Monday, August 29, 2016

The Great Trail Debate: Stop Making Trails - Full Article

Should we continue blazing trails into wild places? Kenneth Brower doesn't think so.

By: Kenneth Brower
Aug 12, 2016

ne months before the discovery of the largest oil field in North America at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the executive director of the Sierra Club sent a team of three of us north to Alaska, on a premonition. It was clear by then, summer of 1967, that a big strike on the North Slope was likely. Our assignment was to gather materials for a large-format photographic book defending the nation’s last great wilderness against Big Oil.

I was 22, the writer. My two photographer companions and I flew in by bush plane to Last Lake on the Sheenjek River, then walked for five weeks across the Brooks Range and out to the Arctic Ocean.

Near the shore of Last Lake, before we departed, I found the cache of a native Alaskan Gwich’in hunter, a tiny shake cabin elevated atop peeled spruce poles. No wolverine or grizzly had figured how to climb the poles. The door remained intact. Inside I found the hunter's draft card; his name was Ambrose William. We left William's cache behind us and walked north in perpetual daylight for more than a month without seeing another sign of human being—not a blaze on a tree, not a corroded tin can, not a dropped penny, nothing. We had entered a perfect traillessness.

In our photo book on the Brooks Range, and in a follow-up book I co-authored on the Trans Alaska Pipeline southward from Prudhoe Bay, we laid out all the threats: disruption of caribou migration by the pipe; the thawing of permafrost underneath it; the slow biodegradation of any leaks, marine or terrestrial; the seismic terrain traversed; the narrow waterways that supertankers would have to negotiate with Prudhoe oil. (We predicted the wreck of the Exxon Valdez 15 years before that ship was built.) But nothing about the pipeline itself worried us, and other environmentalists, more than did the service roads for pipeline maintenance. There is nothing more fatal to wilderness than a road. Roads open up the country to vehicles, prospectors, recreational hunters, the occasional arsonist. Roads have “edge effects” from which wilderness unravels to either side. The trail is a primitive road on a much smaller scale, but with similar dynamics...

Read more here:

The Great Trail Debate: Why Wilderness Needs More Trails - Full Article

Should we ban the construction of any more trails into the wilderness? Robert Moor, author of the new book, 'On Trails,' says we should build more.

By: Robert Moor
Aug 13, 2016

Back in 1930, Bob Marshall—legendary outdoorsman, bestselling author, and grandpappy of the environmental movement—set out to define what the wilderness is. He settled on two basic preconditions: “first, that it requires anyone who exists in it to depend exclusively on his own effort for survival; and second, that it preserves as nearly as possible the primitive environment.” This means that all roads, mechanical transportation, and human habitation would be forbidden. But according to Marshall, trails—the most ‘primitive’ of all our myriad inventions—would be “entirely permissible.”

This belief was later reflected in the first version of the National Wilderness Preservation Act, introduced to the Senate in 1957, which defines wilderness as a place where “man” is “a wanderer who visits but does not remain and whose travels leave only trails.” That’s the thing about trails: if enough people visit a piece of land, they are going to make them. It’s what we as a species—we as animals—instinctively do. The act of creating and following trails is one of the oldest and most profound ways that we make sense of this chaotic planet we all live on.

The question, then, is not whether we want to make trails, but how—with our feet, or with our hands? In other words, do we want to create them unconsciously and with little foresight? Or do we want to build them deliberately, with the aim of making them as sustainable as possible?...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

California: EBMUD Opening up Watershed Trails - Full Article

Published August 24th, 2016
By Nick Marnell

Mountain bikers will soon be able to share popular East Bay Municipal Utility District trails with hikers and equestrians if a proposed two-year pilot program for equal access is approved as part of the EBMUD Watershed Master Plan. The trial period would begin next summer and will feature four sections of district trails that connect to regional trail systems, including the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

The watershed comprises 28,000 acres of East Bay property that the district manages in order to protect the quality of drinking water for its 1.3 million customers and to promote biological diversity. Sections of the watershed familiar to Lamorindans include the Upper San Leandro Reservoir south of Moraga, the Briones Reservoir and the San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area near Orinda and the Lafayette Reservoir.

"This issue has received the most attention, more than our historic drought," said EBMUD director Marguerite Young, who told a standing room crowd at district headquarters Aug. 15 that she favored equal trail access. Moraga and Orinda reside in Young's Ward 3.

Concerns for safety and the destruction of the natural environment highlighted the presentations of nearly 60 speakers, whose comments appeared to be fairly balanced between the pro and anti-bicyclists...

Read more at:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Free Webinar: "Understanding the National Recreation Trails Program and National Water Trails System"

Thursday, September 8, 2016
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. PACIFIC
 (1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EASTERN)  
(CEUs are available for $20)


Join us to find out how your local trail efforts can shine in the national spotlight! This webinar will introduce you to the National Recreation Trails Program and the National Water Trails System. Thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service, this webinar is free to the public!
• Rory Robinson, National Park Service
• Helen Scully, National Park Service
• Jarrett Caston, U.S. Forest Service
• Liz Sparks, Florida Office of Greenways & Trails

Learn more about this webinar and the presenters, as well as how to register HERE. 

CEUS: If you are interested in receiving CEUs for this webinar ($20 fee), please be sure and select YES to that question when registering and purchase the CEUs through our online store.

Questions for the Presenters:
Feel free to send in your questions prior to the webinar as we saved time for questions and answers (Q&A) at the end.  
For more information, see:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Biking bill is a smokescreen for opening up wilderness - Full Article

John Kelley
Aug. 17, 2016

Are you ready for mechanized vehicles on every wilderness trail in the United States? That's what you'll get if a deceptive piece of federal legislation becomes law. Portrayed as a “modest” proposal for mountain bike access, the legislation is a Trojan horse that would throw open all designated wilderness areas to bikes and prevent federal land managers from later excluding them.

The "Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act" was introduced into Congress by Utah Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both known for their efforts to roll back environmental protection. You can read it online.

Hatch calls the legislation "a reasonable approach to allowing the use of mountain bikes on trails." Lee says it would allow local land managers to decide whether to allow mountain biking in wilderness areas. Both statements are smokescreens designed to hide what’s really going on...

Read more here:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Nevada Equestrians: Give your trail opinions!


Nevada State Parks - in cooperation with both the National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration - distributes millions of dollars in grants each year, to awardees around the state.

These grants go to projects both large and small: from new signs on a local bike path, to the installation of entire playgrounds and major new trail systems.

To make the most of these funds, State Parks must understand the needs and goals of Nevada residents - thank you for providing your thoughts and ideas.

Take the survey here:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

NPS Paramount Ranch Proposed as 2024 Olympic Mountain Bike Training Ground

by Stephanie Abronson

Save this date and please show up to express your concern -- August 23, 2016, Tuesday, NPS Diamond X Ranch, 26412 Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas, CA 91302 at7:00 PM

Mountain Biking is a future Olympic Sport in 2024. This may be the worst and most ecologically abusive event to be added to the Olympic roster for the damage it will cause to our environment. Mountain Bikers will need a training area specifically for them to race and crash without endangering all other trail users. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposes that NPS Paramount Ranch be used as an Olympic Mountain Bike Training ground in 2024. This proposal is inappropriate!

A copy of my letter to David Szymanski, Superintendent, National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, may be used to help other folks to chime in against the Garcetti proposal to use NPS’s Paramount Ranch -- nor any other area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area for future Olympic Mountain Bike training. Remember the SMMNRA is located in the California Coastal Commission zone. Wouldn’t a Coastal Permit be required to improve any training area in the SMMNRA?

Think of the Mountain Biker’s hope of gaining a spot on the United States Team, the amount of training – months and years - that goes into any Olympic sport, and what it will mean to the ecological systems in all the countries that support a Mountain Bike team!!

Mountain Biking takes place in mountainous terrain, most often in our state, national, and historic parklands. Training for this event will cause irreparable damage to all natural habitats the bikers come in contact with. Think what will this mean to those of us who must use the same trails for hiking and horseback riding? We will end up giving up our use of our trails for fear that our safety cannot be secured.

Think also of the local traffic congestion should Paramount Ranch be designated an Olympic training area. It is promised that “restoration” will occur after the Games. But that is only for Paramount Ranch. Fat chance! All the local California parklands will be overrun and damaged, not just Paramount Ranch. We are now in a 5-year drought! Think what will happen during our expanding spring, summer to fall Fire season!

Encourage the members of the Sierra Club, Audubon Clubs, and others to join in this effort to protect the Santa Monica Mountains NATIONAL Recreation Area.

Send your letters to:
David Szymanski, Superintendent,
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service,
401 West Hillcrest Drive,
Thousand Oaks, California 91360-4207

Sally Jewell, Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region
Jody Holzworth, Assistant Regional Director, External Affairs
2800 Cottage Way W-2606,
Sacramento, CA 95825

Joe Edmiston, Executive Director
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
57S0 W Ave 26 #100,
Los Angeles, CA 90065

Craig Sap Email:
Angeles District Superintendent,
California State Parks
1925 Las Virgenes Rd.
Calabasas, CA. 91302

Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council
P.O. Box 345
Agoura Hills, Ca 91301
Howard Cohen

Appaloosa Horse Club Celebrates History at the 52nd Annual Chief Joseph Trail Ride

August 17 2016

MOSCOW, IDAHO — Over 250 riders, drivers and spectators from across the nation and around the world gathered together to experience in the 52nd Annual Chief Joseph Trail Ride organized by the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), July 18-22, 2016. The Chief Joseph Trail Ride is a progressive trail ride tracing, as closely as possible, the route Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce took while attempting to escape the US Cavalry in 1877. A different segment of this monumental journey is covered each year.

This year’s ride marked the fourth time the ride reached the final leg at Bear Paw Battlefield near Chinook, Montana where the historic Battle of the Bears Paw took Place. The first sequence was completed in 1977. The Appaloosa Horse Club worked closely with the Nez Perce Tribe to coordinate a variety of special presentations and ceremonies in respect of this significant event where after five days of battle with the US Calvary, Chief Joseph spoke the everlasting words, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

Riders from twenty U.S. states as well as Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway attended this year’s event. Some participants such as Anne Mischel have attended all 52 years of the ride. Participating in this ride is a remarkable experience that has been described as moving and unforgettable.

Be sure to watch for the November 2016 issue of Appaloosa Journal for additional coverage of the 52nd Annual Chief Joseph Trail Ride. For information on the ApHC Trail & Distance Program and ApHC- sponsored trail rides contact (208) 882-5578 ext. 264.

The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) was established in 1938 with a mission of honoring the heritage and promoting the future of the Appaloosa horse. The ApHC has since registered more than 700,000 Appaloosas, which are known for their distinctive color, intelligence and even temperament. True to their reputation as an extremely versatile breed, Appaloosas can be found in nearly every discipline including racing, endurance riding and serving as reliable family horses. The international breed registry is headquartered in Moscow, Idaho, the heart of the Palouse region—the Appaloosa breed’s namesake and point of origin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Montana: Landowner contests Forest Service trail in Crazy Mountains - Full Article

Jul 17, 2016

A Big Timber-area landowner and the Forest Service have locked horns over an old trail that crosses private land on the eastern face of the Crazy Mountains to access hard-to-reach federal lands.

Hailstone Ranch owners Lee and Barbara Langhus have hired Livingston attorney Joseph Swindlehurst to counter the Forest Service’s contention that Trail 115, also shown as Trail 136 on some maps, is a public prescriptive easement across their property.

“My clients are not aware of any easement that the public or the Forest Service has to cross their property,” Swindlehurst wrote in a March 25 letter to Alex Sienkiewicz, the Yellowstone District ranger based in Livingston.

Old trail

The Forest Service sees things differently...

Read more here:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Utah Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Could Allow Bikes in Wilderness - Full Article

Tester opposes proposal; Daines still reviewing legislation as debate resurfaces

By Dillon Tabish // Jul 25, 2016

Two Utah senators have introduced legislation that would allow federal officials, such as U.S. Forest Service supervisors, to decide whether mountain bikes could be used on sections of trail in designated wilderness areas.

U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, and Orrin Hatch, R-UT, are proposing the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act, a bill that would change the rule banning bikes in protected wilderness, such as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

The bill would allow local land managers to decide whether to permit mountain bikes in wilderness areas, for both recreational and management purposes, as well as allow federal employees or designees to use non-invasive, minimal technology to maintain wilderness trails.

“Our National Wilderness Preservation System was created so that the American people could enjoy the solitude and recreational opportunities of this continent’s priceless natural areas,” Lee stated after introducing the bill on July 13. “This bill would enrich Americans’ enjoyment of the outdoors by making it easier for them to mountain bike in wilderness areas.”

The debate over bikes in protected wilderness has intensified in the decades since 1984, when the Forest Service explicitly outlawed “mechanized transport” in those areas...

Read more here:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Why does the outdoor recreation community ignore horseback riders? - Full Article

We love and make use of our public lands, but we get no respect.

Maddy Butcher
Aug. 2, 2016 Web Exclusive

The cover of a recent outdoor-gear catalog featured two men on horseback looking cool and competent. Marvelous, I said to myself: An outdoor recreation company is acknowledging that horse riders also love the outdoors.

Alas, the photo caption made no mention of horses, their utility or their traditional use in that country. For me, it was just another example of how the outdoor recreation community ignores people who prefer to get outdoors on horseback. We love and make use of our public lands, but we get no respect, either on the trail or in the trade.

Consider outdoor recreational marketing. Along with about 27,000 annual people, I’ve been attending the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City for years. It’s the major buying event for retailers and a major networking event for everyone else.

When I go, I make a point of wearing cowboy boots and jeans, and I like to explain to people selling outdoor gear exactly why I’m there. I talk about how we horse folks explore the wilds as much as bikers, hikers, runners and boaters...

Read more here:

Yosemite Wilderness Stewardship Plan

Yosemite National Park resides in central California on the western flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Known for its breath taking valleys, sheer granite walls and domes, abundant vegetation and wildlife, and pristine rivers and streams, Yosemite has long been a place for inspiration, wonder, and discovery.

Officially designated by the California Wilderness Act in 1984, the Yosemite Wilderness area comprises over 94%, or about 704,000 acres, of the total area of Yosemite. Many of the destinations and vistas that draw people to the park reside within the designated wilderness boundary.

The Yosemite Wilderness Area is currently managed under the 1989 Wilderness Management Plan. Although effective, changing use patterns, increased visitation numbers, and emerging threats to resources have prompted the park to develop an update to the Plan. The purpose of the Yosemite Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (WSP/EIS) is to review the management direction established by the 1989 Plan and update it as necessary to better align with contemporary use patterns and NPS policy.

In particular, there is a need to examine and refine the existing plan to incorporate new information and understanding about changes in visitor use patterns, methods of managing visitor use, techniques for trail design and construction, and concepts for managing stock in wilderness settings. There is also a need to incorporate new policy direction and definitions for wilderness character into the park's wilderness management framework. Finally, there is a need to determine the extent to which commercial services are necessary in the Yosemite Wilderness.

The Wilderness Stewardship Plan will apply to both visitor and administrative use (National Park Service and concessioner) in wilderness. While some site-specific actions may be necessary, the primary focus of the plan will be to provide a framework for measuring and monitoring wilderness character to ensure that future management actions will be taken as needed to adapt to changing conditions.

The Park initiated the WSP/EIS in November 2015 and conducted a public scoping comment period from November 10th, 2015 to January 29th, 2016. The Park hosted two meetings and three webinars, in an effort to engage the public and other stakeholders in the planning process. The Park will continue to seek public opinion throughout the planning process, including the current release of our preliminary concepts and ideas. This period for public feedback will be open through September 30th, 2016 and will include workshops and webinars open to the public. For more information, please see the "meeting notices" tab on the left hand side of this page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Contact Information
Yosemite National Park, Strategic Planning Division
(209) 379-1218

Horse and Camp at Mueller State Park, Colorado

Mueller State Park has a brand new adventure awaiting horse-back riders!  Equestrians can now camp at the park with their horses and get up bright and early to ride the trails. With expanded trails this year, Mueller offers over 30 miles of trails through rolling meadows, forested canyons and the mountain beauty that is Mueller State Park!
Whether you plan to come for the day, or spend the night, your journey begins at the Livery where there's room for numerous trucks and trailers to park and unload.  Water is available and the horse trails begin from there.  Adjacent to the Livery are the equestrian campsites.  These two campsites offer electricity, a tent pad and RV space, a 12 x 24 corral for each site and round pen use.  You can enjoy the peace, quiet and beautiful view of Pike's Peak, tucked in and away from the main campground.
Equestrian campsites can be reserved by calling 1-800-678-2267.  You can see the availability online, but they must be reserved by phone.  Please bring your own weed-free feed, water buckets (hydrant available) and tools for clean up. Please call the park for more information 719-687-2366.
The campsite cost $26 per night, plus $10 per horse per night. In addition, each vehicle needs a park pass, $7 per day or $70 annual.
Make some new memories! You, your friends, and your horse - it doesn't get much better than that!
Mueller State Park is located just 45 minutes from Colorado Springs on the west side of Pike's Peak.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado's wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation.  For more information go to

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

National Public Lands Day to be Held September 24th

August 1 2016

This year's National Public Lands Day is just around the corner. This is a great opportunity to garner volunteer support and promote the National Trails System. Is your trail organization hosting an event? We want to hear about it! Send us your stories and photos to be featured in the upcoming issue of Pathways Across America.

Need help planning? The National Environmental Education Foundation has created a promotional kit that provides tips on planning activities, creating communications plans, utilizing online media, recruiting volunteers, and more.