Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nominations for the Ann Parr Trails Award due August 1

Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award Recipients

This award, named after trails volunteer Ann Parr, was first given in 2012, and honors the member who has worked tirelessly for equine trails.

Ann supported the Trails and Land Management Committee with her time, effort and knowledge. She worked with state count and city political offices from her home in Draper, Utah, to promote trail easement preservation and urban trails development. Ann led a campaign to enable the city of Draper to purchase an area previously slated for residential development for use as a public outdoor recreation area. Her trail advocacy and committee work are an inspiration for those who care for and work to preserve and expand equestrian trails across the country.

Sharon Ballard proposed this award on the death of her beloved friend in 2011.

This award may not be given every year.

Nominations are due August 1. Nomination form is available here:
https://aerc.org/static/2017Nomination.aspx

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Call to Protect Your Trails Funding

Hello Trail Partners,

As you heard in our last call to action, the Administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 reveals what are nothing less than catastrophic cuts to programs that directly impact trails and the places where Americans ride, bike, hike, and enjoy the outdoors. The proposed budget for trails and the federal agencies that manage and maintain trails on federal lands fails to provide for even the most basic necessities needed to maintain and manage these critical recreation resources. 

The President's budget cuts the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by 84% compared to the amount approved by Congress for 2017. Similarly, the President's budget would cut the trails program of the U.S. Forest Service by 84%. There is little doubt the agency would be forced to make sweeping personnel changes that would leave few staff among local ranger districts to work with volunteers and partners-to say nothing about the complete lack of seasonal trail crews that could be expected next year. Such budget cuts would be disastrous and unprecedented.

The good news is that Congress does not have to follow the President's proposed budget for 2018. But members of Congress need to hear from you. Otherwise, they just might fall in line behind the President's budget proposal.

Take Action!

Please call your member of Congress today.

1. Let them know that trails and outdoor recreation are important to you.

2. Ask them to maintain the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 2018, at the minimum, at a level consistent with what Congress approved in 2017.

3. Ask that they support levels of funding that keep agency trail programs intact, as volunteers alone cannot be expected to do it all.

4. Ask that funding for trails reflect the growing importance of trails to the American public, including the outdoor "recreation economy," which directly supports 7.6 million jobs across the U.S. 

To find information, including a phone number, for your representative in Congress click on this link. For contact information for your U.S. senators, click here. And if your congressman or senator is on one of the committees that control the agency budgets (i.e. the Senate or House Appropriations Committees, or the Interior Subcommittees) then your immediate action is especially helpful! Please consider reaching out to them immediately to let them know that you care about trails and trails infrastructure. 

If you desire more background and information on this issue, 3-page paper and a sign-on letter was carefully crafted in partnership with the American Hiking Society, Backcountry Horsemen of America, and the Partnership for the National Trails System, reflecting the level of concern among all trail user groups. 

Please take action TODAY to preserve access to trails on public lands.

Our future access to public lands depends on it. Thank you for your efforts to ensure trails for everyone's future.

Michael Passo
Executive Director, American Trails


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ELCR Launches National Survey

On June 21st, Equestrian Land Conservation Resource launched our nationwide survey of locally-based organizations that are working on equine advocacy and land related issues. This ground breaking comprehensive survey will reveal important information about survey respondents, including their mission, existing partnerships, historical activities, model organizations, best practices, successes and failures as well as common issues and challenges shared among respondents.

ELCR needs to continually renew our perspective on the equine community's land protection needs. Through the survey, respondents will be talking about their equine advocacy activities, giving us greater insight into where we should focus or re-direct our assistance and advocacy efforts.

The survey is in partnership with the University of Kentucky's Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) as part of ELCR's ambitious three-year strategic plan (which can be viewed in full here). ELCR will utilize the results of the survey to inform and fine-tune our educational programming, resources and technical assistance services in order to better support local advocacy and conservation efforts.

ELCR Executive Director, Holley Groshek, says "We know there are many outstanding local efforts across the country as organizations deal with equine advocacy and land protection issues. Success stories and best practices will be shared within our national network. ELCR will develop a better understanding of how we can best use our resources to support local equine advocacy and land conservation efforts."

If your organization would like to participate in the survey, please contact Abby Gates at agates@elcr.org.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Drastic Cuts Proposed for National Scenic and Historic Trail Funding

PNTS.org

6/30/2017

The National Scenic and Historic Trails administered and managed by the U.S Forest Service are funded from the agency’s Trails Account (CMTL). For FY 2017 Congress appropriated $77.383 million for that account. The proposed Trump Budget for FY 2018 provides just $12.7 million for the Forest Service to maintain over 155,000 miles of trails—a reduction of 84%! If the Forest Service allocates a proportionate amount of funds for the National Trails at this funding level only $1.268 million will be available for them.

Read our testimony here.

Sustaining Equestrian Trails

ELCR.org - full article

June 30, 2017, by ELCR
By Denise Y. O’Meara for Equine Land Conservation Resource

Here’s a wellness aspect you may not have considered – the condition of your horse trails. A poorly designed or maintained trail can lead to that most dread situation, denial of equine access.

To remain available to horseback riders, trails need respectful treatment. From design to maintenance, from concept to long term preservation, careful thought and actions are paramount for equestrians to sustain trail access.

The relationships that you have with landowners and managers need to be nurtured and maintained too. Lack of respect for these relationships will likely lead to angry people and closed trails.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

1. Whether public or private, trail landowners and managers have a stake in the value and condition of their land. Trail abuse by equestrians makes them very unhappy.

2. Land owners and managers are always concerned about liability. A lack of understanding about liability protections can prevent a trail from ever being built or close one to use. See: ELCR Article, How to Assure the Reluctant Landowner


Photo courtesy Mike Riter
3. Horses are tough on land. The torque of pointy feet leads to churning of soil and plants, creating conditions for erosion.

4. Stormwater runoff makes trail erosion possible. Once erosion starts it needs to be corrected quickly. Clay soils are especially prone to erosion.

5. Rider behavior on the trail can result in enjoyable outings. Or it can undermine trail owner/manager relations. Contributing to erosion by riding off the trail, riding in wet weather conditions, leaving trash behind, not watching out for other users and not reporting trail damage are examples of bad rider behavior. See: ELCR Article, Rules of the Ride – Model Rules for Trail Riders

6. Community planners make decisions about land use in your trail areas. In fact, they probably already have. Research current and future decisions that may affect your trails access. Without this knowledge, you may miss the chance to prevent trail closings and to help guide recreational and equine accessible trail planning to your community. See: Three Words Every Equestrian Should Know: Land Use Planning

7. The combination of bad rider behavior, poor landowner/manager relations, degraded trail conditions and uninformed equestrians, you will eventually lose access. Trail Gone. No New Trails. This Means You...

Read more here:
https://elcr.org/sustaining-equestrian-trails/

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Anza Area Trail Town committee becomes a nonprofit corporation

AnzaValleyOutlook.com - Full Article

By Newsroom on July 3, 2017

ANZA – Following an Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council Meeting in August 2014, a group of residents from Anza and Aguanga joined together to form a committee with the purpose of finding ways to establish community trails in the Anza and Aguanga Area.

This group of like-minded people is working with the long-term vision of finding a way to design, create, construct and promote a more comprehensive and sustainable trail system that will enhance our area for residents and visitors alike. The all-volunteer committee has met six times a year since its formation in 2014 and has worked diligently. The work has not been easy and the committee has become well educated on the many nuances and obstacles for its vision to become feasible To date the committee has begun to map trails in the local area, attended meetings with Riverside County staff and other government officials on solutions to make community trails a reality, and the committee has attended meetings with local stakeholders and community members.

The volunteers determined their course of action for the community to take and make the vision a reality was to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. So as of March 2017, the Anza Area Trail Town (AATT) incorporated and begins its job of making a comprehensive community trail system a reality in our area.

. If you walk, ride a horse or mountain bike on many of the local dirt roads you see magnificent views of Cahuilla, Thomas, and Beauty Mountains which embrace the Anza Valley. The newly incorporated nonprofit wants these views to be seen from common trails that will enhance the community’s leisure and pleasure...

Read more here:
http://anzavalleyoutlook.com/local/anza-area-trail-town-committee-becomes-nonprofit-corporation/

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Great Shasta Rail Trail: a link to history in northern California

AmericanTrails.org

From Great Shasta Rail Trail Association

The Great Shasta Rail Trail follows the route of the eastern expansion of the McCloud River Railroad, stretching across 80 miles of the natural and human history of the west. The town of McCloud, at the western end of the trail, sits on the southern flank of Mount Shasta, an isolated volcanic peak rising 14,162 feet above sea level. Along the route, there are dense stands of timber, which drew loggers and early settlers.

As the logging industry drew the railway east and south, camps, villages, and towns sprang up along the route until the railroad reached the vast timber resources surrounding Burney, the southern terminus. Though the railroad is gone, the towns remain. The story of the railroad still connects these communities, and will come alive again through the Great Shasta Rail Trail.

In 2005, McCloud Railway Company (MCR) petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to abandon their 80-mile rail line between Burney and McCloud, California. In March, 2009, individuals interested in converting the entire 80-mile rail line (over 1,000 acres) into a trail formed a trail coalition. There was broad based community support for development of the proposed trail from local businesses and organizations, State and Federal agencies, land trusts, and individuals.

A Core Team of non-profit organizations was composed of the Shasta Land Trust, Volcanic Legacy Community Partnership, McCloud Local First Network, and Ventura Hillsides Conservancy. The Core Team completed a draft “Trail Feasibility Study,” which describes the social and economic values of converting the corridor to public trail purposes. The Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA) will lead detailed planning efforts, trail development, maintenance work, interpretative, and stewardship efforts.

On November 23, 2009, SBF petitioned the STB for issuance of a “Notice of Interim Trail Use” (NITU). On December 3, 2009, MCR agreed to negotiate a “rail banking” Purchase Agreement for their 80-miles of rail line. On December 28, 2009, STB accepted and granted SBF’s request of NITU.

The completed recreational trail will provide numerous benefits to the rural communities of Burney and McCloud, as well as to adjacent property owners. Many studies have shown that recreational trails stimulate tourism and recreation-related spending, increase property values, and attract new businesses, which all benefit local economies.

Greater opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation will improve the quality of life and health benefits for Shasta and Siskiyou County residents and tourists. GSRT will provide an invaluable link between Burney, McCloud, and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. It will also connect with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and recreation facilities on adjacent national forest land. GSRT is envisioned as a shared-use trail, providing opportunities for hiking, biking, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, and possibly motorized trail uses such as winter snowmobiling.

In addition to increased opportunities for recreation and tourism, GSRT will also protect important natural resources and scenic amenities in northern California. The corridor offers almost innumerable possibilities for scenic overlooks and access to several streams, rivers, falls, and lakes for camping, picnicking, and fishing. It will provide access to hunting areas as well as opportunities for wildlife viewing and plant study. The trail will serve as a long-term fire break and critical access for emergency fire suppression. It will protect several historical sites and provide a new venue for community events to stimulate local economies through tourism and fund raisers.

In February 2013, a workshop brought together members of the San Francisco and Sacramento Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and Great Shasta Rail Trail volunteers to create design concepts for the trail. The workshop involved an overview of the proposed trail, outlining regional and cultural history, user needs, and goals for the project, with special focus on the locations of identified trailheads and the region’s natural resources and topography.

The trail will echo the route of the rail line and, although the rails have been removed, its sinuous journey through the Sierra–Cascade landscape remains. Most of the trail surface will be compacted volcanic cinder and at least eight feet wide, but near access points and communities, it is envisioned that the trail will be a hard surface to provide for accessibility. Where feasible within the corridor, an equestrian trail will parallel the pedestrian–bike trail, either on the trail shoulder or as a separate trail. Motorized use will be limited to areas where existing uses cross the trail corridor.

For more information and maps, see:
http://www.americantrails.org/resources/railtrails/Great-Shasta-Rail-Trail-CA.html