Monday, July 15, 2019

Webinar: Equestrian Trail Design for Urban Multi-Use Trails

This webinar will address methods used in constructing equestrian trails for multi-use while also including ADA interface in an urban environment.

Presented by:
Matthew Woodson, President and Founder, Okanogan Trail Construction (OTC)

Event Details
August 22, 2019
10:00 am (Pacific Time)


$19 for members (Trail Professional level or higher)
$39 for nonmembers

Webinar Outline
The presenter will address methods used in constructing equestrian trails for multi-use while also including ADA interface in an urban environment. It will highlight key materials and tread surfacing that are horse friendly from both a safety and best practices-sustainability perspective. The webinar will also explore wilderness design criteria used to build trails to provide maximum sustainability.

Learning Objectives:
Learn about new materials for trail surfacing and crossings
Discover ideas about the integration of equestrian riding into more urbanized area to interface well with ADA and other users
Learn best practices for sustainability for wilderness trails

Matthew Woodson, President and Founder, Okanogan Trail Construction (OTC)

Matthew Woodson is with Okanogan Trail Construction (OTC), an award-winning trail design, trail building, and trail maintenance company that is available worldwide. OTC has been serving public and private clients for over thirty years, with expertise in performing heavy-duty construction in a wide range of wild, rural, and urban regions. OTC tailors each trail design to frame its surroundings while providing the most sustainable and fulfilling experience for visitors. OTC's trails synchronize with the environment as much as possible, creating beautiful trails that require minimal maintenance, and ultimately, spare our customers time and money on reconstruction and repair.

To register, go to:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Nebraska: Harlan County trails offer 'wonderful' place to walk, hike or ride while enjoying nature - full article

Hub Staff Writer Jul 8, 2019

ALMA — A sign along Highway 183 on the northern outskirts of Alma beckons visitors to the Peckerneck Horse Trail.

The story of the trail’s name is partially legend and partially true, said Dave Wolf, founder and volunteer at the trail.

“It’s just a fable about how we were sitting around a campfire and talking about this trail,” said Wolf.

The 13-mile trail lies on the south side of the Harlan County Reservoir. One of the features along the horse trail is a replica of a mine.

The legend is a group of hillbillies from Tennessee came to the mining district in South Dakota in the 1880s. The noise the miners made with the hammers and rock bits used to drill holes reverberated through the tunnels and resembled the sound of a woodpecker. The men were also said to have the strength equal to that of a woodpecker, therefore, they were dubbed “peckerneck...”

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Washington: Rock Creek Horse Camp opens two new trails for riders - Full Article

Camp offers campsites and trails for those with horses
Cameron Kast/ Jul 1, 2019

For those looking to explore on horseback, the Rock Creek Horse Campground has opened up two new trails to ride on. Both stemming from the original 26-mile Tarbell Trail, the Silver Shadow Trail and Six Sense Trail offer riders new ground to “hoof-it.”

Tani Bates, a rider and volunteer at the Rock Creek Horse Campground said that with these two new trails, people will have more of an opportunity to explore the area without the time commitment required to ride the 26-mile Tarbell Trail. Bates also stated that she hopes the camp gets the funding to build more loops off of the Tarbell Trail for riders to explore more of the beautiful area.

“It’s quiet up there; there’s running water,” Bates said about why she loves the area so much. “There’s access to different trails. There’s a lot of things you can do there. There’s lots of trees; it’s beautiful...”

Read more here:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Wyoming: Volunteers on horseback clear hundreds of miles of trails - Full Article

Mark Davis Powell Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange
Jun 29, 2019

POWELL — With storms threatening, a half-dozen horsemen loaded their saddle bags and panniers with serious looking saws, lunches of canned sardines and jerky, and rain slickers. They climbed aboard their steeds and headed west into the North Absaroka Wilderness.

Through rushing Sunlight Creek, canyons lined by yellow stone buttes and meadows blooming with Indian paintbrush and deadly but beautiful larkspur, the horsemen rode for hours, searching for obstructions on the trail. They had been here before — the mostly clear path leads between a myriad of cut tree trunks and brush, cleared by hand by crews in years past.

It’s hard to imagine the commitment it takes to keep a trail open, but that’s the resolve of a small group of area community servants: the Shoshone Back Country Horsemen. One of the busiest chapters in the U.S., the well-seasoned volunteers have cleared thousands of miles of trails in the Shoshone National Forest one obstruction at a time. But Little Sunlight Trail is designated as wilderness, so the group had to go old school...

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Who Gets to Own the West? - Full Article

A new group of billionaires is shaking up the landscape.

By Julie Turkewitz
June 22, 2019

IDAHO CITY, Idaho — The Wilks brothers grew up in a goat shed, never finished high school and built a billion-dollar fracking business from scratch.

So when the brothers, Dan and Farris, bought a vast stretch of mountain-studded land in southwest Idaho, it was not just an investment, but a sign of their good fortune.

“Through hard work and determination — and they didn’t have a lot of privilege — they’ve reached success,” said Dan Wilks’s son, Justin.

The purchase also placed the Wilkses high on the list of well-heeled landowners who are buying huge parcels of America. In the last decade, private land in the United States has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. Today, just 100 families own about 42 million acres across the country, a 65,000-square-mile expanse, according to the Land Report, a magazine that tracks large purchases. Researchers at the magazine have found that the amount of land owned by those 100 families has jumped 50 percent since 2007.
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Much of that land stretches from the Rocky Mountains down into Texas, where, for some, commercial forests and retired ranches have become an increasingly attractive investment.

Battles over private and public land have been a defining part of the West since the 1800s, when the federal government began doling out free acres to encourage expansion. For years, fights have played out between private individuals and the federal government, which owns more than half of the region...

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Florida: Central Polk Parkway route raises concerns for equestrians - Full Article

By Gary White
Posted Jun 22, 2019

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise plans show highway slicing through and limiting access to the 1,173-acre Marshall Hampton Reserve.

LAKELAND — Myra Bell regularly takes her 23-year-old Paso Fino gelding horse, Dandy, out for a ride at Marshall Hampton Reserve, a verdant tract on the east side of Lake Hancock.

Bell, a Bartow resident, said the roughly 5-mile trail system is popular with fellow members of the Florida Sport Horse Club, partly because it provides glimpses of alligators, bald eagles and other wildlife, along with scenic views of Lake Hancock.

Bell and fellow equestrians worry that their access to the reserve will disappear. The planned route of the Central Polk Parkway goes through the parking area at the entrance to the Marshall Hampton Reserve, also the access point for the Panther Point Trail.
“It really concerns me because if they use the parking lot, where would we park our horses and horse trailers?” Bell said. “And if they’re taking out the parking lot, are they going to take the whole Marshall Hampton away from us for riding? Those are questions we all have concerns about...”

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Colorado has 2.8 million acres of state trust lands, but most is closed to the public. Sportsmen are trying to change that. - Full Article

Analysis shows roughly 80 percent of Colorado trust lands closed to public recreation

By Judith Kohler | | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: June 19, 2019

A sportsmen’s group that found 9.52 million acres of federally managed public lands in the West can’t be accessed by public roads is now looking at state-owned lands. In Colorado, a majority of those are off-limits to the public.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX, a Montana-based digital mapping company, released their findings on Colorado on Wednesday at the Outdoor Retailer, a national outdoor recreation trade show that runs through Thursday in Denver. The Colorado analysis is the first TRCP has unveiled, with reviews of 10 other Western states expected later this summer.

About 16 percent of the roughly 2.8 million acres of state trust lands in Colorado is landlocked, meaning the land can’t be reached by public roads. Another 20 percent of the state lands are open to hunters and anglers from September through February, thanks to leases or easements acquired by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The majority of the lands, or 64 percent, are closed by the state to recreation...

Read more here:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Montana: Groups sue Forest Service over access issues in Crazy Mountain - Full Article

June 11 2019

In an attempt to force the Custer Gallatin National Forest to assert a claim to public access on four Crazy Mountain trails, a coalition of outdoor groups filed a lawsuit in Billings District Court on Monday against the agency.

“We’re hoping the Forest Service follows its own regulations in administering this area,” said Kathryn QannaYahu, of Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat. She has done a large portion of the historical research for the case.

The lawsuit, drafted by the Western Environmental Law Center in Helena, contends the agency has failed to protect and defend public access rights in the south-central Montana mountain range which is checkerboarded with private land. The groups had threatened to sue in February unless the agency worked with them on their concerns...

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Ohio Horseman's Council has your (horse)back - Full article

Brad Zahar | The Chronicle-Telegram
Published on June 7, 2019

With 1,650 miles of bridle trails in over 100 locations, Ohio has a lot to offer those who like to horseback ride. While the riding trails are distributed throughout the state, much of the local real estate available for riding comes thanks to the Ohio Horseman’s Council (OHC).

The OHC, whose motto is “horsemen helping horsemen,” has more than 4,000 members across

70 Ohio counties committed to providing the best trails and experience possible for riders.

Started in 1972, the council began as a grassroots group of trail riders. It partnered with land owners and parks to establish bridle trails locally and statewide...

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Secretary Bernhardt Announces Proposal to Open Access to Thousands of Acres Near Montana’s Iconic Lower Blackfoot River - Full Article

BLM May 28, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced next steps in a collaborative effort with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) aimed at acquiring 13,000 acres of private lands within the Lower Blackfoot River watershed, near the iconic Montana waterway. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has been working with TNC and other public and private partners to maintain and improve public access to the area for a wide variety of outdoor recreationists, released an Environmental Assessment of the proposed acquisition and opened a 30-day public comment period today.

“From the very beginning of my tenure, public access is a critical component to how we manage lands. Acquiring these lands dramatically increases access to public lands available for recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking and snowmobiling,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “This collaborative project leverages public and private resources to maintain, improve and expand important recreational access in the state of Montana...”

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Celebrate National Trails Day with Montana State Parks - Full Article

HELENA, MT – Join us in celebration of National Trails Day at a Montana State Park on June 1, 2019. The American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Gather with over 100,000 other volunteers throughout the nation in empowering all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience. From hikes to trail clean-up, show your appreciation for trails with events offered at 7 state parks across Montana...

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Great Britain: Happy 30th Birthday Transpennine Trail - Full Article

By Nigel Barlow - May 24, 2019

The UK’s first long distance cycling, walking and horse riding route is celebrating its 30th birthday with a series of events.

The coast to coast trail runs from Southport to Hornsea, with many sections on the Sustrans National Cycle Network, and attracts some 1.7 million people a year.

To mark this historic milestone the national Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) office is coordinating an events programme during 2019 along various parts of the 370 mile route. The year-long programme includes anniversary rides, walks and activities hosted by trail partners, including Sustrans TPT volunteers, Local Authorities, Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail and local user groups.

Initial construction works for the Trans Pennine Trail began in 1989, leading to a trail from York to Liverpool via Selby, Doncaster, Barnsley, Manchester, Warrington and Widnes, with other northern and southern sections added later to create the full coast to coast route that officially opened in 2001.

Today the Trans Pennine Trail meanders along old railway tracks, canal towpaths and riverside pathways, passing through urban and rural landscapes in Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. It includes some of the most historic towns and cities in Northern England, heritage sites and the Peak District National Park...

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Monday, May 6, 2019

This group wants to unite hikers and hunters on literal common ground: public lands - Full Article

By Nicole Blanchard
May 05, 2019

In the past few years, the membership of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has exploded — from 2,000 members in 2013 to 20,000 last April and 36,000 today. And the group, which promotes public land access and conservation issues, has a plan to add more.

Part of BHA’s brand has been its mishmash of all ages, locations and backgrounds of its member hunters and anglers, hundreds of whom gathered in Downtown Boise this past weekend for the group’s annual Rendezvous conference.

Now the group is harnessing that reputation to bring an even more unusual demographic to its ranks: outdoorsmen and women who don’t hunt or fish.
Building on a background of diversity

Last August, BHA released results of a survey of its members. It found the group split almost evenly between political ideologies: 33% Independent, 23% Republican, 20% Democrat and 16% unaffiliated, bucking national trends for the general hunting and fishing population. (Eight percent listed no preference...)

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Wyoming: Bighorn National Forest proposes authorization of Red Grade Trails expansion - Full Article

By Staff Reports | May. 3, 2019

SHERIDAN — The Bighorn National Forest is proposing to authorize Sheridan County a special use permit to expand the Red Grade Trail System outside of Big Horn.

The project would create a 15-foot right-of-way to construct and maintain a 24- to 36-inch native surface, nonmotorized trail. The overall development plan on Bighorn National Forest lands would include approximately 15 miles of trail with three trailheads and parking areas that equate to about 1.3 acres.

However, according to the environmental assessment for the project, if approved as submitted, the plan for construction will be a phased development.

“Sheridan County with Sheridan Community Land Trust (SCLT) will only construct each phase that is supported by the community and funding has been secured for proper construction and maintenance and the phases may take many years to complete,” the assessment states...

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Washington: Back Country Horsemen keep Kalama Horse Camp in Triple Crown shape - Full Article

Group will spend the week before Memorial Day prepping the riders paradise for the summer months

Mary Broten / Apr 29, 2019

The Mount St. Helens chapter of the Back Country Horsemen will be having their regional work party from May 22 to May 25 at the Kalama Horse Camp.

There needs to be work done to clean up the trails and removed downed trees from a 12-mile stretch. Some of the trails are narrow with drop offs, making many people not want to ride or walk on it because it is so dangerous.

One of the points of focus will be tread work on the Cinnamon Trail, given its steepness and narrowness.

Dinner will be provided for everyone who volunteers to help clean up the trails. Since people from all over the area plan to attend there will be camping spots reserved for the work crew to stay at with horse corrals, manure bins, and stock water. If one decides to attend with their horses it’s important to remember that weed-seed-free hay is required on National Forest lands. Even if trail work isn’t something that a person would like to do, there are still many jobs around the camp that can be done like keeping the fires going. Currently, the group is expecting 30 to 40 members to show up for the work crew that will be staying in the camp overnight...

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Getting and Maintaining Permission to Ride on Other's Land

April 28 2019

Most horse owners with open farm land around them would love to ride on it. But when the landowner doesn't want riders on their property, they often wonder why?

For the most part it's an issue of possible liability and also the chance of crop or property damage according to Laurie Cerny, editor of

And if you are fortunate enough to be given permission to ride on your neighbor's land Cerny says you need to consider it a privilege.

"If you get the OK to ride on someone's property you better be respectful and practice the 'leave no trace behind' mindset," she says. "Furthermore, if you want to continue to have access to the land you better not take advantage of the owner's good will."

Cerny recently gave a life-long neighbor permission to be on her late father's farm. However, when he brought a couple of friends along she wasn't too happy about it. She said, "I gave him and him only permission because he's a neighbor. I do not want other people who I don't know on the land."

Cerny said this incident will now make her very leery of giving others permission. After talking with him and clarifying that he is the only one allowed, if he, again, brings others she plans to no longer allow him on the farm.

Here are some tips for getting and maintaining permission to ride on someone else's land:

Get permission first. Don't ride on the land and then ask afterward.
Find out specifically where you can ride and what is off limits.
Stay on dedicated paths/roads and out of the fields.
Don't help yourself to produce being grown on the property.
Leave no trace behind: this means no tissue from a bathroom break and no empty water bottles.
If you horse does some damage to a field - return and fix it, and/or offer to pay for the damages.
Do not bring others on the property unless the owner has said it is OK.
Make sure to close any gates that you open and ride through.
Give a token of your appreciation at the end of the year like a gift card, etc.

Tips on Having A Safe First Trail Ride This Spring can also be found at is devoted to the practical and affordable care of horses. Find more articles and resources on horse care, as well as product reviews, at the website.

Friday, April 26, 2019

American Trails 2019 International Trails Symposium Equine Education Session

April 22 2019

Lexington, KY – April 22, 2019 – Equine Land Conservation Resource and Gwen Wills of the Pennsylvania Horse Council will co-present an educational session at the 2019 International Trails Symposium in Syracuse, New York on April 30, 2019, at 8:15 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time entitled “Planning, Funding and Managing Equestrian and Multi-Use Trails - Through Collaboration.”

The Symposium will take place from April 28 to May 30. Information can be found here: It is a globally focused venue, addressing advances in the trails and recreational community for all user groups. The Symposium provides an opportunity for all trail user groups, including equestrians, and trails planners, designers and advocates to network and engage in meaningful educational and collaborative conversation.

Why attend this educational session? Equestrians often find that access to trails is limited within their local communities and beyond. This session will speak to the value of and need for equine and multi-use trails, and how to plan and fund them. The presenters will address the basics and intricacies of equestrian trail design, behavior, management and partnering that are critical to sustainable trails.

Gwen Wills is a long-time member of the Pennsylvania Equine Council (PEC). She has been instrumental in advocating for equestrian trails and forming relationships with decision makers, agencies and equestrian organizations around the state and beyond. Gwen’s frequent Trail Stewardship Workshops prepare volunteers interested in preserving shared-use non-motorized trails. Gwen partners with Denise O’Meara, ELCR’s Director of Education. With over 20 years of experience in the thoroughbred industry, Denise is a landscape architect with a unique understanding of the social, economic and design aspects of equine land, facilities and trails.

About American Trails: American Trails (AT) is a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, including hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, water trails, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, trail motorcycling, ATVs, snowmobiling and four-wheeling. AT supports local, regional, and long-distance trails and greenways, whether they be in backcountry, rural or urban areas by finding common ground and promoting cooperation among all trail interests. AT’s website, , is a comprehensive online source for planning, building, designing, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails, greenways, and blue ways. Contact American Trails at their Redding California office: (530) 605-4395.

About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic impact. For more information about the ELCR visit or call (859) 455-8383.

BLM proposes trail changes across 100,000 acres in Southwest Colorado - Full Article

Plan is open for public comment

By Herald Staff Report
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing changes to trails across an estimated 100,000 acres of public land in Southwest Colorado, including nearly 35 miles of trails in La Plata County.

Earlier this week, the BLM opened a public comment period to weigh in on the proposed plan that lasts until May 22.

The process is what the BLM calls a “Transportation and Access Planning,” which seeks to manage the types of use and travel that is allowed in certain areas of public lands the agency oversees.

The BLM inventoried lands in 2017...

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Alabama: Horse trails bolster area’s recreation offerings - Full Article

Anniston Star Editorial Board
Mar 24, 2019

Here in northeast Alabama, we have the Coldwater Mountain bike trails, the Pinhoti hiking trail and the Ladiga cycling trail, but now the recreational offerings appear ready to expand into the equestrian arena.

The McClellan Development Authority voted unanimously last week to give 900 acres of the former fort to Calhoun County to create a system of horse trails. MDA members voted to transfer the land for $1 to take advantage of the county’s better insurance coverage.

News of a horse trails project was met with enthusiasm by The Star’s online readers...

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bipartisan Legislation Ensures Funding forAmerica’s Most Important Conservation and Recreation Program

April 9 2019

Full and dedicated funding necessary to end raiding of LWCF account

WASHINGTON–A bipartisan group of senators today introduced legislation to dedicate full and continuing funding for America’s most important conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Recent passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act (Dingell Act) permanently reauthorized LWCF after a lengthy effort in Congress.On the heels of this major victory, today’s bill introduction continues a bipartisan commitment to LWCF to ensure that the program receives full and dedicated funding each year.

The bill, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, was introducedby Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). Joining them as original cosponsors are Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Richard Burr (R-NC), who authored a similar bill that was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last Congress. Other co-sponsors include Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine),Jon Tester (D-Mont.),Steve Daines (R-Mont.),Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),Tom Udall (D-NM), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

The legislation builds off the successful permanent reauthorization of LWCF inthe Dingell Actby ensuring that funds already being deposited into the LWCF account in the U.S. Treasury for LWCF – $900 million annually – are invested only in the conservation of our country’s natural, cultural and historic treasures...

More at

Monday, April 15, 2019

Colorado: BLM’s proposed tweaks to the Crown rec area will add trails for biking, horsing around in midvalley - Full Article

April 12, 2019
Scott Condon

The Bureau of Land Management is tweaking a travel plan for the Crown Special Recreation Management Area in the midvalley to add trails for mountain biking and equestrians, as well as decommission some old routes currently open to mechanized travel.

The agency’s proposed action would:

• Create 11.85 miles of designated new mountain bike single-track trail.

• Convert 10 miles of designated mountain bike trail, all of which is double-track, to foot and horse trail. The new equestrian and hiking trail would provide connection between Pitkin County’s Glassier Open Space, where there is existing equestrian trail, to Nancy’s Path and south to the Divide parking area, at a high point on Prince Creek Road...

Read more here:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

New Mexico: State raises outdoor recreation to next level - Full Article

By Dan Boyd / Journal Capitol Bureau Chief
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

SANTA FE — With an approaching deadline for acting on most bills passed during this year’s 60-day legislative session, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed off on a bill that will create a new outdoor recreation division within an existing New Mexico state agency.

The Democratic governor attended a ceremonial bill signing at Hyde Memorial State Park outside Santa Fe and described the legislation as a first step toward bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation economy.

“Colorado, get out of our way because we’re coming for you,” Lujan Grisham said, drawing cheers from a crowd that included state lawmakers, Cabinet secretaries and representatives from several environmental groups.

A number of other Western states — including Utah, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming — have in recent years created similar state government offices that vary in size and scope...

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Explore Washington parks by horseback - Full Article

Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to take your trusty steed across the state to explore new rides

Adventure Awaits
April 2 2019

Most of Washington’s ocean beaches and several Washington state parks allow equestrian activities, including sections of State Parks’ long-distance trails. A handful of park concessionaires also rent horses and mules and offer guided rides.

Individual parks

• Bridle Trails State Park, east of Seattle, gives horses the right of way on 28 miles of trails. Social rides and equestrian events take place throughout the year at the park, allowing visitors and locals to mingle over a shared passion.

Set between Kirkland and Redmond, Bridle Trails is the place for city dwellers with horses.

With three arenas and a full calendar of equestrian events, you won’t have the park to yourself, but these activities, plus festivals and concerts, will keep you and your horse busy...

Read more here:

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

On Public Lands, Visitors Surge While Federal Management Funds Decline - Full Article

March 31, 20197:43 AM ET

It's the boom times in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., which is wrapping up a winter of record snowfall. Eager to take advantage of it, Donovan Sliman and his two young daughters are lumbering up a snowy trail on the outskirts of town, where the condos give way to National Forest.

"I like to get away from everybody else," says Donovan. "I like to hear the sound of the wind and the snow through the trees." "We're also going to go sledding," adds Grace, one of his daughters.

Mammoth is completely surrounded by protected federal wilderness or U.S. Forest Service land. Its destination ski resort operates on public land via a federal lease.

The Slimans try to visit the Mammoth Lakes area from their home in Orange County at least a half dozen times a year.

They're not alone.

Every year, more than 2 million people descend on California's eastern Sierra region to camp, hike, fish, hunt and ski. This region, often dubbed "the wild side" of the state, only has about 50,000 residents across two sprawling counties roughly the size of Massachusetts.

Visits up, funding down

Across the western U.S., towns surrounded by public lands are facing an increasing bind: They're seeing a huge surge in visitors coming to play in the forests and mountains surrounding them, which is leading to an economic boom. But, at the same time, federal funding to manage these lands has been drying up...

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What’s next for America’s most important parks program? - Full Article

Key changes could help the Land and Water Conservation Fund remain effective in the 21st century

Jesse Prentice-Dunn
April 1 2019

Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped protect critical landscapes within our national parks and increase recreational access to public lands across the country. Congress permanently renewed this key program in a sweeping bipartisan public lands bill this year, but did not provide any promise of funding — leaving the program subject to the whims of Congress each year. Now that LWCF will be around for the foreseeable future, what’s next for America’s most important parks program?

For decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has garnered strong support from both parties in Congress, as well as states and local stakeholders across the country. The program receives revenues from offshore drilling, then uses the proceeds to conserve and increase access to our parks and public lands, routinely partnering with cities and states to meet their conservation needs. In many instances, LWCF has been used to purchase islands of private lands, called “inholdings,” within our national parks from willing sellers at fair market value, protecting those critical landscapes from development. An analysis by the Center for Western Priorities found that from 2014 to 2017, the LWCF was used to complete at least 293 projects across 42 states, conserving more than 431,000 acres...

Read more here:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Great Britain: Can you help find the lost trails? - Full Article

Friday, 29 March 2019 - Community News
by Times reporter

A GROUP of local horse riders are asking for help to trace lost paths and trails used by horse riders in days of yore.

South West Riders will explain their quest at a meeting open to all in Bridestowe Village Hall on Friday, April 26.

Richard Leonard, from the group, said they had until 2026 to map lost cart tracks and the other pathways or see them lost forever.

Richard, who lives at Thorndon Cross, said: ‘South West Riders have organised this meeting to bring this matter to the attention of their members but anyone who is interested in retrieving lost rights of way is welcome to attend.

‘There is no doubt that over the years many footpaths and bridleways that should have been placed on parish council definitive maps have not been.

‘In many cases rights of way have also been recorded as footpaths when historically they have always been used by carts and people on horseback.

‘This means that in 2026, the cut-off point laid down by the Government, it will no longer be possible to reinstate them. They will, in short, be lost forever..."

Read more here:§ionIs=news&searchyear=2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Popular Colorado trail becoming mountain bikes only; Could more soon follow? - Full Article

BY Seth Boster
March 25, 2019

Colorado Springs mountain biker Harry Hamill stopped riding the Chutes years ago.

Flowing through the woods in the city’s southwest mountains and widely considered the fastest thrill around, the trail hasn’t been worth it to him. Not with the ever-present risk of crashing into hikers coming up blind curves.

“I can’t ride it as fast as I want to ride it,” Hamill says, “and I don’t want to ruin somebody’s experience, and it’s ruining mine, so it’s like, fine. I’ll just skip it.”

But in the near future, he’ll return to the plunge.

He’s just waiting for when the Chutes becomes designated for downhill bikers only, no one on foot or horse allowed.

“It’s not gonna happen overnight, it’s not gonna happen tomorrow,” said David Deitemeyer, the city park planner. “But it’s one of our goals for this summer...”

Read more here:

Wyoming: Will To Ride: Could Gillette See Its First Mountain Bike Trail? - Full Article

Ryan Lewallen | Outliers News POSTED ON MARCH 24, 2019

The idea for Gillette’s very own 640-acre mountain bike and off-road running trail first came to David Bauer several years ago from cycling friend Michael Trainor.

Trainor had been jokingly hesitant about telling David about his grand idea that, he felt, was sure to bring more tourism dollars and opportunity to Gillette.

“He told me, ‘I don’t want to tell you because then you’re going to want to do it,” David laughed.

But Trainor did and his idea was, indeed, grand: a massive local mountain bike trail that would be open to the public to keep Gillette residents from driving off to distant locations to satisfy their mountain bike cravings.

Naturally, Trainor had been right; the moment David heard his idea the wheels in his head started to turn.

Trainor has since moved on and no longer lives in Gillette, but David hasn’t been able to get the idea for a local mountain bike trail out of his head...

Read more here:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Alabama: Horse trails bolster area’s recreation offerings - Full Article

Anniston Star Editorial Board
March 24 2019

Here in northeast Alabama, we have the Coldwater Mountain bike trails, the Pinhoti hiking trail and the Ladiga cycling trail, but now the recreational offerings appear ready to expand into the equestrian arena.

The McClellan Development Authority voted unanimously last week to give 900 acres of the former fort to Calhoun County to create a system of horse trails. MDA members voted to transfer the land for $1 to take advantage of the county’s better insurance coverage.

News of a horse trails project was met with enthusiasm by The Star’s online readers.

“... oooohhh I can't wait. And it's close to home. They've been working on this deal for a while.”

“Nice drive, easy access, and oh my goodness so much land out there has breathtaking views.”

“Great idea for recreational usage”

“We have to go!!!!! I’m so excited!!”

“I’m so happy that they finally approved it! It’s been a work in progress for quite some time now!”

“This would be AMAZING!!!!”

“... I can’t wait. I’m about to become a member of Back Country Horsemen of America, McClellan Chapter, Alabama.”

“... Shoot I may have to take up horse back riding. If it opens up, there could be a money-making opportunity for horse owners … running overnight stables, guided tours … I’m seeing dollars.”

Anniston resident Craig Waldron is a member of the local chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America, the group that proposed the horse trails. He seemed to support the notion that horse trails at McClellan could be a financial benefit to the local economy...

Read more here:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Michigan: Grant would Improve Silver Creek Equestrian Park - Full Article

March 21 2019
By: Ryan Lewis, Editor

If won, a $300,000 state grant could improve Silver Creek County Park near Hamilton.

Allegan County Commissioners voted 5-2 at their March 14 meeting to approve applying for the grant, which will add barrier-free campsites, a new parking area, a payment booth, electrical service and a security light.

The improvements are designed to improve access at the 49-year-old rustic camp primarily used by equestrians. It currently has 75 camp sites, all available for horse camping.

The county is applying to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for the grant; another $125,700 of the parks department money will exceed the local, required match to qualify for it...

Read more here:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

“Dealing with Opposition to Equestrian Trails” - Free Webinar

March 19 @ 7:00 pm

The most effective way to prevent opposition from derailing a trail project is to ensure there is none – or that opposition is so minimal as to be insignificant. Understanding the causes of opposition is critical to moving forward. Though there are a variety of circumstances that can generate opposition, developing your organization and communication plan long before any trail plans are made can go a long way to ensure a broad base of support for trail projects. Presenter Mark Flint zeroes in on this topic, and will lead you through a few simple steps to that can not only help you develop a support network that ensures success, but provide support in other areas, such as finding and managing volunteers and fundraising.

Presenter Mark Flint

Mark Flint is a professional trail designer from Tucson Arizona. Owner of Southwest Trail Solutions, the company has designed trails in Vermont and Nevada as well as in many parts of Arizona. Also working as a part-time trails program coordinator for Pima County, Mark was heavily involved in the design and construction of the Arizona National Scenic Trail in Southern Arizona.

Mark has a good feel for all around trail use and users. Growing up on cattle ranches, Mark was riding horses from the time he could walk, and worked as a cowboy before opting for a more secure career choice. He has been an avid mountain biker, hiker and backpacker, focusing at last on his first transportation of choice, horses.

Mark is a chief regional steward for the Arizona Trail Association, and is author of “Desert Trails: Designing and Building Trails in a Harsh and Demanding Environment.”


Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Horse University and Equine Land Conservation Resources to Co-Host Trails Webinar

Lexington, KY – March 12, 2019 – My Horse University and Equine Land Conservation Resource will co-host a free webinar on March 19, 2019, at 7:00 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time entitled “How They Did It: Dealing with Opposition to Equestrian Trails,” presented by trails expert Mark Flint.

Why attend this webinar? There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to opposition to horse trails, and Mark is well-versed in tackling that opposition head-on. Horse enthusiasts, planners and designers will learn about sources of opposition that can emerge in any community; the importance of preparing your equine organization to advocate for horse trails; developing your communication plan long before any trail plans are made; and actions to ensure that opposition is minimalized or eliminated from the outset. Mark will lead you through a few simple steps to develop an effective support network that will help you find and manage volunteers, raise needed funds and handle many other demands.

Mark Flint is a professional trail designer from Tucson Arizona and chief regional steward for the Arizona Trail Association. Owner of Southwest Trail Solutions, the company has designed trails in Vermont and Nevada as well as in many parts of Arizona. Also working as a part-time trails program coordinator for Pima County, Mark was heavily involved in the design and construction of the Arizona National Scenic Trail in Southern Arizona. He has been an avid mountain biker, outdoorsman and equestrian, focusing most recently on his lifelong love of horses.

To register for the webinar, visit

About My Horse University (MHU): MHU was established in 2005 at Michigan State University, a land-grant university with nationally ranked programs in equine science and management. MHU was created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science, and MSU Global. MHU brings research and knowledge from world-renowned experts to online educational material available to horse enthusiasts worldwide. Visit, or call (517) 432-5131.

About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic impact. For more information about the ELCR visit or call (859) 455-8383.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Webinar: “Now That e-Bikes Are On Trails, What Do We Know?” - Register here

A part of the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series, “Now That e-Bikes Are On Trails, What Do We Know?” is a continuation of the 2017 webinar on e-bike access and management, designed to highlight “what we know” about e-bike use on paved, soft surface, and singletrack trails.


Morgan Lommele, E-Bike Campaign Manager, PeopleForBikes
Chris Bernhardt, Principal, C2 Recreation Consulting
Mary Ann Bonnell, Visitor Services Manager, Jefferson County Open Space, CO


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.

Register for the webinar here:

Sunday, February 24, 2019

This New 4,000 Mile Trail Will Let People Bike From Coast to Coast on One Seamless Path - Read more and see video

Grab your helmet and set out for the great outdoors.

But instead of opting for a classic summer road trip, you’ll soon be able to try out something a little more challenging — like biking across the mainland United States.

And soon it’s going to be easier than ever. According to Lonely Planet, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has announced a cross-country, multi-use trail that will run across 12 states and Washington D.C., known as The Great American Rail Trail...

Read more here:

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Massive public lands bill expected to receive easy approval in the House - Full Article

By Julianna Rennie
February 20, 2019 12:54 PM

More than 1.3 million acres of new wilderness would be designated. Four national monuments would be created. Thousands of acres of land would be protected from future mining development. And firefighting technology would be upgraded using GPS and drones.

All this is a part of a massive public lands package the House is poised to pass next week and send to President Donald Trump.

The package co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, also permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that uses revenue from offshore oil and natural gas drilling to support conservation projects in every state...

Read more here:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Congress moves forward on Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization - Full Article

Written by Admin
20 February 2019

The U.S. Senate voted Feb. 12 to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important funding source for conservation projects nationwide.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, with a bipartisan list of co-sponsors. Though Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, is not included on the sponsor list, he introduced a related piece of legislation this month that also attempted to permanently reauthorize the fund.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund may cost taxpayers nothing, but Congress’ failure to renew it would cost us all dearly,” Burr said in a press release. “Without this program, every state in the country would lose out on valuable outdoor recreation projects, beautiful natural landscapes, and easy access to state and national parks. It’s been four months since LWCF was allowed to expire despite its proven track record of success and overwhelming bipartisan support. It is long past time for Congress do the right thing by renewing America’s most successful conservation program...”

Read more here:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Horse Camping Weekend at Camp Creek State Park in West Virginia - Full Story

May 28 2017
by Susan St. Amand

An Extended Horse Camping Weekend in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia at Camp Creek State Park & State Forest.

A beautiful horse camping facility named Double C Horse and Rider Campground is located in Camp Creek, West Virginia, situated within the Camp Creek State Park and State Forest. Reservations are required for this secluded and gated horse camping area separated from the rest of the park. Thirteen horse camping sites are available with open horse stalls and pens in a cul-de-dac surrounded by trees and bordered by a creek. Restrooms are also available.

The park contains other family amenities and camping areas as well as a small camp store, playgrounds, picnic areas and outdoor ampitheatre. With the nearby creeks, fishing is also an option. The park is very well maintained and the park staff were very friendly. Trails were well marked with trail maps also available...

Read more here:

Friday, February 15, 2019

When public lands are blocked, Idahoans have no recourse. This bill seeks to change that. - Full Article

By Nicole Blanchard
February 13, 2019

Idaho legislators on Monday voted to introduce a bill that would give the public the ability to file suit against someone who bars access to public land.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted unanimously to move Senate bill 1089 forward. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise. On Wednesday morning, it wasn’t immediately clear when the next action on the bill would take place.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation, a local conservation group, has been working on the legislation for two years, according to executive director Brian Brooks. The proposed legislation would alter an existing Idaho code to offer what Brooks calls “a civil remedy” to public land access issues...

Read more here:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail would convert decaying railway into 320-mile pathway - Full Article

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | February 10, 2019

The first steps toward making a more than 300-mile walking and cycling trail from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, crossing some of the North Coast’s most scenic, least-traveled landscapes are set to begin later this year.

Details such as when the Great Redwood Trail could be completed, how the most challenging stretches might be constructed and how much it all will cost remain big unknowns. But advocates of the ambitious plan to convert a decaying railway into a world-class pathway, potentially drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the region each year, say they’re confident it’s not a question of if it’ll happen, but when.

“Oh absolutely, absolutely. No question,” said Caryl Hart, the former head of Sonoma County Regional Parks. “Portions are already built in Willits and Ukiah, and quite a large portion in Humboldt Bay and Arcata is in the beginnings of development. It’s not like we have to find or buy the right of way — it already is there, and that is just such an advantage.”

The concept involves connecting blacktop in populated areas and segments of dirt trails in rural sections adjacent to deteriorating train tracks throughout five counties to offer a hiking, biking and horseback riding experience unlike any other. The meandering trek from Larkspur to beyond Eureka, which includes the remote, 50-mile Eel River Canyon north of Willits, would provide unencumbered, picturesque views few have laid eyes on before...

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Senate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks - Full Article

By Timothy Cama - 02/12/19

The Senate voted Tuesday to indefinitely extend the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a key funding mechanism for national and local parks.

The bipartisan renewal of the LWCF, which expired in October when Congress couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension, is the main pillar of a wide-ranging public lands bill the Senate voted to pass on Tuesday, 92-8.

The legislation is the first major public lands bill since 2014. In addition to the LWCF, it includes numerous national and locally tailored provisions related to federal land boundaries, recreation, sportsmen’s access to parks and more...

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Legislation including mineral withdrawal north of Yellowstone, LWCF to get vote in U.S. Senate next week - Full Article

By Michael Wright Chronicle Staff Writer
Feb 1, 2019

Permanently banning new mining claims north of Yellowstone National Park and renewing a popular conservation fund are closer to reality, as the U.S. Senate plans to take up a broad lands bill including the two measures next week.

The bill, S. 47, contains a variety of public lands legislation across the country including two measures that have been important to the Montana congressional delegation — the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Representatives from the offices of Montana’s two senators have told the Chronicle the bill will hit the Senate floor early next week for debate with a vote to follow soon after...

Read more here:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Georgia: Equestrian community behind trail development at Don Carter State Park - Full Article

By Jane Harrison

The rhythmic thud of hooves on soft earth, gentle rocking of the saddle, and view of woods and water from a higher perspective transport horseback riders to tranquility on trails. Recently opened equestrian trails at Don Carter State Park make it easier for local equestrians to embark on that journey on the shores of Lake Lanier.

Local equestrians praise the 12½ miles of trails on territory historically known as horse country for their lake views, serpentine courses, bridge crossings, and deep woods. But best of all, they enjoy their proximity to their own barns and pastures. “It’s easy to sneak away to Don Carter to ride for a couple of hours,” said Bobbie Byers, four-year president of the 80-member Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association (CTHA). The Cleveland resident mounts her palomino or chocolate-brown Tennessee Walking Horse on state park trails once or twice a week, weather and work permitting. “I feel very blessed they’re opened,” she said “They’re absolutely beautiful.”

David DeLozier agreed. It’s even easier for him to hit the trail from his North Browning Bridge Road property, where the park maintains a neighborhood access for the horseback riders living nearby. He and wife, Dixie, can saddle up their Paso Finos and ride right onto what he calls some of the prettiest trails in the state.

“Some are right on the lake, the views are great … I’ve ridden almost every trail in Georgia and I think these are some of the best views. Some are high with long views, others are down close to coves and creeks were we can get water for our horses,” he said.

The s-turns, tree canopy, multiple bridges and changing elevations give both horse and rider a fun outing on four main loops with connecting routes. It took “a long time” to get the trails open, DeLozier said, but the wait was worth it.

Decades before the park opened in 2013, riders from northern Hall County’s horse country along Clarks Bridge and North Browning Bridge roads hoofed it in “the Glades,” old logging roads and private paths near the lake’s headwaters on the Chattahoochee River.

Then, word came that the private property they rode as public domain was sold to develop a state park. Early on, Byers said, there was no plan for equestrian trails in the woods rich in local horse-riding history. “This was a huge black eye to the horse community that equestrians were left out of the park,” Byers said. “They’d been riding that area for I can’t tell you how long.”

CTHA galloped into action, forming a committee to confer with state park planners...

Read more here:

Conserving Land for Equine Use - full article

What would happen if horse trails ceased to exist, facilities to board your horse disappeared, and hayfields were replaced with shopping malls? Learn about Equine Land Conservation Resource, an organization working to ensure that land for equine use remains part of our communities.

by Jocelyn Pierce

The United Statesis steeped in equestrian heritage and tradition. Horses have been partners in work, warfare and sport, playing an integral part in American culture. From the working ranch cowboy to the American foxhunter; from rural bush racetracks to Belmont Park; from pulling war wagons to reaching for Olympic gold, from the carriage horse to the trail companion, the horse and human interaction has been widespread throughout our history.

As ourpopulation grows, cities and towns expand. In areas where growth is haphazard, it infringes heavily on rural farmland areas.Land previously available for horse facilities and farms moves further from population centers, making access for equine activities more difficult to get to. The US population, currently at approximately 328 billion (US Census) is expected to increase to well over 435 million by 2050 (Pew Research). Well-planned growth can forestall or alleviate sprawling development.

With growing population, there is greater competition for land to provide housing, recreation and agricultural activities. Equine communities need to get ahead of these issues at the local level to protect their access.

Competition over the use of public land between burgeoning user groupsincreases and directly threatens equine access to land used for recreation. Equine Land Conservation Resource(ELCR) champions land preservation for equine use and works to educate equestrians on the issues that threaten equine activities...

Read more here:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Discovering the North Country Trail - Full Article

Dedicated volunteers are working to improve and complete the trail that runs across seven northern states.

by Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails

It is fitting that in a year with so much history American Trails is gearing up to hold the next International Trails Symposium in one of the oldest states in the nation.

New York was, as we know, one of the thirteen original colonies, before America was even a country, and when all trails were equestrian trails. New York is also famous as a melting pot, and the place, more than any other, which has welcomed people from across the world to America’s doorstep, as millions made their way through Ellis Island to become part of our history.

We are proud to continue this tradition of welcoming those from across the globe to New York at our 2019 symposium, which will include scholarship students from all over the world. Of course, the biggest piece of history we will be celebrating at the upcoming symposium will be the National Trails System Act turning 50, and how that legislation has shaped our country’s trails since President Lyndon Johnson spoke these memorable words.

“The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways... Old and young alike can participate. Our doctors recommend and encourage such activity for fitness and fun...”

Read more here:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Border wall dispute and political dysfunction has snagged even popular programs - Full Article

By Joel Achenbach
January 24 at 7:40 PM

The Land and Water Conservation Fund enjoys bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. The fund helps pay for the conservation of things that most people like: parks, recreation areas, wildlife preserves, Civil War battlefields. The money comes from fees paid by oil and gas companies for offshore drilling rights.

But the fund’s legislative authorization expired nearly four months ago, at the end of the past fiscal year. Members of both houses of Congress managed to advance bills to reauthorize the fund permanently, but the legislative process can be glacial and the fund was still awaiting final passage when the border wall dispute reared up and put everything on hold.

Now, despite its popularity, the fund — known to supporters simply by its acronym, LWCF — is right where so much other legislation is: in shutdown purgatory...

Read more here:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Equine Land Conservation Resource Announces New On-line Educational Resources

Lexington, Ky. – January 23, 2019 – Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) is pleased to announce several new articles that are now available in our website library, covering a variety of topics that are of interest to individuals, horsemen and women, and communities as efforts are made to protect, create, enhance and maintain the lands, facilities and trails that are critical to all equine activities.

“A Look at Backyard Horsekeeping” looks at aspects of and regulations for keeping horses on small farms and residential properties. Zoning regulations and availability of equine services and supplies, assessing a property for horse-keeping and best management practices (BMPs) to employ are covered. The also article explores many of the backyard horse communities in the US, looking at the zoning, facilities and trails that help to support equestrian activities.

“Working with Parks for Equine Access – Master Plan” is in two parts. Part 1, “Master Plan”, describes the reasons for and process of creating a master plan for a municipal park, and the advocacy role that the equine community must play. Part 2, “Master Plan Illustrations” is a tour of equestrian-based master plans in communities around the US. Produced by experienced designers, community planners and parks personnel with public input, the illustrations look at master plans for equine centers and facilities. and

“Equine Land Advocacy – A Best Practice for Equine Access” explores the issues that arise to threaten the equestrian way of life, looking at opportunities to partner with local and state government agencies, conservancies, land trusts and other organizations to work toward resolving land, facility and trail issues in your local community with a positive outcome.

About the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR): ELCR builds awareness of the loss of lands available for horse-related activities and facilitates the protection and conservation of those lands working to ensure America’s equine heritage lives on and the emotional, physical and economic benefits of the horse-human relationship remains accessible. ELCR serves as an information resource and clearinghouse on conserving horse properties, land use planning, land stewardship/best management practices, trails, liability and equine economic impact. For more information about the ELCR visit or call (859) 455-8383.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Colorado: Fisher's Peak To Be Acquired By Conservation Groups, Enter Public Ownership - Full Article

By Abigail Beckman • Jan 10, 2019

Conservation groups are planning to buy a ranch near Trinidad that includes the landmark Fisher's Peak. The $25.5 million acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of February with a goal of eventually allowing public access to the land.

The purchase of Fisher's Peak Ranch, also known as Crazy French Ranch, was initiated by the city of Trinidad as a boost to its recreation economy. It's a move the Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy say goes hand in hand with conservation. Both groups are involved in the acquisition, along with the Trinidad, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado.

Wade Shelton with the Trust for Public Land said the ranch's upcoming change to public ownership will be a positive thing for the area...

Read more here:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Murkowski aims to revive public lands bill, despite objection from lone senator - Full Story

By Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
January 2, 2019

One of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s first priorities in the Congress that begins Thursday is to pass a 680-page public lands bill. It’s a compendium of wants and needs from Republicans and Democrats. Murkowski came within a hair’s breadth of passing it late last month, but she was thwarted by a single senator.

It’s a reminder of how hard it is to get a bill through the U.S. Senate, and how hard it can be to make adjustments to public lands, even if 99 senators are willing to see it pass.

“Mr. President, I would ask unanimous consent on behalf of Chairman (Orrin) Hatch that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the lands package bill,” Murkowski said, pushing her bill just before the Christmas break. “Unanimous consent” is how most bills get to the floor, but it has one drawback: the unanimous part.

The public lands bill has become a December tradition. The heart of it is always a collection of hyper-local issues. One section of it might expand the borders of a refuge to include a donated ranch. Or, Murkowski said, it may deed land to a school.

“It’s pretty parochial,” she said. “These don’t come to the floor for debate and passage … It might not be a perfect process, but we bundle them up at the end of the year.”

As chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Murkowski is largely responsible for compiling the bill and negotiating its passage. A major Alaska item in the latest version would have given Native veterans of the Vietnam War era another opportunity to select land for a personal allotment.

The bill also had several nationwide measures, including a really big one: It would make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. The fund, which expired in October, allowed the federal government to preserve land and improve parks and recreation areas using revenue from offshore drilling. It also sent piles of money to the states. It’s been popular on the left and the right for decades. But not everyone likes it...

Read more here: