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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