown lands-transfer movement... Read more here:

Two AERC Trail Master Classes for 2016

August 7 2015 The Trails and Land Management Committee is pleased to announce two AERC Trail Master Classes scheduled for 2016. The first is March 31-April 3, 2016 at Elkins Horse Creek Camp by Pedro, Oh. That is the area where Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia, all merge. Mollie Krumlaw-Smith is the host. Please contact her for information and class space at The second class is July 21-24, 2016 at Silver Falls State Park by Silverton, Or. Silverton is south of Portland. The class is sponsored by PNER. Carlene Benson and Gail Williams are the contact people. You may contact Carlene at and Gail at Or feel free to contact Monica Chapman, AERC Trails and Land Management Committee Chair at

News and Resources for Land and Water Conservation Fund

August 7, 2015: Legislation approved by the Senate Energy Committee would reauthorize the LWCF permanently. Most of the funds would be split 40-40 between federal projects and grants to states for local projects, including trails and greenways. This 40 percent minimum for “grants to states” would also include USFS Forest Legacy programs for “working forests," USFWS Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation, and the the NPS American Battlefield Protection Program. The bill would also establish a separate National Park Service maintenance account. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spearate FY 2016 appropriations bill (S 1645). It would appropriate $157.5 million for the federal land acquisition and $55 million for state grants. On the House side, a bill said to be stalled on the floor would appropriate $91 million for the federal side and $48 million for the state side. LWCF’s current authorization will expire on September 30. Read more from the National Recreation and Park Association...