Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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

Recreational Trails Grants for 2018

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

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 ( 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 - 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:

Monday, January 22, 2018

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

North Carolina: Rockingham Community College offers Trails Classes

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:

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oregon: County approved for grant to improve CZ Trail - 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:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Webinar: Working with Local and Regional Land Trusts

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:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

LWCF Reauthorization Bill Sponsored by Majority of Representatives

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' - 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:

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:; 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!