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...”

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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...

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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...

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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...

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