Thursday, December 31, 2020

Cowboy Campground at Legacy Park, Idaho City – The New Generation - Full Article

December 30, 2020 by NWHS

Sometimes, even in the midst of a pandemic one gets a call that is life changing. One Tuesday evening in July, Bob and Sabrina Amidon, received a phone call from a friend.

All the caller said, “I know you are avid horse people, did you hear that Cowboy Campground in Idaho City is for sale?” That left a bit of urgency.

Quick research confirmed the news and a plan was put together, with the help of Hopkins Finance, an offer was turned in, all in just 14 hours from receiving the phone call. Crazy times sometimes needs quick actions; with this Cowboy Campground has been saved and will be preserved. It will continue as a Horseman’s first resource for camping in the Boise National Forest within an hour drive of Boise.

The Amidon’s got the assistance of other horse people and raised the needed down payment in record time to make sure the closing could happen. They created Cowboy Campground LLC, got their business licenses and after closing and now owning a campground a huge fund-raiser was implemented and after just three weeks Cowboy Campground at Legacy Park has been created with 14 brand new Horse Campsites which include the sponsors name, new panels, new picnic tables and a lil bit of love...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Nevada: Carson City trails system continued to grow in 2020 - Full Article

December 25 2020
By Gregg Berggren

As 2020 nears its conclusion, perhaps we will look back with a renewed appreciation for the stunning natural beauty that surrounds us in Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. Mother Nature has been a familiar presence that has remained with us through these unfamiliar times.

Whether an early morning stroll in the foothills, a lunch-time walk on an urban pathway, a spring-time float trip on the Carson River, or an epic mountain bike ride through the Carson Range and into the Tahoe Basin, the trails just outside our front door have led many of us to places of refuge and solace.

Regionally, our trails, trailheads, parks, open space properties and other public lands have experienced unprecedented numbers of visitors this year. Carson City, in partnership with other public, private, and non-profit organizations, has been diligently working to create new trails and trailheads, and to maintain our favorite familiar ones.

Most exciting this year was the Oct. 30 opening of the Carson River Trail System Phase II. This project, funded by a grant from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, created three new segments of trail that were designed for sustainability, accessibility, and connectivity.

They were constructed with a compacted decomposed granite surface and built wide enough to accommodate hikers, runners, bicycles, equestrians, and those with mobility issues. They connect to many existing trails, helping to enhance our network of trails in the Carson River/Prison Hill area with links to downtown Carson City...

Read more here:

Monday, December 21, 2020

New Mexico: A bevy of trails for everyone - Full Article

Expanding and maintaining single and double tracks takes time, volunteers and commitment

Enchanted Circle Trails Association
Dec 9, 2020 - Updated Dec 15, 2020

An update on trail work underway around Taos County and the Enchanted Circle.

Río Grande Trail - Bridge to Bridge segment

Enchanted Circle Trail Association is designing this new trail through a grant from the Department of Interior. The Río Grande Trail is conceptualized as a long-distance trail along the Río Grande, running from Las Cruces to the Colorado border. This will be designated for non-motorized access, including hikers, runners, equestrians and bikers. The B2B 8+ miles is the last missing segment in our area.

ECTA has completed the initial route finding, although there are several areas that need refinement, as in "we scrambled over those boulders, but there's gotta be an easier way through here." As long as the weather holds, we'll keep mapping.

Next step will be to contract for archeologists and wildlife biologists to scour the route to make sure we're not damaging any cultural resources or infringing on fragile habitat. We hope to turn over a complete package to the BLM by the end of next summer...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Backcountry Horsemen of Northwest Georgia raising funds to improve Pigeon Mountain campsites - Full Article

December 11th, 2020 | by Emily Crisman

Outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy using the trails on Pigeon Mountain have a small group of volunteers to thank for spending hundreds of hours maintaining and improving the 70-plus miles of trails.

That group is the Backcountry Horsemen of Northwest Georgia, which for more than a decade has worked once a month to clear the trails at Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area for the many rock climbers, cavers, hikers, hunters and others who use what they call "the jewel of Walker County."

Recently the group set its sights on improving the primitive campsites on the mountain, with plans to add fire rings and picnic tables to the Old Sawmill Campground and at the new horse trailer and RV campground nearby.

They also contacted state and county officials about making improvements to the sole road used to access the wildlife management area, Rocky Lane, which contains old pieces of pavement that make the 7-mile drive to the campsite a very bumpy ride in a horse trailer...

Read more here:

Friday, November 20, 2020

Iowa: Debate Continues Over Horse Trails On Conservation Board Land - full article

November 19 2020

O’Brien County, Iowa (OCBTC) — The debate about adding bridle trails to county land continued at the November meeting of the O’Brien County Conservation Board.

Patty Vollink was the first speaker to address the board. She described a tour she had taken with Brian Schimmer, Darwin Dau, Claude Struve and Carolyn Bootsma of the trails around the Prairie Heritage Center in October. She said, “All of us were in awe of the beauty of the area and impressed with the well maintained trails.” In addition they had marked a trail through the timber at the suggestion of Brian Schimmer saying it would be a good horse trail. She shared with those present at the meeting pictures of the area and a map of the proposed trail. During her presentation she said, “We have met with resistance to our request to allow horses on the trails of O’Brien County Conservation land. There is a concern that ATV riders will be the next special interest group that will request access to the trails.” Currently ATVs are not allowed on the trails of neighboring counties due to the disruption to the wildlife in the area and damage they cause to the trails...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Recreational Horse Trails in Rural and Wildland Areas: Design, Construction, and Maintenance

By Dr. Gene Wood

American Trails Magazine editor, Stuart Macdonald, reviews Dr. Wood's equestrian trail book.

All trails interests can learn from equestrian trail book.

The author states that the purpose of the book is to guide land managers and equestrian trail users in design, construction, and maintenance of horse trails in a manner that harmonizes with the surrounding ecosystem and landscape values. The three goals for trails are to be safe for users, ecologically sound, and economically sustainable.

This theme of creating sustainable trails that are sensitive to the environment and habitats through which they pass runs throughout the book. In the opening chapter the author acknowledges that "Among nonmotorized uses of trails, recreational horse use if the most frequently criticized for ecosystem damage." His goal is for trail planners and activists to become proficient in natural ecosystem components and processes. To this end the first chapter is not about trail planning, or design, but about soils, watersheds, and habitats...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Alabama: Local BCHA chapter hosts popular television series - Full Article

November 12, 2020
By Katie Bohannon, News Editor

The Back Country Horsemen of America McClellan Chapter is taking its mission to television screens across the country. With a collection of tranquil horse trails in the heart of Anniston, the chapter is celebrating its efforts with a grand event to showcase the magic of Camp McClellan.

The “Best of America by Horseback” television show airs on RFD-TV, hosted by Tom Seay who travels throughout the United States to showcase trail riding locations and the people behind them. From November 13 through 15, Seay and his crew will explore Camp McClellan Horse Trails and the capture its beauty on film.

When people come to Camp McClellan, especially out of state, they turn to local businesses and restaurants for their needs. Roach emphasized that while Seay’s program will promote the horse trails, the event will garner publicity beyond Camp McClellan, emerging as a wonderful opportunity to boost tourism for the area...

Read more here:

Friday, November 6, 2020

Ohio: One man's dream leads to thriving Lawrence County business - Full Article

Lawrence Herald
November 6 2020

PEDRO, Ohio — One man’s dream to create a family equestrian destination in Lawrence County came to successful fruition, and the dreamer credits support from family, friends, the community, and state and local leaders.

U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, dropped in at Elkins Creek Horse Camp last week to observe the success he helped create with his support and actions, according to a news release from owners Rick and Jill McCleese. Johnson spoke with the couple about the economics of Southeastern Ohio and their thriving equestrian business. The three of them saddled their horses and rode.

In 2008, Rick McCleese invested his life savings to build his dream of a safe, family-oriented campground for equestrians and their horses. In 2009, Rick met his wife Jill, and his dream became their dream. With a shared passion for horses, they began working to increase safe, scenic, and sustainable trails and to promote recreation and tourism in the local Tri-State area, Dean State Forest and Wayne National Forest.

“Twelve years later, long hours of hard work, and over-coming tornado damage, flooded roads and government regulations, Elkins Creek Horse Camp has become known has an oasis of peace and contentment,” Jill McCleese said. “A great place to get away from the pressures of work and whirlwind of everyday living. The camp has access to 100 miles of trails showcasing the glory of God’s nature...”

Read more here:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

As Wilderness Areas Attract More People, Volunteer Rangers Hit The Trail - Full Article


When Joyce Fabre saw how many cars were parked at the Iron Creek Trailhead when she pulled in, she knew it would be a busy day. It was a warm, late summer morning, and her destination – Sawtooth Lake – is one of the most popular day hikes in Central Idaho. Cars were spilling out of the parking lot and lined the dirt road for a quarter mile. Fabre tightened her boot laces and pulled her backpack onto her shoulders. Before she could get going, her work began: She approached two men as they printed their name on a wilderness permit at the trailhead.

"Thanks for filling that out," Fabre said. She introduced herself as a wilderness stewardship volunteer with the Idaho Conservation League. "You going to be out there for a few days?" she asked, pointing to their heavy backpacks. The men were chatty and excited, telling Fabre about their fishing plans. Fabre reminded them that no campfires are allowed at the lake, wished them a great trip, and then they started up the trail.

Sawtooth Lake is a place that many describe as "loved to death." Visitors are awe-struck by the unusually large, deep blue alpine lake set against a spectacular backdrop of granite peaks. Striking in another way are the impacts of thousands of hikers and backpackers who visit each summer – piles of unburied human waste that dot the forest floor surrounding popular campsites, illegal campfire rings, trampled alpine plants where hikers wandered off trail.

But that's exactly why Fabre is here – to help educate hikers about Leave No Trace principles, and hopefully impart the sense of stewardship that she has for this place.

"I'm not here for enforcement. I'm just here to educate people and be an ambassador." "We want to keep it this way for future generations," Fabre told me. "We want to keep it this way for other hikers who are here today. They don't want to see the scraps from my lunch. And they don't want to see the pile of poop under a rock. As volunteers, I think that might be where we can have effect and credibility is to help people understand why they came here in the first place."

Fabre's one of about 40 volunteer wilderness stewards in a program run by the Idaho Conservation League in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Volunteer wilderness stewardship programs are on the rise as budget and staffing levels drop and pressure on the landscape only grows...

Read more here:

Saturday, September 19, 2020

How will America’s state parks survive 2020? - Full Article

In an unprecedented year of pandemic and natural disasters, cash-strapped state parks now face funding cutbacks.


The closure of Yosemite National Park due to heavy smoke from the wildfires in California sparked national attention. But another story is smoldering in the state: 34 of its 300 state parks have had to shut down due to the fires, which have brought additional pressure on public spaces already straining under a surge of pandemic crowds.

California is experiencing its worst fire season ever, as firefighters continue to battle more than two dozen major fires that have killed 25 people and left scores more displaced. So far, this unprecedented year for wildfires has seen 3.3 million acres ravaged across the Golden State—a record-breaking 26 times more than the acreage lost to fire last year.

The flames have destroyed countless structures, including historic facilities in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park and home to iconic thousand-year-old redwoods. In August, Big Basin temporarily closed its gates; it’s unclear when the park will reopen.

In California and across the country, the combination of natural disaster, pandemic, and economic retrenchment against the threat of recession spell trouble for the future of state parks...

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nearly $600K To Enhance Red Grade Trails Near Sheridan

Credit Sheridan Community Land Trust - Full Article

By Catherine Wheeler
September 15 2020

The Sheridan Community Land Trust has received two grants that will go towards building more trails and parking areas in the Bighorn National Forest.

The two grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Wyoming Business Council total nearly $600,000. The funds will go to building 15 miles of trail and three parking areas in the existing Red Grade trail system.

Sheridan Community Land Trust Executive Director Brad Bauer said the trails will be non-motorized and multi-use for hiking, biking and equestrian activities...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Oregon: Horse trails planned for Jacksonville's Forest Park - Full Article

by Tony Boom for the Mail Tribune
Tuesday, September 1st 2020

An equestrian group with experience in building horse trails will work with Jacksonville Forest Park volunteers to establish an 8-mile equestrian loop in the park west of the town.

Jacksonville city officials closed the park to all horse riding earlier this year after three incidents where riders caused damage to trails designed for hikers and mountain bikers. Previously a trail had been available to riders in the upper reaches of the park.

Rogue Valley-based Sourdough Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America began discussions with Jacksonville officials on expanding horse-riding options in the park over a year ago. Equestrian use is listed in the park’s mission statement, but little development of that has taken place.

“We’ve got people who are good at building trails,” said Cate Bendock, president of the local chapter...

Read more here:

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Three Keys to 'Leave No Trace" Trail Riding - Full Article

The leader of a national trail riding organization offers tips for minimizing your environmental impact when you ride the trails.

Alana Harrison
Jul 8, 2020

When more people began using public land for recreational activities in the 1960s, the effects on flora and fauna became increasingly evident, which led the United States Forest Service to develop the Leave No Trace (LNT) program. Emphasizing wilderness ethics, the program promotes practices to reduce human impact on open lands and trails.

A similar effort was adopted by the Back Country Horseman of America’s (BCHA) founding chapter in Flathead County, Montana, in the early 1970s. The organization established guidelines for equestrian users of public land that evolved into BCHA’s current equine Leave No Trace program. The Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) established an equivalent program for trails on private land called Tread Lightly...

Read more here:

Friday, July 24, 2020

1000 Horsemen and Women Push “Great American Outdoors Act” Toward the Finish Line!

American Horse Council

July 23, 2020

In a rare, bipartisan development, on Wednesday, July 22, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the “Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act of 2020” (H.R. 1957) by a vote of 310 to 107. The “GAO Act,” referred to as a “recreation package,” combines key elements of legislation long supported by the horse industry. This includes more resources for the backlog maintenance of public trails and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), at $900 million per year, which supports conservation easements that promote riding. The bill also incorporates provisions of the industry supported “Restore Our Parks Act” (ROPA). It creates a revenue stream to dedicate funds from energy development projects to support the maintenance of trails run by the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other agencies. “Whether it’s been a campaign to pass 'ROPA' or the 'Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act,' for the past three years, the horse industry has worked steadily to pass legislation that will make the nation’s public trails more accessible to horsemen and women,” noted American Horse Council (AHC) President Julie Broadway.

The House action follows on the heels of a similar, bipartisan victory in the Senate, which passed the bill on June 17 by a vote of 73 to 25. During meetings in February, staff with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee informed representatives from the horse industry that they intended to move a recreation package that bundled the sector’s top trails issue priorities. They also accurately predicted that Congress would pass trails legislation before the November election. “ More than 1000 members of the horse industry have sent letters to Congress urging support for the recreation package,” stated Craig Huffhines, President of the American Quarter Horse Association and Chairman of AHC’s Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee. “Wednesday’s victory shows what the horse industry can achieve when we work together,” continued Huffhines.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Great American Outdoors Act Passes the House!

The Partnership's Statement Upon the Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act:

July 22, 2020

The Partnership for the National Trails System issued the following statement from Board President Barney Scout Mann upon passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Today’s vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and send it on to the President is a dream come true. The Partnership for the National Trails System is thrilled that the decades-long effort to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the backlog of maintenance and construction on our public lands has resulted in passage of GAOA with strong bipartisan support.

In the midst of an incredibly challenging time, Congress has taken a bold step to invest in communities and special places all across the nation for the benefit of people and the protection of our natural resources in ways that will endure for generations to come. It is gratifying to see that this issue has brought people together rather than further divide us.

The Partnership is incredibly grateful to those who worked on this legislative effort for over 30 years and who worked so hard to get us to this day. Given how long we’ve been at it, the list of those we want to thank is pages long. In this moment, we especially want to acknowledge the GAOA’s lead sponsors in the House – Reps. Joe Cunningham (SC-1) and Mike Simpson (ID-2), House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) – and House leadership for moving the bill so quickly following Senate passage. We also thank those who led action in the Senate last month – Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) – as well Senate leadership for making this important legislation a priority.

The National Trails System’s congressionally designated 30 scenic and historic trails are a critical part of America’s impressive public lands and provide spectacular outdoor recreation and cultural experiences. There is at least one national trail in each of our 50 states. These 30 trails connect with 84 national parks, 89 national forests, 70 national wildlife refuges, over 100 BLM public land areas, 179 national wilderness areas, and more than 230 major urban areas and trail towns. Over the years, substantial funding from LWCF has helped build out the trail footpath, protect viewsheds, and conserve important historic and cultural resources that help tell this country’s unique stories. Maintenance and construction funding have ensured that the trail experience is a positive one for millions of visitors each year. But there is much more to do to complete the length and breadth of the National Trails System as envisioned by Congress. We also recognize the importance of creating accessible, safe, and welcoming trail experiences for all users.

The Partnership and its member organizations look forward to working with our public agencies, local communities, and Congress to use GAOA funds to full effect along our scenic and historic trails, ensuring that the National Trails System remains a world-class public land resource for all people now and well into the future.


For more information about the Partnership for the National Trails System, visit The mission of the Partnership is to “empower, inspire, and strengthen public and private partners to develop, preserve, promote, and sustain the national scenic and historic trails.”

Barney Scout Mann
Board Chair

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Idaho: Trail fans can help hiking, biking, horse trails - Full Article

July 9, 2020 1:00 AM

BOISE — Residents who want to chip in to support the state’s hiking and bike trails can pick up a trail sticker for a $10 donation.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation made its “Idaho Trails Supporter” sticker available for the public last month on National Trails Day.

For 10 bucks, residents can sponsor Idaho’s hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. All proceeds of this voluntary program will go toward maintaining and protecting Idaho’s non-motorized trails. To sign up visit the state parks and recreation website and click on the Trails Sticker on the “shop” tab...

Read more here:

Friday, July 10, 2020

Trails for tomorrow - Full Article

Now more than ever, your help is needed to maintain and preserve the open land and trails that are the backbone of the horse industry.


For nearly a decade, Elise Backinger explored the trails of Salida, Colorado, aboard her Quarter Horse gelding, Pep. Salida calls itself the “Gem of the Rockies,” and Backinger’s memories of her rides there are tinged with awe. “There is something deeply profound about the solitude and tranquility you experience riding out in nature. It’s just you, your horse and the land,” she says.

Backinger and her husband have since sold their hay farm and Pep is now a semi-retired therapy horse, but the horsewoman remains grateful for the bond she and her gelding developed on the trail. Their outings, she says, “taught both of us valuable lessons---from encountering unexpected wildlife to negotiating rough terrain to building confidence and endurance.” To ensure that future generations will have the same opportunity to enjoy nature with their horses, Backinger volunteers for the Central Colorado Conservancy, giving presentations on local trails and wildlife areas...

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Webinar: Successful Models in Developing and Maintaining Private Equestrian Trail Systems

July 30 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am Free

Equine Land Conservation Resource and American Trails will partner to provide a free webinar on July 30 at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern Time) entitled Successful Models in Developing and Maintaining Private Equestrian Trail Systems. The webinar will spotlight how three different communities have developed and maintained successful equestrian trail system on private land.

Privately owned land is the most at-risk component of our equestrian landscape. Boarding barns, competition venues, trails, hunt fixtures and hayfields are being lost every day as a result of development, misunderstanding of liability issues by new owners of land, and rising demand for land around urbanizing areas. Access to private land for equestrian use can be a valuable asset in your community and can result in not only a viable recreational trail system but even a corridor providing equine access to public land.

For more information and to register for the webinar go to:

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

E-Bikes in National Parks: They’re Riding a Slippery Slope - Full Article

Do they just damage trails, disturb wildlife, and endanger hikers?


After you’ve labored to summit a hill on a human-powered bicycle, there’s an ineffable joy in riding the force of gravity down the other side, free and easy. Electric bikes offer a wholly different experience, as e-bikes are typically fossil-fuel-powered machines. (Although they can also be powered by renewable energy.) There is no work required to climb the hill; a battery pack charged by a coal-burning power plant or a natural gas facility does the work for you. That battery-powered motor allows you to race at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, simply by getting on the e-bike.

E-bikes are all the rage in Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior. Last summer, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued a directive to national parks that “simplifies and unifies regulation” of the machines by asking “whether e-bikes should be treated [as] motor vehicles.”

Bernhardt’s answer? No, they aren’t motor vehicles. Therefore, all is well with more e-bikes in the parks. “Use of e-bikes will increase access to recreational opportunities,” states the National Park Service on its website. E-bikers will now be able to access “park roads, paved or hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use, and administrative roads where traditional bikes are allowed.”

No problem, right?...

Read more here:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Get Off Your High Horse About Poop - Full Article

JUNE 25, 2020
Judy Reinsma

This is regarding the letter in the June 21 edition of the Sunday Signal about horse poop on the San Francisquito Canyon trail.

The dirt path next to the asphalt walking, jogging, biking trail is a BRIDLE TRAIL. A bridle trail is specifically there for HORSES, not for unmounted humans.

Horses poop. Horse poop does not stink, does not contain any harmful germs and actually improves the soil as it dries out and is incorporated into the surrounding natural area.

Getting off one’s horse and scooping up a pile of horse poop, and then putting it into a grocery bag (it’s that large) isn’t easy. One would also have to carry a rake or shovel on horseback and that’s not possible.

So yes, it is too much to ask horse owners to use horse diapers or clean up like dog owners are required to do.

That’s one reason why there are bridle trails, so horseback riders are not riding their horses on the asphalt trails where people and bikes want to go...

Read more here:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

New Mexico: Conflicts on Talpa Traverse Trail turn dangerous

TaosNewscom - Full Article

Tacks found on Talpa Traverse trail recently present a hazard to mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers.

Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2020 10:40 am
By Cindy Brown
For Taos News

A rise in people out on the trails this summer can lead to more conflicts between trail users such as hikers, mountain bikers, runners and horseback riders. On at least one trail near Taos, the rise in conflicts recently took a dangerous turn.

In mid-May, 50-75 small tacks with sharp needle points possibly upholstery tacks were found on the Talpa Traverse Trail about half a mile from its intersection with Ojitos Trail in Taos Canyon. The tacks were carefully laid in the dirt in a horizontal line across the entire trail at the bottom of a set of rock stairs which is at a blind corner on the trail. Just last week, a series of approximately 11 obstacles constructed of stones and sticks were discovered on the trail by horseback rider Karen Soomekh.

The Talpa Traverse also known as the Talpa Foothills Trail is an unofficial trail across Carson National Forest land. It was built by horseback riders and others, creating an access from the Weimer Foothills area to the forest across an easement given 30 years ago for a bridle path. Today it is a favorite particularly among mountain bike riders and equestrians for its views, rolling terrain, and proximity to town...

Read more here:,64478

Monday, June 22, 2020

Senate passes major lands conservation bill - Full Article

By Rachel Frazin - 06/17/20 12:26 PM EDT

The Senate passed a major public lands bill on Wednesday, voting to set aside hundreds of millions of dollars each year for conservation efforts.

The Great American Outdoors Act, which passed in a 73-25 vote, would permanently provide $900 million in oil and gas revenues for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps secure land for trails and parks.

The legislation will also put $6.5 billion toward addressing a maintenance backlog at national parks.

“Permanent LWCF funding will help improve access to public lands, including providing important access for hunting and fishing opportunities, and will ensure the program remains an important contributor to a strong and growing outdoor recreation economy that will benefit state and local economies throughout our nation,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who was part of a bipartisan group that introduced the bill, said in a floor speech...

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wyoming: Back Country Horsemen fight conditions to add convenience to Sunlight campgrounds - Full Article

Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:20 am
By Mark Davis

Just after lunch, dark clouds moved in overhead and a cold rain began to fall. The storm was expected, but the crew couldn’t see it approaching at Dead Indian Campground — far below the surrounding peaks. It wasn’t welcome, but the crew was undeterred.

The work marked the beginning of a new season of hard labor, mixed with laughs, for the Shoshone Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America. Members from across the Big Horn Basin and southern Montana come together several times a year to maintain trails and trailheads in the Shoshone National Forest. It’s an endless, all-volunteer effort to keep trails open and provide comfort and convenience to those who frequent facilities in northwest Wyoming’s mountains...

Read more here:,25526

Monday, May 18, 2020

Alabama: Local Back Country Horsemen clean up Wind Creek - Full Article

May 15, 2020

By Katie Bohannon, Staff Writer/Photographer and Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Following the April 19 tornado that hit Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City, fallen trees clogged the facility’s horse trails prohibiting people or animals from crossing. Inspired by his organization’s mission, Duck Springs resident and Back Country Horsemen of America member Chad Jones committed himself to ensuring the trails were cleared and open for all.

Jones contacted BCHA McClellan chapter president Jerry Roach to organize a voluntary work session at Wind Creek State Park. Together, the two sent out emails to each BCHA chapter explaining the situation and asking for help. Jones and Roach were not disappointed with the response they received.

From April 30 through May 3, 25 members from four BCHA chapters met at the park to help clear debris from the horse trails. Over the course of four days, the group cleared approximately 20 miles of equestrian trails. Beginning at the equestrian campground and working outward, the group used chainsaws, ATVs and pack horses to remove all debris. Although the blue trail, one of the longest and most scenic of the rising trails, was too heavily damaged for the chapter members to clear, their combined efforts opened three trails in one weekend alone...

Read more here:

Friday, April 3, 2020

Free Webinar: Equestrian Trail Design and Best Practices From Backcountry to Urban Edge Settings


Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Rhino Marking & Protection Systems, this webinar is free to the public!

Title: Equestrian Trail Design and Best Practices from Backcountry to Urban Edge Settings
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020
Time: 10:00am-11:30am Pacific (1:00pm-2:30pm Eastern) 

Webinar Details 

This webinar is a continuation of the webinar from August 2019 titled Equestrian Trail Design for Urban Shared Use Trails.

The presenters will review best practices for trail design planning, construction, and management in undeveloped natural areas and connecting to urban edge settings. The webinar will include trailhead development, urban to wildland transition design, and equestrian trail features to provide best sustainability and lowest impact.
Learn more about the webinar, learning objectives, and presenters here. 
Webinar Presenters
• Matthew Woodson, President and Founder, Okanogan Trail Construction
• Justin Azevedo, Director of Landscape Architecture & Planning, Coffman Studio
• Holley Groshek, Executive Director, Equine Land Conservation Resource
• Randy Rasmussen, Director of Public Lands and Recreation, Back Country Horsemen of America

Webinar Questions

Feel free to send your questions to the presenters prior to the webinar as we have saved time for questions and answers (Q&A) at the end.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Riding Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness - Watch the video

by Robert Eversole
December 18, 2018

Riding Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness with the Back Country Horsemen

Arizona is a fabulous place in general and the horse friendly trails on the Superstition wilderness are especially wonderful. I rode here with the Back Country Horsemen not too long ago. It was a great time. They took me to ancient Indian ruins, showed me how the desert blooms in winter and summer, took me over some incredible country on solid mounts, told a few tall tales, and explained how they help keep these trails open to horse use.

For more information on the First Water Trailhead visit

Watch the video here:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Oregon: Salmonberry Trail receives funding toward 86-mile plan - Full Article Mar 2, 2020 Updated Mar 10, 2020

The Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA) and Tillamook County recently announced they have granted additional financial support needed to complete the remaining master planning for segments of the Salmonberry Trail, described as Oregon’s most ambitious rail-to-trail project.

The WCVA and Tillamook County each awarded $175,000, the combined total of which - $350,000 - will help finance the master planning of the 18.6-mile canyon segment and the 15.3-mile river segment of the Salmonberry Trail, which are the remaining two of the four total segments of the 86-mile trail. Master planning on the coastal section was completed in 2017, and the valley section (from Banks to the top of the Coast Range) in 2018...

Read more here:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New Zealand: Petition to get horses on Hauraki Rail Trail receives wide reaching support - Full Article

Sharnae Hope
15:39, Feb 24 2020

A petition to have horses on the Hauraki Rail Trail has now amassed more than 700 signatures.

Its creator, Te Aroha West local Leanne Richardson said receiving an "overwhelming" amount of supporters speaks volumes.

"We are well and truly over 700 and it just keeps on climbing. They [the signatures] are from everywhere and everyone's supporting it," Richardson said.

Launched in December 2019, the petition is for horse riders to have access to the Hauraki Rail Trail as well as cyclists and walkers...

Read more here:

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Free Webinar: Equestrian Trail Design and Best Practices

From Backcountry to Urban Edge Settings

Best practices for trail design planning, construction, and management in undeveloped natural areas and connecting to urban edge settings.

Presented by:

Matthew Woodson, President and Founder, Okanogan Trail Construction
Justin Azevedo, Director of Landscape Architecture & Planning, Coffman Studio
Holley Groshek, Executive Director, Equine Land Conservation Resource
Randy Rasmussen, Director of Public Lands and Recreation, Back Country Horsemen of America

Event Details
April 16, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

(learning credits are a $15 fee)

To register for this live event, see

Friday, February 21, 2020

Florida: Experience Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge by horseback - full article

FEB 19, 2020

For the first time, you can experience the landscape of the Florida Everglades at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on horseback.

Since Feb 12, approximately 36 miles of trails have opened to riders who will share multi-use trails with hikers, bicyclists, pet walkers, and vehicles.

No horses will be available to rent.

Authorities suggest a visit to the Boynton Beach refuge before you bring your horse...

Read more here:

Immediate Action Needed by All Trail Enthusiasts!

Contact your U.S. representative now to support the Recreational Trails Program. H.R. 5797 will dramatically improve the RTP; co-sponsors urgently needed

The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) calls on all trail organizations and trail enthusiasts to take action immediately to continue and to expand the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the national trails assistance program that aids all trail activities nationwide through use of federal non-highway recreational fuel taxes.

by American Trails Staff

The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) calls on all trail organizations and trail enthusiasts to take action immediately to continue and to expand the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the national trails assistance program that aids all trail activities nationwide through use of federal non-highway recreational fuel taxes.

A huge step occurred late last year when the Congress instructed the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a timely estimate of the fuel tax generated through non-highway recreational activities in its FY2020 budget and included RTP reauthorization in key Senate legislation creating the next-gen surface transportation program. Now, action in the House of Representatives is underway and underscores the bipartisan and coast-to- coast support RTP enjoys in the Congress.

US Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT), John Curtis (R-UT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Chris Stewart (R- UT) introduced the Recreational Trails Full Funding Act of 2020 (HR 5797) that will more than double funding for the RTP and make other important changes. HR 5797 will:

● require completion of the nonhighway recreational fuel use study at least every five years and reports to Congress on the results;
● increase RTP funding to $250 million annually – from $84 million currently – or to the new estimated amount from the mandated studies;

● establish new reporting standards for projects completed with RTP funds to provide increased transparency;
● simplify and increase funding of administration of RTP by FHWA; and
● re-establish the original formula for apportionment of RTP funds to the states.

Since 1991, RTP has provided funding to states to develop and maintain outdoor recreational trails, allowing millions of Americans and their families to enjoy activities such as hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and 4-wheel driving. More than 25,000 key projects have been completed in all states and the District of Columbia and benefit not only the recreational trail enthusiasts paying the taxes but all trail activities.

The successes of RTP are easier to understand than ever through CRT’s new website at which includes a copy of HR 5797, new infographics explaining the RTP program and links to key data, including information about completed projects in each state.

CRT’s Board of Directors now asks each trail enthusiast organization, recreation industry association and trail advocates to take these actions now:

Use your print and electronic communications channels to share news of HR 5797 and other recent Congressional actions which would continue and expand the RTP, providing safe and healthy trail opportunities for all Americans. Send copies of your stories to CRT at

Retweet the great tweet by US Representatives Welch and Curtis at

Write to express thanks to HR 5797’s cosponsors for being RTP Champions:

The Hon. Peter Welch The Hon. John Curtis The Hon. Angie Craig The Hon. Annie Kuster The Hon. Mike Simpson The Hon. Chris Stewart

See the attached CRT letter, with its impressive list of supporting national organizations.

Use this address: The Hon. xxx, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515

Contact your own U.S. Representative and those Members with strong relations to your organization and ask them to cosponsor HR 5797, the Recreational Trails Full Funding Act. Ask your Senators to support the similar Senate bill, S. 1527. Interested Members in the House should contact Alex Piper (Welch) at or Jake Bornstein (Curtis) at

Check the CRT website at least weekly for updates:

Example Letter

United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives:
The nation’s recreational trails community strongly supports HR 5797, strengthening and extending the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). We deeply appreciate your national leadership efforts on this important issue. This legislation would ensure that the remarkable successes of the RTP since its 1991 creation will continue and provide safe, enjoyable trails and access to the Great Outdoors for millions of Americans. The measure requires a Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Study, better reporting of RTP projects and increased funding.

RTP is a partner-based program uniting federal/state/local agencies, enthusiasts and the recreation industry and is unique in its support of trail maintenance. More than 25,000 projects and programs have been completed, contributing to our economy, to our health and safety, and to greater access to our public lands.
Co-signed organizations:

Adventure Cycling Association
American Council of Snowmobile Associations
American Hiking Society
American Horse Council
American Motorcyclist Association
American Trails
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
Back Country Horsemen of America
Bikes Belong
BlueRibbon Coalition
Conservation Legacy
The Corps Network
Equine Land Conservation Resource
International Association of Snowmobile Administrators
International Mountain Bicycling Association
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Association of State Park Directors
National Association of State Trail Administrators
National Park Hospitality Association
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
National Recreation and Park Association
National Wildlife Federation
Off-Road Business Association
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
People for Bikes
Professional Trail Builders Association
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
SnowSports Industries America
Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Sports and Fitness Association
The Student Conservation Association
Tread Lightly!
United Four Wheel Drive Associations

More info at:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

FREE THURSDAY WEBINAR: Solutions for Managing Conflict on Shared-Use Trails

This webinar is free to the public, thanks to a generous sponsorship from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and the Federal Highway Administration.

Continuing the conversation from the 2019 International Trails Symposium (ITS) and Training Institute and our TRAILSLead™ Multi-use Trails and Conflict Forum, this webinar will build upon the concepts brought up during the panel discussion (these concepts are outlined in a synopsis article post ITS 2019).

Presented by:
- Danielle Fowles-McNiven, Interim Executive Director, Tread Lightly!, Inc.
- Chelle Grald, Trails & Rides Manager, AERC Trailmaster & Vermont Trails Advocate, Green Mountain Horse Association
- Steve Salisbury, Government Affairs Manager, American Motorcyclist Association
- Cam Lockwood, Owner, Trails Unlimited
- Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association
- Rich Edwards, Director of Construction and Operations - Trail Solutions, International Mountain Bicycling Association
- Karen Umphress (Moderator), Owner, UP! Outside

For more information and to register, see:

North Carolina: New Preserve Will Feature Hiking, Horseback Riding Trails - Full Article

By Spectrum News Staff Wake County
PUBLISHED 6:53 PM ET Feb. 18, 2020

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A new 571-acre preserve will primarily serve as an equestrian and hiking trail facility, the Wake County Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday.

The board approved a $2 million construction contract with McQueen Contruction of Bahama, N.C. to build Procter Farm Preserve located between Doc Proctor and Riley Hill Roads. The property is currently a mix of forest and working farmland near Knightdale, Wendell, and Zebulon.

“Procter Farm Preserve will provide another option in Wake County for people to enjoy horseback riding and other recreational pursuits...”

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Idaho lawmakers killed a bill on public land access last week. Now they’ve resurrected it - Full Article

By Nicole Blanchard
February 10, 2020

For the second time in a week, Idaho lawmakers considered introducing legislation that aimed to improve access to public land. For the first time, they voted to move it forward.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee on Monday voted to print a bill that would mean fines for people who knowingly block public land access.

Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, sponsored the legislation Monday. Last Wednesday, the House Resources and Conservation committee swiftly voted down printing a comparable bill, which was sponsored by Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise.

Martin told the Senate committee that public land is an incredibly popular issue...

Read more here:

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Free Webinar: Solutions for Managing Conflict on Shared-Use Trails

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Time: 10:00am-11:30am Pacific (1:00pm-2:30pm Eastern)

Webinar Details
Continuing the conversation from the 2019 International Trails Symposium (ITS) and Training Institute and our TRAILSLead™ Multi-use Trails and Conflict Forum, this webinar will build upon the concepts brought up during the panel discussion. Attending this webinar would will be valuable to those who did and did not attend ITS and this particular forum. This webinar will include a panel of leaders in the outdoor industry from a variety of trail types, and will be moderated by Karen Umphress with UP! Outside.

Learn more about the webinar, learning objectives, and presenters here.

Webinar Presenters

Danielle Fowles-McNiven, Interim Executive Director, Tread Lightly!, Inc.
Chelle Grald, Trails & Rides Manager, AERC Trailmaster & Vermont Trails Advocate, Green Mountain Horse Association
Steve Salisbury, Government Affairs Manager, American Motorcyclist Association
Cam Lockwood, Owner, Trails Unlimited LLC
Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association
Rich Edwards, Director of Construction and Operations - Trail Solutions, International Mountain Bicycling Association
Karen Umphress, Owner, Up! Outside

Webinar Questions
Feel free to send your questions to the presenters ( prior to the webinar as we have saved time for questions and answers (Q&A) at the end.

To register, and for more information see:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Washington: Being responsible trail users - Full Article

By Karen Griffiths
Sunday, January 26, 2020

CALLING ALL TRAIL users! Did you know that horses have right of way on all trails? This information is posted on trail literature and websites. So what does that mean to you, the hiker, walker, or bicyclist using the trails?

Does that mean you can ignore the horses and just speed past them as fast as you can? Does that mean you stop, wave your arms and scream? How about attaching a bell to your bicycle and ringing it when you see a horse approaching?

Answers: No, no and partially true.

If you are riding a bike then a bell is a good idea to ring as a warning, especially when you can’t see around the bend. The correct response, however, is to move off to the side of the trail, stop and wait patiently for the animals to pass by.

Linda Morin, a member of Back Country Horseman’s Peninsula Chapter, asks folks to abide by the three S’s: Stop, Stand and Speak. Stop your forward movement, stand to the side of the trail and calmly speak a greeting...

Read more here:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

This Is Why Mountain Bikers Can’t Have Nice Things - Full Article

Bad behavior might be jeopardizing access to Kingdom Trails, one of the premier networks on the East Coast. Here’s what we can learn from it.

Eben Weiss
Jan 13, 2020

ome years back I visited Gothenburg, Sweden, and my host took me to ride some trails in a park just a short pedal from the city center. “Is this even legal?” I asked incredulously, imagining how much trouble I’d be in were I to steer my bicycle off the pavement in Central Park, even briefly. He then explained to me the Swedish concept of freedom to roam, or allemansrätten—literally “the everyman’s rights”—by which the constitution entitles people to walk, cycle, ski, and camp on most open land, regardless of whether it’s public or private.

It doesn’t work that way here in America, where mountain bike access to parkland is tightly regulated, and where public access of any kind to private land is entirely at the landowner’s discretion. One outstanding example of landowner largesse is Kingdom Trails in northeastern Vermont, which features over 100 miles of non-motorized trails “for all seasons and abilities,” and is spread across the properties of 97 private landowners, all of whom generously allow the public access to their land for a variety of uses, including mountain biking. Run by the non-profit Kingdom Trails Association (KTA), it’s become one of the premier recreational trail networks in the Northeast. A $15 one-day membership fee (or $75 annually) nets you access to a famously well-groomed and signed system that attracts over 100,000 visitors a year, 84 percent of whom come from out of state, and all of whom bring tourism dollars. Over the past 20 years, the trails have transformed the town of East Burke, which once attracted mostly skiers and leaf-peepers, and turned what was once the off-season into the peak season.

This past December, however, three landowners on Darling Hill informed KTA that they would no longer allow mountain bikers to use their property. “While the success of the trails has brought meaningful economic benefit to the area,” stated KTA on its website, “challenges and tension points exist around traffic, congestion and pedestrian safety of residents and visitors alike.” The landowners will continue to allow Nordic skiers, snowshoers, runners, hikers and horseback riders to access their property...

Read more here: