Monday, October 30, 2017

Canada: Horseback riders lose bid for access to DCF Main Tract - Full Article

October 27, 2017
By Mike Pickford

What appears to be a longstanding, bitter feud between two different user groups of the Dufferin County Forest reared its head last Thursday as County Council heard from horseback riders who feel hard done by recent changes to the recreational policy for the site.

It was a busy night inside council chambers as people on both sides of the issue filled the gallery, with the horse riders especially vocal as they sought to change a new policy, implemented in May, that the County spent the best part of four years putting together.

In that policy, Council agreed to dedicate a 26-kilometre loop of the Main Tract in the Dufferin County Forest to mountain bikers only, much to the chagrin of the local horseback riding community. Eight delegates spoke at the meeting on Thursday, each presenting different thoughts, opinions and points on the new policy.

The main issue most of the horse riders seemed to have is the feeling they’re being punished for not involving themselves throughout the four-year period it took to construct the policy. That feeling of injustice is only intensified by the fact that a member of the Forest Operation Review Committee, who helped form recommendations for the policy, is Johnny Yeaman, a leader of one of the local mountain bike clubs set to benefit from the new policy...

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Keeping Paradise Possible - Full Article

February 20 2017
By Robert Eversole – North East Chapter, BCHW

Paradise. For some that’s an image of a tropical beach, for me it’s a dirt trail that twists and meanders to a backcountry camp deep in the wilderness. It’s a quiet solitude punctuated by the peaceful clip clop of hooves and the far scream of an eagle aloft. It’s the sweet perfume of pine on a warm summer day. It’s the
companionship of a trusted horse who will faithfully take you home.

Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases paradise has padlocks.

In only a few short generations we’ve “improved” a lot of backcountry and rural areas into suburbia and shopping malls. Trail Closed signs are both dreaded and unfortunately frequently encountered. Least we lose them, we’d better take care of the equine friendly country that remains. Paradise needs protecting.

You don’t have to be a trail rider, or even have your own horse, to recognize the importance of conserving horse trails. There are many things that each of us can do to preserve equine trails. Unfortunately, often it’s sometimes hard to explain why groups like ours are important. Here are some of the reasons to join that I talk about during my expo clinics.

Horse clubs are focal points for both social events and trail stewardship efforts. For me the biggest reason to join an equestrian club is for the comradery of people who have the same interests. Being able to talk about trail conditions, feed, training, etc. is priceless.

Don’t have a local Back Country Horsemen group nearby, or don’t care for the one that is? Start a new one. These organizations are always looking for new members and new chapters. A quick google search will put you in touch with someone who can help.

Here are four reasons to join a, or start, a horse club. And quotes from those who have...

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Webinar: Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably

Register here

Topic: Design and Construction for Equestrian Trails - Sustainably

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.

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:; 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!