Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Will the Nation's Longest Trail Ever Be Completed?

Outsideonline.com - Full Article

Kathryn Miles
May 16, 2018

Decades of political infighting have stymied construction of the North Country Trail, which, if finished, would run for 4,600 miles. Now it looks like Congress may finally be ready to get its act together.
Late last month, the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved a bill to revise the route of the North Country Trail. Under most circumstances, this kind of legislative action would hardly seem noteworthy. But for the long-suffering national scenic trail and its supporters, this committee approval represents a major victory in a 50-year battle to make North Country a reality.

“We’re super excited,” Andrea Ketchmark, executive director of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA), told me over the phone. “We’ve never made it this far in Congress before.”

If that statement doesn’t give you pause, it should. The North Country Trail was first proposed in 1966 and received federal approval as a scenic trail nearly 40 years ago. It is nowhere near finished today. Why? Turns out there are many reasons...

Read more here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

California: Closed for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail is nearly restored — thanks to mountain bikers

LATimes.com - Full Article

By Louis Sahagun
May 02, 2018

Erik Hillard has always believed the best way to know a rugged trail is to bike it. But for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail in the peaks above La CaƱada Flintridge has been all but unknowable to mountain bikers.

The 2009 Station fire and the rainy season that followed it rendered much of a 26-mile stretch of the trail impassable.

Hillard, and a team of volunteers, have been working to change that.

It's a landscape-sized job in the San Gabriel Mountains, where about 100 people have spent spare days and weekends recarving a path wide enough for only one bike at a time that climbs and dips under canopies of aspen and oak, past rock overhangs and along cliffs with sweeping views and no guardrails.

But the U.S. Forest Service says the yearlong volunteer campaign holds the best hope for reopening the nation's first National Recreation Trail — and keeping peace between mountain bikers and hikers in the increasingly crowded backcountry of the Angeles National Forest's San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

"This is an unforgiving mountain range, where nothing is flat and wildfires and floods are routine," said Hillard, 43, a spokesman for the Mt. Wilson Bicycling Assn. "And without volunteer efforts, these trails would stay closed..."

Read more here:
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-gabrielino-trail-20180502-story.html

Monday, May 14, 2018

Let's put more HORSEpower in the Recreation-Not-Red Tape (RNR) Act!

Tell Your Senators to Co-Sponsor S. 1633!

Let's put more HORSEpower in the Recreation-Not-Red Tape (RNR) Act!

As you know, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) has introduced S. 1633, the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape (RNR) Act, underscoring the need to reduce regulations that prevent trail rides on public land. With help from horsemen across the country, the House Natural Resources Committee has recently approved the House version of the bill (H.R. 3400) with strong, bipartisan support. Now it's time for the Senate to do its part and move this important legislation closer to the finish line. Please contact your Senators today, and urge them to cosponsor S. 1633, the RNR Act of 2017!

https://app.muster.com/take-action/QgHF0esnOT/?t=b68cf370100ea1969f9affd6683b9f20
(Note that by filling out the form you will receive future communications from the American Horse Council.)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

AERC Awarded $20,000 Trail Grant from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance

May 9 2018

A commitment to trails is vital to the sport of endurance riding, and the American Endurance Ride Conference is pleased to announce that a National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance (NWSA) grant has been approved in the amount of $20,000 for trails work under the auspices of AERC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The funding will develop and improve existing trail systems in the Wayne National Forest, Vesuvius Region, near Pedro, Ohio. This system is home to Elkins Creek Horse Camp and AERC’s Black Sheep Boogie and Gobble ’Til You Wobble endurance rides. Although the ride names are whimsical, the rides of 25, 50 or 75 miles in length are a testament to the horsemanship and training of the participating riders and equines. In addition the Boogie, held the last weekend of June, there are long-term plans in place to hold a 100-mile endurance event in 2019 and then host the AERC National Championship Ride in October of 2020.

Monies from this grant will be used to provide the materials and equipment rental needed to improve areas along the entire eastern side of the main loop, a 25-plus mile section of trail. These improvements will ensure the sustainability of these trail systems for years to come.

AERC Ride Manager Committee Chair Mollie Krumlaw-Smith, who also manages the two rides held on this system, and Alex Uspenski, co-chair of AERC’s Trails and Land Management Committee, helped Jill and Rick McCleese, owners of Elkins Creek Horse Camp, to write the grant. All are graduates of AERC’s Trail Master program, which trains AERC members and land managers to build sustainable trails and make trail repairs in that will last for many years.

The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, signed into law in December of 2016, calls for the U.S. Forest Service to create a way to catch up on back trail maintenance, and pairs with organizations like the Back Country Horsemen, American Hiking Society, American Trails and the International Mountain Biking Association to meet the country’s trail maintenance goals.

The Trails Stewardship Funding Program awards funds to trails and stewardship organizations who then increase trail maintenance accomplishments and reduce deferred maintenance (trail backlog) on National Forest System trails. More than 100 proposals were received, requesting $1.4 million in funding, and a total of 42 projects were funded, totaling $402,000.

According to the NSWA, the Trail Funding program elicited over $1 million in matching cash, and over $2 million of in-kind matches. More than 5,300 volunteers, trail crew members, and nonprofit staff are expected to participate across the 42 selected projects. Over 1,700 miles of trail will be maintained, additional signing, structure repair, and many bridges will be replaced using these grant funds.

“I am very excited and proud of AERC’s Trails Program, said Monica Chapman, AERC Trails and Land Management Committee co-chair. “The grant is a perfect example of a group effort from the locals on the ground doing the sweat equity, the committee level members writing the grant and with the local forest, to attending meetings in Washington, DC, to meet with legislators and many of the groups belonging to NSWA. This is a perfect example of how a non-profit grass-roots organization should work.”

The volunteers at Elkins Creek Horse Camp plan on having most if not all of these improvements completed by December of 2018 and will be working steadily throughout the year.

“Endurance riders will appreciate the improved trail conditions, even under rainy conditions, in the Wayne National Forest, and the improvements will also be welcomed by the thousands of trail riders who visit the area each year,” said Krumlaw-Smith. This trail system has a wonderful group of volunteers who literally put thousands of hours each year into its development and maintenance.

“This grant will finally enable them to complete the 10-plus year project,” said Krumlaw-Smith. “Additionally it’s a wonderful help to the whole community in bringing more tourism to the region. By doing so we bring more revenue into local retail stores, restaurants, and other small businesses. The effect of the trail improvements will be felt community-wide.”

Randy Welsh, NWSA’s executive director who manages the program, said, “Trails connect people to the National Forests, and this funding will help these local groups and volunteers participate in caring for and managing their Forests. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Partnership Funding Program will encourage a huge increase in the number of volunteers and public involved with National Forest trails.”

Further information on the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding program can be found on the NWSA website at www.wildernessalliance.org/trail_funding.

For more information about the American Endurance Ride Conference, visit www.AERC.org.


About the AERC

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) was founded in 1972 as a national governing body for long distance riding. Over the years it has developed a set of rules and guidelines designed to provide a standardized format and strict veterinary controls. The AERC sanctions more than 700 rides each year throughout North America and in 1993 Endurance became the fifth discipline under the United States Equestrian Team.

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,” 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. For more information please visit us at www.aerc.org.

Monday, April 16, 2018

National Park Fee-Free Day on April 21

NPS.gov

April 21st is the first day of National Park Week, and is being celebrated with a fee-free day in the nation's National Parks.

“National parks connect all of us with our country’s amazing nature, culture and history,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Michael T. Reynolds. “The days that we designate as fee-free for national parks mark opportunities for the public to participate in service projects, enjoy ranger-led programs, or just spend time with family and friends exploring these diverse and special places. We hope that these fee-free days offer visitors an extra incentive to enjoy their national parks in 2018.”

Normally, 118 of the 417 national parks charge an entrance fee. The other 299 national parks do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that charge an entrance fee. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current members of the military, families of fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2018 include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The National Park System includes more than 84 million acres and is comprised of 417 sites, including national parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores. There is at least one national park in every state.

Last year, 331 million people visited national parks spending $18.4 billion which supported 318,000 jobs across the country and had a $35 billion impact on the U.S. economy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Congress Appropriates Funds for LWCF for 2018

PNTS.org

LWCF and Congressional Updates
PNTS Statement on the $1.3 Trillion Omnibus FY 2018 Appropriations Bill (3/30/2018)

The Partnership for the National Trails System thanks Congress for finally appropriating the money to fund Federal agencies—including our partners in the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S Forest Service, and the Federal Highway Administration—through the end of Federal Fiscal Year 2018 (September 30th). Within the $1.3 Trillion Omnibus FY 2018 Appropriations Bill, Congress has appropriated $425 million for acquisition of critical lands for conservation and recreation through the Land & Water Conservation Fund—a modest increase over the funding provided for FY 2017. This funding includes $18.359 million to buy land along three of the national historic trails and four of the national scenic trails.

Congress appropriated $2,298,397,000 for the National Park Service to operate the National Park System, including 23 of the national scenic and historic trails. This is an increase of $54.046 million over the funding provided for 2017.

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System this year Congress, provided this direction: “National Trails System—In preparation for the National Trails System’s 50-year anniversary in 2018, the Committees urge the [Park] Service to make funding the construction and maintenance of national trails a priority.” It remains to be seen how the National Park Service will carry out this guidance.

Congress also appropriated $80 million for the U.S. Forest Service to build and maintain the 158,000 miles of trails on the national forests, including the five national scenic trails and one national historic trail that it administers and sections of 17 other national trails within national forests. The funding provided for 2018 is $2.47 million more than Congress provided to the Forest Service for the trails in 2017 and is the first increase in trail funding in three or more years.

Additionally in the Omnibus FY 2018 Appropriations Bill, Congress has also permanently reauthorized the Federal Lands Transfer Facilitation Act (FLTFA), authorizing the Bureau of Land Management to sell surplus Federal land and use the money gained from these sales to buy land for conservation and recreation purposes.

Congress also finally passed a comprehensive Wildfire Suppression funding program that should enable the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies to pay the increasingly greater costs of suppressing wildfires and eliminate the need to “borrow” funds from other programs to do so.

We applaud Congress for finally resolving these several long-standing issues, but we are disappointed that Congress did not re-authorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which expires on September 30, 2018.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Back Country Horsemen Education Foundation: Keeping Trails Open, One Project at a Time

March 28 2018
by Sarah Wynne Jackson

As a service organization with an exemplary record of volunteerism, Back Country Horsemen of America knows the true cost of keeping trails open, not only for horse use but for all users of every kind. They occasionally receive donations of funds, materials, or labor, but BCHers frequently bear the majority of the cost of those projects themselves, out of their individual pockets.

But that’s beginning to change, thanks to the Back Country Horsemen Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation formed to provide financial support for the programs and projects that keep trails open for you.

Making Projects and Education Possible

The Back Country Horsemen Education Foundation provides funds for qualified programs that meet its specific objectives and purposes in a wide range of public interests. Supported programs include those that benefit the horse and other stock users, and programs that promote cooperative interaction with other user groups regarding safety, care, and the protection of our wild lands.

Foundation funds may be used to provide scholarships or financial support for training, certification, and/or presenting in a variety of areas, including minimum impact practices with saddle and pack stock (such as Leave No Trace), trail construction and maintenance, promoting cooperative interaction with other user groups and public land managers, wilderness safety and first aid, and research concerning responsible recreation.

When allocating funds, preference is given to projects that involve partnerships with public land agencies and other trail or youth groups. These projects may include 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or other youth groups, and are typically oriented towards education about saddle and pack stock, and the responsible use of our precious back country resource.

Wasatch Front Back Country Horsemen

A $450 grant from the BCH Education Foundation helped cover the costs of a very popular annual youth weekend organized by the Wasatch Front Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Utah, which always draws interest and excitement from local kids. Last year’s event hosted fifteen kids at Weber County’s North Fork Park in Eden, a popular and easy-to-get-to horse camping spot that provides relief from the valley’s summer heat.

The weekend is about so much more than camping, riding with their friends, and having fun. The kids also become more accustomed to riding and handling horses, learn the importance of responsible recreation, practice using Leave No Trace principles, renew friendships formed at last year’s campout, and find fulfilment and confidence in a job well done in a wild place that only God could make.

The Wasatch Front Back Country Horsemen work frequently in North Fork Park, maintaining trails, building facilities, and more. Many miles of trails through mountain forests and glens provide fantastic opportunities for recreationists to get away from it all, even if only for a few hours.

Front Range Back Country Horsemen

A $500 grant from the BCH Education Foundation enabled Front Range Back Country Horsemen of Colorado to provide the food, supplies, and trail maintenance materials for an entire youth work weekend. In 2017, this annual event hosted seven children. Along with 15 adults, the group worked a total of 126 hours on repairing Running Bear Trail near Buno Gulch on Guanella Pass in Pike National Forest.

Adjacent to a bog, the trail had deteriorated. Before the FRBCH group arrived, workers from Pike National Forest realigned the timbers bordering the trail that had become skewed. The Back Country Horsemen youth and adult volunteers used wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, and hard work to refill the trail with an aggregate trail surface base.

Some FRBCH adults brought their horses, giving the boys and girls exciting opportunities to help care for the horses and learn how to use them in the back country. The kids did most of the cooking and cleaning up, which afforded more opportunities to learn outdoor skills and responsibility. The adults had formal and impromptu conversations with the youth regarding survival skills, wilderness first aid, proper use and care of tools, and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

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.bcha.org; call 888-893-5161; or write 342 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Call for Presentations at 2019 Int'l Trails Symposium


AmericanTrails.org


Syracuse, NY
April 28-May 1

We are proud to feature for a third Symposium the Professional TrailBuilders Association’s (PTBA) Sustainable Trails Workshop Series, Legacy Trail, and Technical Track. This will be an inspiring and educational conference as we come together as a trails community. Email symposium@americantrails.org for any Symposium-related questions.

To help us develop an exciting and motivating program for the Symposium, we invite you to submit ideas for presentations in support of the Symposium’s theme, “Health, Heritage, & Happiness.” Proposals can be for nationally or internationally focused presentations.

This year, American Trails is extremely excited to announce that the Trails Training Institute will run concurrently with the International Trails Symposium, in partnership with the Professional TrailBuilders Association, and will provide a full series of sessions and workshops focused on:


• technical trail building
• contracting
• design
• planning
• mapping and data gathering
• interpretation
• equipment and tool use
• maintenance techniques and methods
• volunteer engagement


Trails Training Institute sessions should feature solutions-based topics. We will choose proposals that are quantifiable educational opportunities. Actionable outcomes and tangible take-aways are required to be included in the Training Institute. All Training Institute sessions will offer CEU /Learning Credits, and will be submitted for approval through the DOI Learn training platform, a federal platform for training opportunities for federal employees.

You can download the Call for Presentations here:
http://americantrails.org/ee/index.php/symposium/2019

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Nevada receives $1 million federal grant to open new Walker River Park

Carsonnow.org - Full Article

Submitted by editor on Wed, 03/07/2018

MASON VALLEY — Nevada Division of State Parks is the recipient of a $1 million federal grant award through the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to develop Nevada's newest state park, the Walker River State Recreation Area.

The funding amounts to $1,091,451 and will be directed at the recreation area in Mason Valley. LWCF assistance is a competitive grant program designed to benefit local communities through the preservation and development of outdoor recreation resources, according to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The new Walker River State Recreation Area will provide a vibrant outdoor experience for area visitors, featuring expanded opportunities for camping, hunting, and riparian recreation...

Read more here
https://carsonnow.org/story/03/07/2018/nevada-receives-1-million-federal-grant-open-new-walker-river-park

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

FS.fed.us


Focused work will help agency reduce a maintenance backlog and make trails safer for users
USDA Office of Communications

FEBRUARY 16, 2018 AT 1:30 PM EST - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands.

Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind.

“Our nation’s trails are a vital part of the American landscape and rural economies, and these priority areas are a major first step in USDA’s on-the-ground responsibility to make trails better and safer,” Secretary Perdue said. “The trail maintenance backlog was years in the making with a combination of factors contributing to the problem, including an outdated funding mechanism that routinely borrows money from programs, such as trails, to combat ongoing wildfires.

“This borrowing from within the agency interferes with other vital work, including ensuring that our more than 158,000 miles of well-loved trails provide access to public lands, do not harm natural resources, and, most importantly, provide safe passage for our users.”

This year the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act which established America’s system of national scenic, historic, and recreation trails. A year focused on trails presents a pivotal opportunity for the Forest Service and partners to lead a shift toward a system of sustainable trails that are maintained through even broader shared stewardship.

The priority areas focus on trails that meet the requirements of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016 (link is external) (PDF, 224KB), which calls for the designation of up to 15 high priority areas where a lack of maintenance has led to reduced access to public land; increased risk of harm to natural resources; public safety hazards; impassable trails; or increased future trail maintenance costs. The act also requires the Forest Service to “significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance” and to aim to double trail maintenance accomplished by volunteers and partners.

Shared stewardship to achieve on-the-ground results has long been core to Forest Service’s approach to trail maintenance, as demonstrated by partner groups such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

“Our communities, volunteers and partners know that trails play an important role in the health of local economies and of millions of people nationwide, which means the enormity of our trail maintenance backlog must be adequately addressed now,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “The agency has a commitment to be a good neighbor, recognizing that people and communities rely on these trails to connect with each other and with nature.”

Each year, more than 84 million people get outside to explore, exercise and play on trails across national forests and grasslands and visits to these places help to generate 143,000 jobs annually through the recreation economy and more than $9 million in visitor spending.

The 15 national trail maintenance priority areas encompass large areas of land and each have committed partners to help get the work accomplished. The areas are:

• Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and Adjacent Lands, Montana: The area includes the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas and most of the Hungry Horse, Glacier View, and Swan Lake Ranger Districts on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide. There are more than 3,200 miles of trails within the area, including about 1,700 wilderness miles.

• Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington: Methow Valley is a rural recreation-based community surrounded by more than 1.3 million acres of managed by the Forest Service. The area includes trails through the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas and more than 130 miles of National Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails.

• Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Eagle Cap Wilderness, Idaho and Oregon: This area includes more than 1,200 miles of trail and the deepest river canyon in North America as well as the remote alpine terrain of the Seven Devil’s mountain range. The area also has 350,000 acres in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the largest in Oregon.

• Central Idaho Wilderness Complex, Idaho and Montana: The area includes about 9,600 miles of trails through the Frank Church River of No Return; Gospel Hump; most of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas; portions of the Payette, Salmon-Challis, Nez Perce and Clearwater national forests; and most of the surrounding lands. The trails inside and outside of wilderness form a network of routes that give access into some of the most remote country in the Lower 48.

• Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico: The trail’s 3,100 continuous miles follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, including more than 1,900 miles of trails across 20 national forests. The trail runs a diverse route with some sections in designated wilderness areas and others running through towns, providing those communities with the opportunity to boost the local economy with tourism dollars.

• Wyoming Forest Gateway Communities: Nearly 1,000 miles of trail stretch across the almost 10 million acres of agency-managed lands in Wyoming, which include six national forests and one national grassland. The contribution to the state’s outdoor recreation economy is therefore extremely important in the state.

• Northern California Wilderness, Marble Mountain and Trinity Alps: There are more than 700 miles of trails through these wilderness areas, which are characterized by very steep mountain terrain in fire-dependent ecosystems that are subject to heavy winter rainfall and/or snow. As such, they are subject to threat from flooding, washout, landslide and other erosion type events which, combined with wildfires, wash out trails and obstruct passage.

• Angeles National Forest, California: The area, which includes nearly 1,000 miles of trails, is immediately adjacent to the greater Los Angeles area where 15 million people live within 90 minutes and more than 3 million visit. Many of those visitors are young people from disadvantaged communities without local parks.

• Greater Prescott Trail System, Arizona: This 300-mile system of trails is a demonstration of work between the Forest Service and multiple partners. The system is integrated with all public lands at the federal, state and local level to generate a community-based trail system.

• Sedona Red Rock Ranger District Trail System, Coconino National Forest, Arizona: About 400 miles of trail provide a wide diversity of experiences with year-round trail opportunities, including world-class mountain biking in cooler months and streamside hiking in the heat of the summer.

• Colorado Fourteeners: Each year, hundreds of thousands of hikers trek along over 200 miles of trail to access Colorado’s mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet. The Forest Service manages 48 of the 54 fourteeners, as they are commonly called.

• Superior National Forest, Minnesota: The more than 2,300 miles of trail on this forest have faced many catastrophic events, including large fires and a major wind storm downed millions of trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1999. A similar storm in 2016 reached winds up to 85 mph and toppled trees on several thousand acres and made the western 13 miles of Kekekabic Trail impassible.

• White Mountain National Forest Partner Complex, Maine and New Hampshire: Approximately 600 miles of non-motorized trails are maintained by partners. Another 600 miles of motorized snowmobile trails are adopted and maintained by several clubs. Much of that work centers on providing safe public access to the mountain and valleys of New Hampshire and Maine.

• Southern Appalachians Capacity Enhancement Model, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia: The more than 6,300 miles of trails in this sub region include some of the most heavily used trails in the country yet only 28 percent meet or exceed agency standards. The work required to bring these trails to standard will require every tool available from partner and volunteer skills to contracts with professional trail builders.

• Iditarod National Historic Trail Southern Trek, Alaska: In southcentral Alaska, the Southern Trek is in close proximity to more than half the state’s population and connects with one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state. The Chugach National Forest and partners are restoring and developing more than 180 miles of the trail system, connecting the communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Whittier, and Girdwood.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service, visit www.fs.fed.us.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

McClintock’s Trojan horse of mountain bike bill would put ‘wheels over wilderness’

SacBee.com - Full Article

February 28, 2018 05:00 AM

BY LIZ BERGERON
Special to The Sacramento Bee

Hiking in the Sierra Nevada, arguably the West’s greatest mountain range, is a California birthright. It’s also the birthright of every American. When you walk along the crest of these majestic mountains, you likely are traveling on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile path for hikers and horseback riders that provides access to acres of public land in California, Oregon and Washington.

In 1968, a bipartisan Congress passed the National Trails System Act, creating the National Trails System and designating the Pacific Crest and Appalachian trails as the first two national scenic trails. Four years earlier, the Wilderness Act sought to preserve the country’s best landscapes from mechanization and development. Today there are 11 national scenic trails, 19 national historic trails and 109 million acres of protected wilderness.

This is our American legacy.

There is a looming threat to these protections. A fringe group of mountain bikers selfishly hopes to renegotiate the high standard enshrined in the Wilderness Act. H.R. 1349, a bill by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, seeks to open wilderness trails to mechanized travel under the guise of fair access to public lands...

Read more here:
http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article202404449.html

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WEBINAR: Sustainable Trails for All

AmericanTrails.org

Hosted by AmericanTrails.org

American Trails presents "Sustainable Trails for All" as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"

WEBINAR:
Sustainable Trails for All

American Trails will present this Webinar on March 8, 2018. Presented by Janet Zeller with the US Forest Service and Peter Jensen, Trail Planner/Builder with Peter S. Jensen & Associates. This webinar will provide an overview of pedestrian sustainable trails for all for federal, state, and local agency and organization trail managers, planners and designers who are responsible for policy, budget, and trail construction oversight.

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Cost: $19 members / $39 nonmembers

The presenters are:

Janet Zeller, National Accessibility Program Manager with US Forest Service
Peter Jensen, Trail Planner/Builder with Peter S. Jensen & Associates

Read more about the presenters, and register at:
http://americantrails.org/resources/trailbuilding/webinar-sustainable-trails-for-all.html

Sunday, February 18, 2018

USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvement for Forest System Trails

USDA.gov

Focused work will help agency reduce a maintenance backlog and make trails safer for users


WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands.

Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind.

“Our nation’s trails are a vital part of the American landscape and rural economies, and these priority areas are a major first step in USDA’s on-the-ground responsibility to make trails better and safer,” Secretary Perdue said. “The trail maintenance backlog was years in the making with a combination of factors contributing to the problem, including an outdated funding mechanism that routinely borrows money from programs, such as trails, to combat ongoing wildfires.

“This borrowing from within the agency interferes with other vital work, including ensuring that our more than 158,000 miles of well-loved trails provide access to public lands, do not harm natural resources, and, most importantly, provide safe passage for our users.”

This year the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act which established America’s system of national scenic, historic, and recreation trails. A year focused on trails presents a pivotal opportunity for the Forest Service and partners to lead a shift toward a system of sustainable trails that are maintained through even broader shared stewardship.

The priority areas focus on trails that meet the requirements of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016 (PDF, 224KB), which calls for the designation of up to 15 high priority areas where a lack of maintenance has led to reduced access to public land; increased risk of harm to natural resources; public safety hazards; impassable trails; or increased future trail maintenance costs. The act also requires the Forest Service to “significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance” and to aim to double trail maintenance accomplished by volunteers and partners.

Shared stewardship to achieve on-the-ground results has long been core to Forest Service’s approach to trail maintenance, as demonstrated by partner groups such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

“Our communities, volunteers and partners know that trails play an important role in the health of local economies and of millions of people nationwide, which means the enormity of our trail maintenance backlog must be adequately addressed now,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “The agency has a commitment to be a good neighbor, recognizing that people and communities rely on these trails to connect with each other and with nature.”

Each year, more than 84 million people get outside to explore, exercise and play on trails across national forests and grasslands and visits to these places help to generate 143,000 jobs annually through the recreation economy and more than $9 million in visitor spending.

The 15 national trail maintenance priority areas encompass large areas of land and each have committed partners to help get the work accomplished. The areas are:

• Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and Adjacent Lands, Montana: The area includes the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas and most of the Hungry Horse, Glacier View, and Swan Lake Ranger Districts on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide. There are more than 3,200 miles of trails within the area, including about 1,700 wilderness miles.

• Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington: Methow Valley is a rural recreation-based community surrounded by more than 1.3 million acres of managed by the Forest Service. The area includes trails through the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas and more than 130 miles of National Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails.

• Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Eagle Cap Wilderness, Idaho and Oregon: This area includes more than 1,200 miles of trail and the deepest river canyon in North America as well as the remote alpine terrain of the Seven Devil’s mountain range. The area also has 350,000 acres in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the largest in Oregon.

• Central Idaho Wilderness Complex, Idaho and Montana: The area includes about 9,600 miles of trails through the Frank Church River of No Return; Gospel Hump; most of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas; portions of the Payette, Salmon-Challis, Nez Perce and Clearwater national forests; and most of the surrounding lands. The trails inside and outside of wilderness form a network of routes that give access into some of the most remote country in the Lower 48.

• Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico: The trail’s 3,100 continuous miles follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, including more than 1,900 miles of trails across 20 national forests. The trail runs a diverse route with some sections in designated wilderness areas and others running through towns, providing those communities with the opportunity to boost the local economy with tourism dollars.

• Wyoming Forest Gateway Communities: Nearly 1,000 miles of trail stretch across the almost 10 million acres of agency-managed lands in Wyoming, which include six national forests and one national grassland. The contribution to the state’s outdoor recreation economy is therefore extremely important in the state.

• Northern California Wilderness, Marble Mountain and Trinity Alps: There are more than 700 miles of trails through these wilderness areas, which are characterized by very steep mountain terrain in fire-dependent ecosystems that are subject to heavy winter rainfall and/or snow. As such, they are subject to threat from flooding, washout, landslide and other erosion type events which, combined with wildfires, wash out trails and obstruct passage.

• Angeles National Forest, California: The area, which includes nearly 1,000 miles of trails, is immediately adjacent to the greater Los Angeles area where 15 million people live within 90 minutes and more than 3 million visit. Many of those visitors are young people from disadvantaged communities without local parks.

• Greater Prescott Trail System, Arizona: This 300-mile system of trails is a demonstration of work between the Forest Service and multiple partners. The system is integrated with all public lands at the federal, state and local level to generate a community-based trail system.

• Sedona Red Rock Ranger District Trail System, Coconino National Forest, Arizona: About 400 miles of trail provide a wide diversity of experiences with year-round trail opportunities, including world-class mountain biking in cooler months and streamside hiking in the heat of the summer.

• Colorado Fourteeners: Each year, hundreds of thousands of hikers trek along over 200 miles of trail to access Colorado’s mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet. The Forest Service manages 48 of the 54 fourteeners, as they are commonly called.

• Superior National Forest, Minnesota: The more than 2,300 miles of trail on this forest have faced many catastrophic events, including large fires and a major wind storm downed millions of trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1999. A similar storm in 2016 reached winds up to 85 mph and toppled trees on several thousand acres and made the western 13 miles of Kekekabic Trail impassible.

• White Mountain National Forest Partner Complex, Maine and New Hampshire: Approximately 600 miles of non-motorized trails are maintained by partners. Another 600 miles of motorized snowmobile trails are adopted and maintained by several clubs. Much of that work centers on providing safe public access to the mountain and valleys of New Hampshire and Maine.

• Southern Appalachians Capacity Enhancement Model, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia: The more than 6,300 miles of trails in this sub region include some of the most heavily used trails in the country yet only 28 percent meet or exceed agency standards. The work required to bring these trails to standard will require every tool available from partner and volunteer skills to contracts with professional trail builders.

• Iditarod National Historic Trail Southern Trek, Alaska: In southcentral Alaska, the Southern Trek is in close proximity to more than half the state’s population and connects with one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state. The Chugach National Forest and partners are restoring and developing more than 180 miles of the trail system, connecting the communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Whittier, and Girdwood.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service, visit www.fs.fed.us.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Colorado: Final Hermosa Creek management plan has something for hikers, bikers and horses

DurangoHerald.com - Full Article

By Patrick Armijo Education, business & real estate reporter
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018

Years of building compromises to allow for recreational and historical uses of the Hermosa Creek drainage and still protect the environment came to fruition this week with the release of the final Hermosa Creek Watershed Management Plan.

The plan, released Friday, builds on work from stakeholders using the Hermosa Creek basin that started in 2008. The collaborative, community-based process included interests and points of view from recreational users such as kayakers, mountain bikers and hikers; the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; state agencies; and conservationists.

“Even though 30 miles of system track were lost to mountain bikers, it honors the willingness of all users to weigh in. We really needed to figure this out together, and that’s what we were able to do,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Durango-based Trails 2000...

Read more here:
https://durangoherald.com/articles/206243

Recreational Trails Grants for 2018

FHWA.dot.gov

Recreational Trails Grants - by State

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail uses, including equestrian uses. Each state administers funds through a variety of agencies - some through their Department of Natural Resources, others through their Department of Parks and Recreation, etc. Each state's requirements for grant applications, due dates and other information is available here.

As federal programs are undergoing change, contact your state RTP office for updates to policies and information.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

FREE Webinar | Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities

Myhorseuniversity.com

Webcast
FREE Webinar | Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities on March 27, 2018 at 7pm EST
January 24, 2018

by Christine Hughes | Senior Designer - City of Wilmington, North Carolina

Date & Time: March 27, 2018, 7:00pm Eastern

Registration: Click on the following link to register: Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices Webinar

Description: In this webinar, author Christine Hughes, AICP, will teach you about ELCR’s new guide on equine zoning. Christine will walk viewers through the guide and help you to understand and use the content and concepts. Of special interest are the descriptions of how individual communities around the US approach and regulate horse-keeping and activities through their zoning process. The guide, with an introduction by Tom Daniels PhD, professor, author and director at University of Pennsylvania Department of City and Regional Planning, is posted on the ELCR website (https://elcr.org/zoning-best-practices/) and will be available for preview and download.

Presenter Information: Christine Hughes, author of “Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities” and author of the precursor “Planning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities” in 2015, is a senior planner with the city of Wilmington, North Carolina Planning, Development, and Transportation department. She oversees the Long- range, Environmental, and Special Projects unit and has worked extensively with community groups developing small-area, corridor, and comprehensive plans. Christine has been with the city of Wilmington since 2005. Prior to moving to Wilmington, Christine was a planner with Gwinnett County (Georgia), and a program coordinator at The University of Georgia. Christine is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

North Carolina: 11-mile trail in works at Carvers Creek State Park

Fayobserver.com - Full Article

By Michael Futch
Staff writer

January 24 2018

After climbing out of her Ford F-150 pickup, Carvers Creek State Park Superintendent Jane Conolly ambled along the old logging road, what’s probably a firebreak to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire.

Acres of undeveloped land — much of it a watershed of Carvers Creek that the state parks system has preserved — lay around her on this warm Monday afternoon.

On each side of the sandy, dirt road where Conolly walked, pine straw blanketed the sloping ground that eventually reaches a creek and wetlands area where hardwoods grow in abundance. From where Conolly soon stopped, pine trees dotted the woodland, their trunks charred from a controlled burn in May.

“It’s beautiful,” Conolly said.

As soon as early 2019, pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders should be able to appreciate the natural beauty of this section of the park, too...

Read more here:
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180124/11-mile-trail-in-works-at-carvers-creek-state-park

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mountain bikes in wilderness areas? No thanks, says this mountain biker.

IdahoStatesman.com - Full Article

By Bryan DuFosse
January 19, 2018 09:27 AM

We are experiencing unprecedented, multilateral attacks on our public lands heritage: from Trump’s dismantling of many of our national monuments, to opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. From politicians working to turn our public lands over to state and corporate control, to budget cuts for our public lands agencies resulting in a backlog of scientific research, land conservation, and trail and campground maintenance.

In addition, a bill has recently been introduced to Congress to weaken the Wilderness Act and open all wilderness areas to mountain bikes. That bill is HR 1349, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, who has a lifetime rating of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.

As an avid mountain biker, I strongly oppose any reduction in the protection of our wilderness areas and stand with many fellow mountain bikers, including the International Mountain Bike Association, who are against this idea...

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article195550244.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Colorado Wilderness: Legislation in Congress presses for a fundamental change in the rules

DurangoHerald.com - Full Article

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018

Should bicycles be allowed in wilderness areas?

The question tends to provoke an immediate answer – thumbs up or thumbs down – and it is at the heart of the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act.

The legislation is not written in terms so starkly black and white. If passed, the proposals would not lift the ban of bicycles or other human-powered wheeled conveyances from federally-designated wilderness areas. The measures would, however, give local land managers the discretion to open certain trails to wheels...

Read more here:
https://durangoherald.com/articles/204592-wilderness-legislation-in-congress-presses-for-a-fundamental-change-in-the-rules

Saturday, January 13, 2018

North Carolina: Rockingham Community College offers Trails Classes

Rockinghamcc.edu

Duke Energy TRAILS at Rockingham Community College has developed a sustainable trail skills training sequence of classes for varying skill levels and interests.

The sessions will be offered in two formats to meet student needs and time availability.

*Longer sessions will provide information over multiple day classes and will often include additional field work.

*Shorter sessions will provide information through individual classes on single days.

Classroom teaching and experiential learning will be combined to help students understand the class content in both formats.

These classes will be beneficial for anyone that has an interest in or is responsible for managing natural surface multiple-use trails. These trail skills will enhance the overall skill set of land managers, volunteer trail crew leaders and members, parks and recreation staff, trip leaders, outdoor recreation entrepreneurs, and ecological/nature-based operators.

Additional training topics will be added in the future based on demand. If your agency or organization has specific trail skills training needs, please let us know so we can create and schedule a program that meets your needs.

*Hampton Inn, Eden, and Holiday Inn and Suites, Reidsville, are offering a special rate ($72 + tax) for TRAILS program students that may need overnight accomodations.  Please call the hotel directly, and tell them you are with the Rockingham Community College TRAILS program.

For more information, see:
http://www.rockinghamcc.edu/publications/trails-info

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oregon: County approved for grant to improve CZ Trail

TheChronicleOnline.com - Full Article

Oregon Parks and Recreation matches $75,000 for $150,000 in total funding
Jan 10, 2018

A desire to memorialize a friend has turned into $150,000 in grants and services for Columbia County’s Crown Zellerbach Trail (CZ Trail).

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) approved a $75,000 matching grant request to provide improved access, safety and services along the 23-mile trail, which runs from Scappoose to Vernonia. Additions will include kiosks, maps, signage, safety crossings and user amenities.

It all started with an idea to memorialize a friend and $6,000 to do so. After Wayne Naillon, a cycling enthusiast and trail advocate passed away in 2016, family members and friends gathered the funds in the hopes of finding a way to honor him.

“Wayne loved the CZ Trail and wanted more people to know about it, so we thought that promoting use of the trail would be a good way to memorize him,” Naillon’s friend and co-manager of the Wayne Naillon Memorial Trail Fund, Dale Latham said.

Latham and family member Marcus Iverson approached the county with the idea of using the $6,000 to improve access to the trail. That’s when Casey Garrett, the county’s General Services Manager, suggested the county apply for a grant from OPRD, which they did in May 2017. By December, the initial donation of $6,000 had turned into an approved $150,000 matching grant, with promises from the county, Oregon Equestrian Trails, and cartographer Jeff Smith partnering to provide labor and pro bono personal services. Smith was a good friend of Naillon’s and is an active advocate for biking trails in Oregon...

Read more here:
https://www.thechronicleonline.com/news_paid/county-approved-for-grant-to-improve-cz-trail/article_9dd25a2e-f672-11e7-8e4d-e71690ff43d3.html

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Webinar: Working with Local and Regional Land Trusts

PNTS.org

Title: Working with Local and Regional Land Trusts
Presenter: Don Owen – PNTS Consultant, Kevin Thusius – Ice Age Trail Alliance, Megan Wargo – Pacific Crest Trail Association
Date and Time: January 24th at 3PM EST
Overview: As agency budgets for land protection are being reduced, land trusts are becoming an essential organizational partner for many trail organizations. Experienced land trust professionals will explain how their programs work, and what they can offer national scenic and national historic trails.

Speaker Bios:

Don consults for the Land Trust Alliance, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Partnership for the National Trails System, and more than a dozen other land trusts and trail organizations. He serves as the Land Trust Alliance’s Circuit Rider for the Potomac River Watershed and Southern Virginia, assisting all-volunteer and small land trusts build capacity and improve operations.

Kevin works for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, whose mission is to create, promote and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As the director of land conservation, he is responsible for property acquisitions and the management of more than 120 Alliance-held land interests. Over the last eight years, Kevin has helped the Alliance and its partners complete more than 75 land transactions for the Trail while instituting a volunteer property monitoring program and creating archives for all Alliance-owned lands. He came to the Alliance from a local land trust where he was charged with assessing and prioritizing hundreds of properties along a scenic riverway.

Megan is Director of Land Protection for Pacific Crest Trail Association, and has more than a decade of experience leading teams and managing landscape-scale conservation projects. She has successfully negotiated land and conservation easement acquisitions to permanently protect over 64,000 acres. Prior to joining the PCTA, Megan worked for the Pacific Forest Trust, the Trust for Public Land, and the Piedmont Land Conservancy. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Economics & Politics from Claremont McKenna College.

Join us for our webinar series aimed at providing relevant information and best practices as they pertain to the work of non-profit and Federal agency partners in sustaining the National Trails System (NTS). These webinars are free to staff, board members, and volunteer leaders of Partnership for the National Trails System member organizations and Federal trail managing partners. Others may participate at the cost of $35 per webinar.

To register, go here:
http://pnts.org/new/webinars/

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

LWCF Reauthorization Bill Sponsored by Majority of Representatives

PNTS.org

December 27 2017

The bipartisan bill — HR 502 — to permanently reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is now co-sponsored by 218 members of the House of Representatives. This is just over one-half of the members of the House and marks a new “high” in demonstrated support for this essential conservation program in Congress. The LWCF is authorized by Congress through September 30, 2018 and must be reauthorized before then to keep enabling the federal land managing agencies to purchase inholdings in national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and national trails as they become available from willing sellers. The LWCF is funded through payments for leases to drill for oil and gas in the outer continental shelf of the United States.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Montana Sen Tester Now Believes Threat To Privatize Public Lands is 'Real'

MTNPR.org - Full Article and Audio

By Eric Whitney • Jan 2, 2018

At an appearance in Missoula Tuesday, Senator Jon Tester said he’s recently changed his mind about a contentious political issue in Montana.

"There was a point in time where I didn’t think this was real, that there wasn’t a concerted effort to try to push the public lands to the state, which, anybody who knows anything about the state budget would mean that they’d have to end up selling them. But I think it is real," Tester says, "and if we take our eye off the ball things could happen that could make this state into New Jersey. Not that New Jersey is a bad place, but it ain’t Montana."

Tester was answering a question about the issue at a meeting of the Missoula Kiwanis club. Afterwards, I asked him what changed his mind.

"Because the conversation hasn’t gone away, it continues to resurface in different forms in Washington, DC, and you continue to be concerned that if these folks are able to either de-fund a lot of these agencies so they can’t do the work, to make sure it’s there, or make it so people don’t have access to it, and people get upset and say, ‘enough of this.’ What I’m saying to you is, I think you can see an agenda that’s starting to form back there, and the end results of that would be dissatisfaction with public lands, and so now the government’s going to get rid of them..."

Read the rest or listen here:
http://mtpr.org/post/sen-tester-now-believes-threat-privatize-public-lands-real

Back Country Horsemen of America Makes a Good Trail Ride a Great One

January 3 2018

by Sarah Wynne Jackson

Back Country Horsemen of America works hard to keep trails open for horse use across the nation. They also dedicate their time and effort to making sure equestrians have the amenities they need to fully enjoy their trail experience. Adequate parking at trailheads, safe corrals, and a clean supply of water can make a good riding day a great one.


Small but Effective

Despite being a relatively small group, the Shoshone Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Wyoming thrives because of the dedication of a core group of about a dozen people, many of whom come from the Big Horn Basin of northwestern Wyoming. In one year alone, they planned and built four new corrals on the Wood River, built a trailhead at Big Creek, cleared 173 miles of forest trails, and repaired six feed bunks at Jack Creek.

Because the mangers at Jack Creek had been in place for many years, they had numerous rotted and broken boards which allowed feed to become lost due to spillage. Not only is the Jack Creek Trailhead a popular destination for horsemen from across the country, it is heavily used by local riders as well.

The Shoshone Back Country Horsemen redesigned and rebuilt the feed bunks, which required $415 in materials for each one. A Back Country Horsemen Education Foundation grant supplied $1000. The chapter donated the rest of the funds for materials, and volunteered their labor and the equipment required to complete the project, which took about two-and-a-half days.

Formed in 1993, the Shoshone Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Wyoming put down its roots by developing trail facilities where they were badly needed. It began by working with the US Forest Service on the Shoshone National Forest, improving and developing trailheads west of Cody.

Shoshone BCH continues to partner with the USFS through a cost share agreement to maintain well over 100 miles of trail each year. This agreement allows the USFS to do more with their budget while focusing volunteer efforts where they are needed the most. The Bureau of Land Management in Cody has also partnered with the chapter on the development of multiple trailheads on BLM administered lands.

As with every Back Country Horsemen of America unit, all of the Shoshone Chapter’s income goes toward maintaining and developing trails and trailheads; training members in correct trail clearing, Leave No Trace skills, and back country first aid; and public education and efforts which support the mission of BCHA.


Whatever the Weather

The Wasatch Front Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Utah is located in the northern part of the state and they aren’t afraid to spend a day doing trail work when the snow flies. When Weber County donated corral panels for installation at North Fork County Park in Huntsville, the Wasatch Front Chapter volunteered to sort and assemble them on a cold, wintry day.

A few weeks later, a group of volunteer welders began the tedious task of securing what were once old, dilapidated panels into useful corrals. Other volunteers pitched in by putting a fresh coat of paint on the panels and clearing unwanted sagebrush. Wasatch Front Chapter’s future plans for the newly constructed equestrian area include tapping into the current water supply to bring water access closer to the corrals. Weber County will work on improving the trailer parking around them.

North Fork Park and Campground is one of many parks adopted by Wasatch Front Back Country Horsemen. The chapter teams up with other volunteer park users like Weber Pathways and Ogden Nordic to keep the bridges sturdy on the Ben Lomond and Mule Back trails. They also clear all trails of deadfall and treacherous low hanging limbs. Chapter volunteers donate the use of their pack animals to haul water and supplies to and from Boy Scout activities on the Ben Lomond trail and support the annual Skyline Mountain Marathon.

A few years ago, the chapter worked with the Weber County Parks Department to plan and complete a new trail, called Mule Back. The name acknowledges the Back Country Horsemen and fits with other trail names such as Mule Shoe and Mule Ear. Mule Back Trail provides a short cut connection from Cutler Flats to Mule Shoe. The connection makes it safer for users by keeping them away from the frequently driven dirt road.

The Wasatch Front Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Utah is one of the largest and most active chapters in the state, with thousands of volunteer man-hours dedicated annually to trail improvement and maintenance efforts in Weber, Davis, and Cache counties.


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.bcha.org; call 888-893-5161; or write 342 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!