Sunday, December 10, 2023

Equine Trail Easements: The Good, the Bad and the Muddy - full articleSeptember 27, 2022

By Laurel A. Florio for Equine Land Conservation Resource

So many aspects of equine activities, such as sport horse training, ranching, or recreational riding, rely on large areas of land; be it for grazing, riding arenas, turn-out or, to a smaller degree, trail access. Sometimes land-locked forests provide fabulous multi-use opportunities for riders to enjoy the trails, but oftentimes access is restricted to trailer parking gateways. The need for trail access over privately-owned land is essential to equine use, and the lack thereof threatens to minimize trail availability in many parts of the country. This article provides a good basic overview for anyone interested in learning more about how trail easements can support equestrian access.

Access to Land

Community conservation is a catchphrase that highlights the benefits of land conservation for an entire community. For example, the conservation of a farm benefits not only that landowner but the entire community by providing open space, aesthetic, and natural beauty values. Similarly, the concept of community conservation can lend itself to the establishment of trail easements over private lands, highlighting the communal engagement necessary to maintain trail access and the bucolic nature of the area

Many private landowners may be willing to conserve specific areas of land for the exclusive use of trails or trail access. The coming together, for example, of a rural community to encourage linking trail easements to accommodate such access is common. To make this happen, landowners will grant a conservation easement over a trail (trail easement) allowing access to larger trail networks or just the continuation of a rural trail. Conservation easements are very common over large swaths of land and are becoming more common to protect the strips of land making a trail network...

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Trails Safe Passing Plan: Stop! Speak and Stand Back - full articleFebruary 9, 2022, by ELCR

By Jenny Cook, Michigan Equestrian Trails Representative and ELCR

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to grow at an exponential rate, ELCR joined an unprecedented consortium of advocacy groups, brands, media outlets, and ambassadors that have come together to create the public awareness campaign “Trails are Common Ground (TaCG)” in late 2021. The campaign elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails. To learn more about the campaign and how you can support the movement go to

ELCR remains an active member of the coalition participating regularly in coalition meetings along with Back Country Horsemen of America to represent the interest of the equine community. In support of the TaCG initiative, ELCR collaborated with Michigan Equestrian Trails Representative, Jenny Cook, and the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council on educational initiative Trails Safe Passing Plan (TSPP): STOP! SPEAK and STAND BACK to elevate trail safety and the overall shared trail experience.

The Trails Safe Passing Plan is a safety action plan for trail users to follow when encountering horses on trails. It enables safe sharing of trails for all users, including children, dogs, and horses. This knowledge can lead to better understanding of what to do around horses on trails. The initiative was developed to increase safety by helping all trail users understand that horses, as prey animals, can naturally be afraid of unfamiliar people and objects and are equipped to perceive and respond to potential threats with a “flight” survival instinct preferring to move their feet towards an exit route...

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Monday, November 20, 2023

500 acres of new wildland trails opening in California's Anaheim Hills

Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG - Full Article and audio

By Michael Slaten |
PUBLISHED: November 16, 2023

Miles of new trails for hiking, biking and riding horses become available to the public Friday, Nov. 17, with the official opening of the Gypsum Canyon Wilderness area in Anaheim Hills.

The 500 aces of protected open space are just east of the 241 Toll Road and south of the 91 Freeway, and offer six miles of trails and scenic overlooks that give views of the Santa Ana Mountains...

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Monday, September 18, 2023

Webinar Recording: “Got Mud? Tackling Mud and Erosion on Equestrian Trails”

Recorded on: August 31, 2023

Mud and erosion are common issues encountered on equestrian trails. This webinar presented by ELCR, in cooperation with our conservation partner American Trails, as part of their Advancing Trails webinar series, addresses some of the challenges caused by mud and erosion by focusing on effective construction techniques, recommended products, and best management practices for trail planning, construction, and maintenance.

Presenters include:

Jan Hancock, Principal, Hancock Resources LLC
Holley Groshek, Executive Director, Equine Land Conservation Resource
Clay Nelson, Owner, Sustainable Stables
Matthew Woodson, Owner/Founder, Okanogan Trail Construction

To view this webinar see:

Monday, July 17, 2023

California: Equestrians have been using this SLO County trail for decades. Why are they suddenly banned? - Full Article Travis Gibson photo

By John Lindt
Updated June 28, 2023 12:48 PM

The Los Osos Community Advisory Council has unanimously backed historical use by equestrians to the east-west trail system at the edge of the Morro Dunes Ecological Preserve. The preserve is just south of Highland in Los Osos near Broderson Avenue, which becomes a walking trail as it climbs into the preserve. LOCAC members were advised of the issue last week with a presentation by former Cayucos science teacher Lisa Shinn, representing the local equestrian community and stables. Riders use the trail system to connect to Montana de Oro State Park.

Montana de Oro has been long used by equestrians, with the park offering some 61 miles of horse trails and a permanent horse camp that draws visitors from all over the West. Shinn noted the visitors have a beneficial impact on the local economy. In the state park, riders share the use of trails with hikers and bike riders. The ecological preserve, founded in 1983, is overseen by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency’s website says equestrians are not allowed within the preserve. Indeed, in the past year, the agency posted a “Horses Prohibited‘‘ sign at one entrance to the trail system...

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Friday, May 12, 2023

Decision to allow horses on parts of P.E.I.’s Confederation Trail in 2023 draws mixed reactions - Full Article

Province extends equestrian pilot project in some sections

Contributed , Taylor Stewart · Freelance journalist | Posted: May 10, 2023

Horses are being permitted on sections of P.E.I.’s Confederation Trail again in 2023. And, just like the first two years of the pilot project, there are mixed reactions to the news.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to take horses on the Confederation Trail,” said Sylvia Hall Andrews, chair of the Confederation Trail sub-committee for the P.E.I. Trail Riders.

“There’s plenty of data supporting the trail is ideal for horses. If you were to build a trail from scratch that was suitable for walkers, cyclists and horses, the Confederation Trail is what you would get...”

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Sunday, May 7, 2023

Indiana: Got a horse? Soon you’ll be able to ride trails in Allen County - Full Article

by: Jamie Duffy
Posted: May 5, 2023

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Those who dream of riding the range will be able to saddle up in Allen County this fall for a little shorter ride, if all goes well.

The Allen County Commissioners approved a $298,854 contract with Krafft Water Solutions LLC in St. Joe to create a 5.5 mile trail at the Allen County Sheriff’s training facility at Paulding and Adams Center roads.

Costs are largely covered by a $250,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources. Allen County is responsible for a 25% matching grant, or about $62,000...

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Friday, May 5, 2023

Oregon Equestrian trails chapter donates $500 to forest trust - Full Article

The Astorian
May 4, 2023

At the April 11 meeting of the North Coast chapter of Oregon Equestrian Trails, chairwoman Mary Kemhus presented a check for $500 to Kelly Lau, the executive director of the State Forests Trust of Oregon. The funds will go towards replacing a failed bridge as part of trail maintenance at Northrup Creek Horse Camp near Birkenfeld.

The trust accepts donations on behalf of the Oregon Department of Forestry. The chapter assists the Oregon Department of Forestry with maintaining the horse camp and nine miles of riding trails with trail clearing work parties...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Panhandle Back Country Horsemen: Best-Kept Secret of North Idaho - Full Story

April 7, 2023

Panhandle Back Country Horsemen (PBCH), established as a chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho in 1984, is comprised of all volunteer horsemen and horsewomen and is dedicated to keeping open and maintaining National Forests, State Forests, and State Park trails for public use.

Certified by the USFS for the use of chainsaws with a focus on safe cutting and certified CPR and AED use, the volunteers provide a valuable service to the community. Presently membership totals about 50 people with about 20 certified cutters and 10 new members awaiting training and sawyer certification.

After tough winters in North Idaho, we all know about the tangled mess of downed trees blocking access to our favorite trails. Whether used for hiking, biking, mushroom or huckleberry picking, horse back riding or just plain meandering through our forests, trails blocked by fallen trees often ruin our best plans for an enjoyable outing...

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

A New Rule Could Change the Way the BLM Manages Public Land in the West - Full Article

The rule change would put public land conservation projects on a level playing field with other uses like mining, grazing, and logging

By Charlie Booher | Published Apr 11, 2023

Earlier this month, the United States Department of the Interior proposed a new rule that could fundamentally change how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) makes decisions about land use, bringing conservation to the forefront. The rule would direct BLM decision makers to “protect intact landscapes, restore degraded habitat, and make wise management decisions based on science and data,” the proposal reads.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres, almost exclusively in the American West. The agency has been charged by Congress—through the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)—to manage these lands for multiple uses. Historically those uses have included recreation, mining, grazing, timber, and oil and gas development. With its new rule proposal, the BLM is hoping to add conservation to that list...

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North Carolina Horse Farm with Equestrian Trail Protected

Rose Lane photo - Full Article

April 12, 2023
By Submitted article

When Ben and Rhonda King were choosing where to live in retirement, Rhonda said their main criteria came down to one thing: “Horses.” The place they eventually found, near Tryon, offered not only a scenic spot for their own home, but a historic community as devoted to horses as they were. Their farm in the part of Polk County known as Hunting Country is part of a unique trail network that gives them access to over 125 miles of equestrian trails—and expands that access to others who love horses...

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Friday, March 31, 2023

Horse Whisperer: Alisa Waxman’s Horse Trails In Rockdale County - Full Story

For a decade, Alisa Waxman has volunteered her time to maintain, expand and create new equine riding experiences throughout South Rockdale Community Park.

Published : March 30, 2023
by Jeff Dingler

For as long as she can remember, Alisa Waxman has wanted to be around horses. “As soon as I knew what a horse was, I was infatuated and in love with them,” said Waxman, who owns Stockbridge’s Ahavah Arabian Adventures, LLC, which provides personalized horse rides, lessons, and other equine experiences. “I begged my parents to buy me a horse and put it in our backyard.”

Though she got to ride horses at summer camp growing up, Waxman didn’t own her first horse (an Arabian) until she was 30. Since then, she’s become quite the skilled equestrian, not only founding Ahavah Arabian Adventures to share her love of horses, but also expanding and creating new horse trails in South Rockdale Community Park...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Trail Etiquette and Safe Passing Plans When Encountering Equestrians - Full Article

December 7, 2022, by ELCR

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to grow at an exponential rate, ELCR joined an unprecedented consortium of trail user groups that came together to create the public awareness campaign “Trails are Common Ground (TaCG)” in early 2021. The campaign elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails. Both ELCR and Back Country Horsemen of America represent the equestrian community on the TaCG Steering Committee. For more information and how you can support the campaign go to

Equestrians are inherently at more risk of injuries compared to other trail user groups because they are in a sitting position on live creatures which can be spooked or startled upon sudden and unexpected encounters with other trail users. A startled horse can be a risk to not only themselves and their riders but other trail users in their vicinity.

It is important to understand that as a prey animal a horse reacts differently to its environment than a human or dog. Horses also have anatomical differences which provide for their keen senses such as vision and hearing, resulting in them perceiving their environments very differently than other species. As prey animals, horses can naturally be afraid of unfamiliar people, objects, and sudden movement, and may react to a perceived threat with the natural “flight” response of a prey animal...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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.

By Alana Harrison | July 8, 2020

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.

The challenges before trail advocates like Backinger are great. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 6,000 acres of the country’s open land are lost every day due to the increasing demand for urban and suburban development. And for horsepeople, these statistics can translate into real-world hardships: Open land is the backbone of the equine industry, fundamental to feeding, riding, showing and caring for our horses. If open land continues to be consumed at the current rate, we could start losing the resources we need for our horses in as little as 15 years...

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