Friday, November 30, 2018

Idaho: Documents show Wilks brothers' gates on Forest Service road are illegal - Full Article

"This is about more than just gates," IWF Executive Director Brian Brooks said. "This is about wealthy individuals flaunting Idaho's laws and illegally claiming public resources as their own without repercussions."

Author: Sean Deter, Morgan Boydston
Published: 4:34 PM MST November 28, 2018
Updated: 10:24 PM MST November 29, 2018

The gates installed by a pair of Texas billionaire brothers on an Idaho Forest Service road through their property in Boise County are illegal, according to the Idaho Wildlife Federation.

Dan and Farris Wilks have raised the hackles of hunters and other outdoor recreationists who rely on access to Idaho public lands after their controversial purchases of vast swaths of private land in the state.

The tensions raised by the Wilkses have reached a fever pitch as of late, with the installation of gates on Forest System road 374 - known as Boise Ridge Road - by their company, DF Development LLC. They recently put up sets of bright orange gates on the popularly-traveled Forest Service road through their property just miles from Bogus Basin, surrounded by the Boise National Forest, and "No Trespassing" signs on their private property.

For decades, outdoors enthusiasts have used FS 374 to get through Boise County to reach their favorite hunting spots and recreation destinations.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation has also taken notice. On the heels of a recent report by KTVB's Morgan Boydston, the IWF on Wednesday said the gates violate Idaho law, based on records they received in response to a records request with the Forest Service.

The IWF said deeds from past landowners show the Wilkses illegally gated FS 374. The group said they found deeds from the landowners granting easements for sections of the road for public use in perpetuity...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

California: Hit the trail! — Nevada County offers Multiple Opportunities for Equestrians and trail development - Full Article

Submitted by Gold Country Trails Council
September 13, 2018

Yearning to ride and or hike your way through open space, tall trees, scenic vistas and nature in general? The Gold Country Trails Council is the resource you need to make those dreams come true.

Gold Country Trails Council was formed in 1981 by a group of Nevada County citizens to fill the need for non-motorized trails in Nevada County and surrounding foothills. The council developed and constructed the Pioneer Trail, the route early pioneers took when traveling over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Nevada City.

Today, the 30-mile long Pioneer Trail continues to be enjoyed by the community as a non-motorized multi-use trail.

Members volunteer to provide development and maintenance of non-motorized trails, equestrian campgrounds, and trailhead staging areas. The council is also a partner in the Pines to Mines Trail Alliance to develop and establish a 90-mile multi-use trail from Truckee to Nevada City/Grass Valley.

Additionally, two equestrian campgrounds have been built and are being supported by Gold Country Trails Council: Little Lasier Meadow Horse Camp near Truckee and Skillman Horse Camp on Highway 20 above Nevada City...

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California: Marin bike group seeks more access at Point Reyes National Seashore - Full Article

PUBLISHED: November 27, 2018 at 5:36 pm | UPDATED: November 27, 2018

A Marin County bicycling organization says the time has come for Point Reyes National Seashore to give local cyclists more access to its public lands. In response, a local equestrian group is calling on its own supporters to ask the park to take a more cautious approach.

Tom Boss, the events and off-road director for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, said the group is calling for recreational enhancements that stand to get bicycles off roadways in the national seashore and nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

“Our requests pertain to ranch roads through only non-wilderness areas of the park,” Boss wrote in an email Tuesday.

Fairfax resident Rick Holland, president of the Marin Horse Council, says his group is not opposed to project requests from the coalition, but said that they need to be examined on a case-by-case basis...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trails Webinar: “Building Strong Volunteer Partner Organizations: A Success Story” for Registration

On December 6, a part of the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series, “Building Strong Volunteer Partner Organizations: A Success Story” will introduce a successful statewide effort in Colorado—the Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Coalition (COSC) — that is laying the groundwork for advancing the state’s stewardship movement by building a stronger and more effective infrastructure of volunteer programs across the state.

See a full description, key learning objectives, presenter bios, and our partners for this webinar.

Ann Baker Easley, Executive Director, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Dean Winstanley, Director of Statewide Stewardship, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Chris Yuan Farrell, Stewardship and Trails Senior Program Officer, Great Outdoors Colorado
Jack Placchi, Travel Management and Trails Coordinator for the Colorado State Office, Bureau of Land Management


STEP 1: PAY FOR THE WEBINAR. You can also purchase an American Trails membership through the store — just click the “Keep Shopping” link when you see your shopping cart.
STEP 2: While in our store, if the person attending the webinar and their email will be different than the billing name please include the attendee’s full name and email address in the NOTES section.
STEP 3: You’re done! The attendee’s email address will receive a separate confirmation email from GoToWebinar ( containing information about joining the Webinar.
Additional Information:

Payments Accepted:
Payments accepted are credit cards (Visa and MasterCard), checks, and purchase orders. If paying via purchase order, please select “check” as your payment method in the online store and in the “notes” section write in your purchase order number.

Audio Choices:

You can call in to the webinar using your telephone, keeping in mind that you will incur long distance charges and/or usage charges (depending on your carrier), or
So as not to incur long distance charges, you can listen to the webinar using the speakers on your computer (if your computer has that option).

All webinars in the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series are recorded. An unedited transcript will also be sent to attendees as closed captioning is offered for our webinars. A link to the recording is included with the purchase of the webinar and will be sent within a day or two following the webinar, along with a pdf of the resources slide shown during the Q&A portion of the webinar that includes presenter contact information. Access to the recordings may also be purchased after the live session through the American Trails Online Store.

Closed Captioning
Complimentary closed captioning is English is offered for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you require closed captioning in another language, please email in advance of the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs:
American Trails is now proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)
American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition

Learning credits are included in the registration fee. When purchasing, indicate which learning credit you require, if any. Our webinars earn the following credits: AICP CM (1.5) LA CES (1.5), and NRPA CEU equivalency petition (0.10). Credits are available for live and archived webinars starting with our January 2018 webinar.

Contact the American Trails office at or (530) 605-4395.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Senators Introduce Recreational Trails Program Full Funding Act - Full Article

November 5, 2018 by NHSA

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has aided trail construction and maintenance projects and programs nationwide since 1991. Created through landmark surface transportation legislation, RTP reflected Congressional belief that federal gas taxes paid on motor fuel used in motorized non-highway recreational activities should be used to benefit those paying the tax as well as other users of recreational trails.

Tens of millions of hikers and bikers, equestrians and ATV’ers, snowmobilers and skiers, canoeists and others now enjoy better outdoor experiences because of this action. And RTP’s accomplishments unite the efforts in every state of federal agencies, state and local governments, volunteers and recreation businesses.

U.S. Senators Introduce RTP Full Funding Act

Now, the bipartisan efforts of four United States Senators promise to dramatically increase the benefits of RTP’s proven formula...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

On the trail since 1952 - Full Article

November 20 2018
By Jessica Schley

Contributing Writer

For the past 66 years, a group of local trail riders has been getting together at least once a month, year round, to enjoy an outing on horseback on private ranches, at the beach, or in the backcountry.

The Santa Ynez Valley Riders was founded in 1952 by a group of horsemen and women, a few of whom are still active in the club more than half a century later.

The group was originally a chapter of Equestrian Trails International, a group dating back to the 1940s that formed to help preserve riding trails that were threatened by development, and keep access open for horses. In 1986, the group voted to leave the national organization and form their own independent club. They changed their name to the SYV Riders and wrote a mission statement that was sure to set the tone of their club for the coming decades: The club is about families, inclusion and enjoyment of our local trails and ranches...

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Utah’s latest land battle pits ranchers against not the feds but the state - Full Article

By Brian Maffly
November 5 2018

Born in Garfield County on his grandfather’s birthday 87 years ago, James Robert Ott was named after the patriarch who was among the first to homestead near the Utah settlement of Cannonville, where the family continues to run cattle just north of what would become Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Ott, who goes by Bob, bought an old sheep permit on state trust lands on 519 acres at a place called Yellow Creek abutting his property, just south of his Garfield County town under Bryce Canyon’s pink cliffs. The Otts converted the permit to cattle and have kept their herds there ever since.

But much to the dismay of Garfield County leaders, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), a land-management agency that prioritizes raising revenue for public education above all other considerations, last month canceled the Otts' grazing permit.

After 50 years of grazing this land, Ott has 90 days to clear his animals, fencing and other improvements off two parcels, which sold Oct. 24 at auction for the princely sum of $774,000 to a nonrancher.

“We don’t want to buy that property. You can’t develop it. You can’t raise crops on it. It’s too hilly,” Ott said. “School trust lands are a bit of a thorn in our side. It bothers us we have a lease, and the next thing we know, they sell it.”

Ranchers consider their grazing allotments on federal land a property right that cannot be revoked without just cause. But trust lands are a different creature, managed not for multiple use or public enjoyment but rather to maximize revenue for schools...

Read more here:

Monday, November 5, 2018

American Horse Council Lobbies For Bills That Would Help Trails - Full Article

November 4, 2018 at 10:13 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Horse Council is seeking help from equestrians to help move two bipartisan bills through Congress which would improve access to land for riding, as well as other recreation.

The first, the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 3172) would supports the National Park Service (NPS) and creates a revenue stream by dedicating funds from energy development projects to support the maintenance of trails under its jurisdiction.

The second, Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act (S. 1633) would create regulatory efficiency by authorizing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to form cooperative agreements with private parties to promote the role of volunteers in trail maintenance...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Colorado: Recreationists vie for access on Sutey Ranch - Full Article

By Trina Ortega
Published Oct. 31, 2018

Stating that access to beginner-level horseback riding is being compromised in the Roaring Fork Valley, riders in the Carbondale area are lobbying the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to designate its Sutey Ranch property for equestrian use only.

The BLM is accepting comments from community members through Nov. 5 about three options (referred to as “alternatives”) for how to manage the 557-acre Sutey Ranch property located along County Road 112 south of Cattle Creek Road.

The Sutey Ranch was acquired in March 2017 in a three-way land exchange with a private property owner. In the exchange, the BLM also acquired a 112-acre parcel along Prince Creek Road that had been used for years by the public and contained well-established multi-use trails. Once a working ranch held by the Sutey family, the parcel was historically used for grazing and includes ditch water rights, water storage rights and historic outbuildings. Much of the property’s western and southern borders connect to the “North Side” of the Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area via existing non-motorized trails.

The three alternatives for Sutey were created based on public feedback during a public open house in July 2018. Alternative A prioritizes hunting and wildlife but allows limited grazing; Alternative B allows equestrian and hiker use only; and Alternative C would be open to nonmotorized recreation, including mountain biking (except for Dec. 1 through April 15 to match existing policies on Red Hill), and grazing..

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