|TROT News - August 2003||Home | Back|
|August 2003||Electronic Edition||Number 143|
TROT'S JUDGED PLEASURE RIDE!
Many clubs had rides postponed this year due to muddy conditions and high waters...and ours was no exception...but here it is!
We need as many volunteers as possible to help out. Please see the JPTR page on this site for more details.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue of the newsletter! Horse people are the best and we have lots to share and work to accomplish! Why not get out your note pad now, before starting to peruse this newsletter...so you can make notes about all the things that need to be done in our horse community and how you can help!
Search Team FINDS New MembersBy Suzanne Anderson
A great big Welcome to 20 (that's Twenty!) new trainees on the TROT Search Team. I am just so excited about this. Signing on for search training with the only mounted team in Maryland are these wonderful TROT riders:
All of these wonderful people have now completed the TROT Search Team Horse and Rider Evaluations. This is a very basic set of riding skills we set each prospective member and horse to do, such as, does the horse stand quietly tied to the trailer for 30 minutes? Other typical trail obstacle class skills are also employed: backing up, weaving through pools while reining with one hand, crossing a wooden bridge, passing through fetlock deep mud, or knee deep water, crossing a busy road safely, and leaving the herd.
Kathy Dobson, TROT-9, hosted the first Evaluation date at her place, and we evaluated 12 horses. The next location was the Patuxent River Park in Croom, overseen by Tomi` Finkle, TROT-2. Lt. Barry Lees of the Maryland State Police also attended, part of his program to get to know the different search teams in the state and how they operate. He was impressed by the professionalism and horsemanship skills everyone demonstrated. And our final evaluation was held at Schooley Mill Park, my favorite place to take folks on an evaluation ride.
The next stage for our trainees is multi-leveled. Some of our new trainees need to acquire CPR certification and Basic First Aid. All trainees will begin work in the field, learning how to read and use a topographic map, getting briefed on how to use VHF and FRS radios, and different ways to pack the essential and required gear on horseback. This winter, we plan to arrange a Fundamentals of Search and Rescue (FunSAR!) course. This 40 hour course concludes with the written NASAR SAR Tech III (the introductory level); acquiring a SAR Tech III certification is a requirement in the TROT Search Team Standards to become an operational member.
Our trainees have lots of work ahead. If you meet them on the trail or at meetings, wish them luck and congratulate them for applying themselves to a worthwhile community service.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix carrot, apple, corn oil and molasses together. Then fold in salt, oats and flour until well mixed. Spread dough out in one big piece on the cookie sheet. Score dough with a knife to make it easier to break apart after baking. (Or, roll dough out and cut with cookie cutters) Bake for 20 minutes or until brown. Let cool, break apart and serve.
August --- No TROT Board Meeting will be held in August.
September 9, Tuesday: - TROT Board Meeting at new time & location – 7:00 PM (NOT the usual 7:30) at Woodlawn in Montgomery County. Hosted by Deneen Martin. Call her for directions - 301-253-2955.
September 27, Saturday: TROT Judged Pleasure Ride, Pavilion C. McKeldin Area, Patapsco Valley State Park.For any feedback, suggestions or comments regarding scheduled rides, contact Michelle Beachley, TROT's Trail Ride Coordinator, at 301/482-2526 or via email (email@example.com).
Rocky Gorge Reservoir Ride
.....by Terry Ledley
Well, it finally stopped raining, and we had a lovely day for our rescheduled TROT ride on the Rocky Gorge watershed. We had a perfect size turnout of 18 riders who gathered early for doughnuts and juice, provided by Bob and helped by Griff. We were really pleased to be joined by Terry Perrell a Watershed Patrol Officer, and were especially thankful to the WSSC for waiving the daily permit fee for our group ride. My son Fred and his family, who were visiting, came to see us off and take pictures. The group split evenly into a walking group, which I led, and a walk-trot group, led by Barbara and Denis Webb.
At the start of the ride we paused to appreciate the sign naming the "Terry Ledley Equestrian Trail" of which I am very proud. Everyone enjoyed the spectacular views along the reservoir, which is extremely high and very scenic. My group dealt with one horse who needed some coaxing to cross the streams, of which there are many. But finally there was one he would not dare negotiate, so Priscilla Huffman split off and took three riders back along a non-watery route. The slow group met up with the faster group at the lunch stop, along the lovely waterfalls at Aitcheson Creek. A varied return route including the shoreline "fisherman's" trail led us back to the boat ramp at Supplee. All involved were enthused about the ride and the magnificent Rocky Gorge watershed area. It was a real pleasure to lead this ride.
ISO Riding Buddy?
Are you and your horse not quite ready for a TROT ride? Do you need a buddy to "practice" with or "tune-up" with out on the trail? This column is a way for you to find a riding buddy. Let us know where you ride, where you'd like to ride, when you ride and what you're looking for. Your information will be included in this column! This column has generated lots of interest from riders looking for riding buddies as well as those wonderful horse people offering their experience to help out riders new to trails.
Let us know if you're searching for a new riding buddy!
Arab/Morgan - papered bay mare, 10 yrs, 15 h; used for trails. Great for intermediate rider or confident beginner. Easy keeper, great feet, very sweet. $2500/offer. Elizabeth 410-442-5006.
Mr. Beautiful - Flashy Arabian gelding. Chestnut with long flaxen mane & tail. Blaze and knee-high stockings. 14.2. Low-mileage 18 y.o. Has been shown and lightly trail ridden. Sound. No vices. Stands for vet & farrier. Trailers. Clips. Needs experienced rider. Good home a must. Anne 301-829-0949.
MORGAN RUN NEA ….the rest of the story
On April 3, 2003, Bruce Wilkins (Assistant Manager, Patapsco Valley State Park) phoned me to advise that due to budget constraints, the trails at Morgan Run NEA would not be mowed and the spot-a-pot would not be returned to the Ben Rose Lane parking lot. (The pot was removed in the fall of 2002 during the hunting season, when it was moved to the McKeldin Area.)
The trails at Morgan Run NEA are primarily mowed trails that started as patrol vehicle access paths. In effect, if the trails aren't mowed, the area is not accessible to park users. In warm weather, no one enjoys venturing into the hazards of tall grass and overgrown trails, on foot or on horseback.
It was time to call volunteers to action via an article in the Equiery. The community needed a liaison to the PVSP management and the Carroll County Equestrian Council answered that call. Each month, the CCEC meeting minutes reflect the latest developments pertaining to Morgan Run NEA and PVSP.
Recently, Ranger Jerry Kirkwood (formerly of Gunpowder Falls State Park) joined PVSP as Northern Regional Manager on temporary assignment. He is responsible for the McKeldin Area, Soldiers Delight NEA and Morgan Run NEA and can be reached at the McKeldin office 410-442-1454.
I am very proud to report that several members of the CCEC and others in the community have come forward to do something to help at Morgan Run NEA.
Let's acknowledge their contributions here. Thanks go to:- Janet Breeding for mowing the parking lot.
- Fugawe Trail Riders (Jack Farmer, Ronald Livesay, Harry Desmond, Rick Farmer, Walt Tegeler) for mowing the parking lot and trails in June and July.
- Fugawe Trail Riders for the spot-a-pot for May - June.
- Karen Jacobs (CCEC) $ 73 for spot-a-pot for June-July.
- Piedmont Pacers (Volksmarch Club) for $250.
- Dick & Tish Rupert for $25.
If you'd like to take a proactive approach to help keep the trails accessible at Morgan Run NEA you can. . .- Use hand pruners as you and your friends ride the trails.
- Send money. (Checks payable to CCEC, mail to 225 N. Center St., Westminster, MD 21157. Mark "For Morgan Run" on the check.)
- Put Sunday, October 5, 2003 on your calendar and be there for the trail work day from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your own equipment/tools.
- All of the above.
To make a difference, contact Carolyn A. Garber via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 410-549-5141.
More Carroll County News:
TROT TO ASSIST IN MORGAN RUN. On July 19, the TROT Board of Directors voted to pay for the Porta Pot at Morgan Run through the end of the year. Without the TROT sponsorship, this necessary convenience would have been removed since the State would no longer provide it.
GILLIS FALLS TRAILS STILL CLOSED. A reminder that the logging operation is still taking place in Gillis Falls Park and that the trails are still closed until further notice. The Carroll County Equestrian Center remains open, and the show rings are busy.
This is YOUR newsletter...we welcome submissions of any articles and news items that would be of interest to TROT members. Please send all materials to the editor:Debbie Palmer
PO Box 129
Highland, MD 20777-0129
or email to:
Please refer to TROT in the subject line or your email may not be opened.
PLEASE NOTE: The mailing of the newsletter is not done by the editor. Please refer your concerns to the TROT BOARD. Thank you!AD RATES:
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*this rate is based upon the advertiser providing prepared copy for our mailing, including all number of copies.
Gale Monahan, President (301-854-3852)
Tim McGrath, Vice President (1-800-292-3547)
Pat Merson, Secretary (301-898-3251)
Anne Bennof, Treasurer (301-829-0949)
Kathy Dobson (410-747-2015)
Marilyn Miller (301-898-7274)
Jack Monahan (301-854-3852)
Deneen Martin (301-253-2955)
Michelle Beachley (301-482-2526)
Membership: Linda Eminizer
Trail Ride Coordinator: Michelle Beachley (301-482-2526)
Mapping Project: Tim McGrath (1-800-292-3547)
Search & Rescue Team: Suzanne Anderson (301-829-3881)
Archivist: Karen Alexander
Web Page: George and Lisa Graff
Carroll – Anne Bennof
Howard – Gale Monahan
Frederick – Pat Merson
Montgomery – Tim McGrath
Prince George's – Mary Angevine
Horse Tests Positive for RabiesPublic Health Risk Low
Officials Stress Importance of Vaccination for Animals
ANNAPOLIS, MD (July 3, 2003) –– An Anne Arundel County, Maryland horse has tested positive for rabies. The horse, named Coup de Harmony, competed at the East Coast Barrel Bash in Harrington, DE on June 19-21. Public health and veterinary officials feel that because of the specific situation, the risk to human health is minimal. If a horse owner or any other individual has had recent contact with Coup de Harmony they should contact their local health department.
In addition, anyone with a horse that may have come in contact with the infected horse at the event is asked to contact their veterinarian to make sure that the animal's rabies vaccination is up-to-date and to receive a booster if necessary.
"We are conducting a full investigation into the case and have made contact with most of the competitors at the event in Delaware and individuals who may have come in contact with the horse recently. We are reaching out at this time to make sure we did not miss anyone who might have had physical exposure to the rabid horse," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Dr. Phyllis Cassano. "The current situation emphasizes the importance of the rabies vaccine for pets and horses, especially if they are competing or otherwise interacting with other animals and the general public."
Clinical signs of rabies are rarely definitive. The most reliable signs, regardless of species, are behavioral changes and unexplained paralysis. Horses and mules frequently show evidence of distress and extreme agitation. These signs, especially when accompanied by rolling, may be interpreted as evidence of colic. As with other species, horses may bite or strike viciously and, because of size and strength, become unmanageable in a few hours. Such animals frequently suffer self-inflicted wounds (Source: The Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual.com). While these are some clinical signs of rabies, they are no replacement for diagnosis by a licensed veterinarian.
Rabies is transmitted through a bite of a rabid animal. There is a small possibility of indirect transmission through the saliva of a known rabid animal to the eye, nose, mouth or open cut of a person or mammal. The risk of indirect transmission is low. Rabies is a fatal disease but easily preventable with current vaccination. Preventative treatment for rabies is effective in humans but must be started as soon as possible after exposure.
Rabies is present in all Maryland counties. Horses and all pets, including dogs, cats and ferrets, should be kept up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Wildlife, including raccoons, skunks, and bats as well as stray dogs and cats, should not be approached, handled or fed.
"We remind everyone to make sure their animals' rabies vaccinations are current," said Dr. Cassano. Information about rabies is available from your personal physician or veterinarian or online at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies and www.merckvetmanual.com (search for equine rabies).
Fight West Nile...pass this along to all your friends in skeeter land!!!
OK, mosquitoes...prepare to be repelled!!!!!Use Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets...Best thing ever used in Louisiana..just wipe on & go...Great for Babies.
Bob, a fisherman, takes one vitamin B-1 tablet a day April through October .. He said it works. He was right. Hasn't had a mosquito bite in 33 years. Try it. Every one he has talked into trying it works on them. Vitamin B-1( Thiamine Hydrochloride 100 mg).
If you eat bananas, the mosquitoes like you, - something about the banana oils and the way your body processes it. Stop eating bananas for the summer and the mosquitoes will be much less interested.
This is going to floor you, but one of the best insect repellents someone found (who is in the woods every day), is Vick's Vaporub.
Plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in that garden also to help ward off bugs without using insecticides.
"Tough guy" Marines who spend a great deal of time "camping out" say that the very best mosquito repellant you can use is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol.
One of the best natural insect repellants that I've discovered is made from the clear real vanilla. This is the pure Vanilla that is sold in Mexico. It works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don't know about other insects.
When all else fails--get a frog
Please send all ITEMS FOR "INFORMATION EXCHANGE" to the editor @ DSPSFARM@aol.com, or by calling 301/854-9763. And, remember to reference "TROT" in your subject line of your email to be sure it will be opened.
An excellent article ran in July's issue of Equus...about basic rules of etiquette when riding out on the trail. It was a reminder that riders have a responsibility to other riders as well as multi-use users. From trailer parking, clean-up, yielding on the trail and patience to doing your homework before arriving, having control of your horse, alerting others to potential problems, and offering assistance. Call for a copy or for subscription inquiries 1/800-829-5910 or email: Equus@Palmcoastd.com.
MORE GREAT PLACES TO RIDE!
American Bed & Breakfast
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
Pocomoke River State Forest
Potomac-Garrett State Forest
Savage River State Forest
Tuckahoe State Park
River Bottom Trail Riders
Gettysburg Horse Park 717/334-1288
Cook Forest Scenic Trail RideLocated near Allegheny National Forest in beautiful North-Western Pennsylvania
Thousands of acres of majestic forest
Hundreds of crystal clear trout streams
Daily sightings of natures wildlife including deer, turkey, black bear, elk, etc.
300 miles woodland trails
Facilities: nice shaded woodland camping; water and electric hookups; tie stalls; modern restrooms/showers/dressing rooms/rustic cabins; camper trailers for rent; permanent dining and recreation hall; horses for rent; jacuzzi, swimming pool; horseshoes, volleyball, basketball; hiking; canoeing, tubing; live bands; tack auction; nearby antique mall, craft shops, golfing, driving range, miniature golfing, waterslides.
5 day pack trips, organized trail rides, individual horse camping, good trail horses for rent; plentiful "all you can eat" homecooked food; Sunday church services, non-demoninational!; only thing missing is you & your horse. Cook Forest Scenic Trail Ride, Ray & Terri Smith, RD#2Box113 Summerville, PA 15864 814/856-2081 camp: 814/226-5985 May-October
High Country Horse Camp
Trail Riding in the Highlands of VirginiaFull hook ups, 10x10 stalls, buffet meals, new showers, youth camps, horse rentals, blue grass music specials, scenic trails, wild pony herds, direct access to 100 miles of trails, family atmosphere, corporate training, bed&breakfast specials, cool mountain nights, cabins available, 276-388-3992,
6866 Whitetop Rd, Troutdale, VA 24378
email: contact us @ highcountryhorsecamp.com
A study of trailer accidents is being conducted as student research project at Anderson College in South Carolina. They are working with Drs. Rebecca & Tomas Gimenez, Clemson University, who teach the Large Animal Rescue course all over the US, and who are featured on the USRider video that was recently released. They are trying to collect information on the nature of trailer accidents and the types of injuries that are sustained.
All information will be kept confidential. For more information contact: REBGIMENEZ@AOL.COM.
Horse Friends - ACTION ALERT!
The American Horse Council is requesting that we contact our representatives regarding our health insurance coverage. As the MHC Executive Committee is providing the following summary of the issue:
The 1996 HIPAA Law ensures that health insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those individuals who participate in high risk sports (such as riding or skiing).
Problem: several large federal organizations have adopted regulations that would allow insurance companies to exclude coverage to their employees for injuries resulting from participation in legal high risk activities.
Bottom Line: Although equestrians (and other sports enthusiasts) can not be denied health care coverage by law, their sports-related injuries may be excluded from coverage by virtue of regulations.
Question: "How does this affect me? I don't work for one of those federal agencies."
Answer: If allowed to stand, this establishes a dangerous legal precedent that could be duplicated by other federal agencies or the private sector.
Solution: Two bills have been introduced in Congress that would reinstate the original intent of the HIPAA law, which is to ensure coverage of injuries sustained during participation in legal sporting activities. The principal sponsors of these bills are seeking as many co-sponsors as possible.
What you can do:
(Please send MHC copies of any letters you send, or responses you receive).
Please do this today!
Sen. Barbara Mikulski: 202-224-4645 www.mikulski.senate.gov/mailform
Sen. Paul Sarbanes: 202-224-4524 www.sarbanes.senate.gov/mailform
This is Peggy Bree's summary of the Sunday Hunting meeting as submitted by Kathy Dobson, TROT Board of Directors
Those of you who couldn't attend the Sunday Hunting meeting missed an exciting and productive meeting. Dr. Roger Scullin led a lively discussion. It was obvious that he had spent a lot of time and energy researching the issues from both a technical and political perspective. In a nutshell, here's what he proposes:
1) That equestrians take a "proactive" approach by proposing hunting legislation this year.
2) That we split the legislation into 2 separate bills. One addressing "Deer Population Management," and the other addressing "Fair and Equitable Access" to recreation.
3) By taking this action, we will be able us to identify the groups that support and oppose both issues. Hopefully the suburbanites, farmers, and the insurance industry who see "Sunday Hunting" as a way to reduce the damage caused by deer will be attracted to a bill that proposes a more effective method of controlling the deer population. The methods are still to be determined, but several options were discussed.
4) We need to reach out to other groups to gain support for "Fair Use." Many are unaware of the "incidents" when humans and farm animals have been accidentally shot. Hunters say they don't understand why equestrians, bikers, hikers, kayakers, and bird watchers don't feel safe in the woods. Community groups, PTA's, and parents need to be educated about the safety issues of kids playing in parks and back yards during hunting season. Those who hunt for sport can hunt year-round (turkey, dove, squirrel, etc). Why not allow hunting on "even days," and allow others safe use of wooded areas on "odd days?"
Roger wrapped up the evening with a challenge to each of us: Contact at least one other group that has a common interest in "Controlling the Deer Population," or "Fair Use of the Outdoors."
Jefferson National Forest, VirginiaFrom Deborah Sensabaugh
To whom it may concern:
On behalf of the Golden Horseshoe (VA) affiliate of the Back Country Horsemen of America, thank you for this opportunity to comment on and address issues and concerns regarding the Revised Land and Resource Management Plan for various National Forests, including the Jefferson National Forest here in Virginia.
I currently serve as president of the new VA BCHA affiliate, as well as serving on the trail advisory board for the VA Department of Conservation and Recreation, am a long-time horse trails volunteer, a local contact for the Virginia Horse Council trails committee, teach a for-credit beginning horsemanship and trail riding class for Washington and Lee University, have been riding trails for 40 years, and currently working on a book entitled "Ride On, Virginia," which will present public opportunities for horse trail use in the Commonwealth.
Our concerns regarding Standard FW-104 of the proposed revised plan are as follows:
1. Since the Clean Water Act, water quality improvement and preservation have taken the forefront; however, our concern is that the proposal in FW-104 to limit equine use may not be based on available factual data. A University of Colorado faculty study (by Forde, Swinker, Traub-Dargatz and Cheney) concluded, "The low prevalence of Cryptosporidia and Giardia in the trail horse population surveyed indicates that the adult recreational trail horse population is not likely to be a significant source of (C. and G.) environmental contamination in watershed areas." Another paper of findings by professional scientific researcher Adda Quinn concludes, "Horse manure is a solid waste excluded from federal regulation because it neither contains significant amounts of listed hazardous components nor exhibits hazardous properties." In another paper, Quinn says, "Unless there is direct deposition in water, risk of horse urine excreted on trails providing nutrient enrichment to weeds on trails or contaminating streams will be extremely small." Quinn goes on to say that horses stop to urinate, a process that takes time, and before which the animal can be urged on to a non-streamside location by the rider. No scientific data or study implicates horses in trailside or water pollution in urine or fecal contamination. Humans, however, are implicated. In my 40 years of trail riding, I have never known an equine to defecate in a stream (people, yes, horses, no); three times I have observed equines urinating in a stream and twice those equines were ridden by beginners who did not have the skills to push the animal through the stream area before it relaxed and urinated.
2. Our Back Country Horsemen are especially alarmed at what will mean severe limitation and restriction on historic trails that have been used for generations for access to old mountain homesteads, old mail trails, old stagecoach roads and even logging "dinky track" beds. These are used by mounted Appalachian history and culture enthusiasts who would be robbed of an actual participatory experience by being denied access to these old trails. Never have I seen inappropriate or overuse of these areas. These historic users gaze into the past, and meander on. Some of these trails and areas with which I am familiar include Mt Zion/Irish Creek, Dagger Spring, the Jordan iron mining empire that spans several counties, Blue Grass Trail, Nature Camp area, Whetstone Ridge area, Black Horse Gap, Jennings Creek/Gap. The list goes on and on. The pack stock and mounted pioneer efforts opened this area to settlement-- Mad Ann Bailey and her pack string that supplied the frontier settlements, Philip Fithian's historic 1775 trip to the frontier, the efforts of the Lewis family in Army supply during the American Revolution, Washington's frontier forts assignments during the French and Indian Wars-- these folks did not all walk-- I can document that they rode, and rode well indeed. As we have done in their footsteps. Add to that the more recent drover's camps, the iron ore wagons, the mules pulling barges on the James River and Kanawha canal projects. Limiting equine use in these places will kill a part of history that deserves to be protected, used and enjoyed. While on a research project several years ago in Botetourt County, we used horses to access remote areas to gather information about William Wilson's iron industry operation-- furnaces, mines, structures. Under your proposed revisions, mounted access for such journalistic and research projects would be illegal, or would require foot travel from many of us who are unable to do that.
3. Although the reversal of dispersed recreation in favor of concentrated, well constructed and publicized recreational opportunities may, at first glance, be a good solution, in the case of all equine use, this solution would not be the entire answer. Most equine users come from farms and other rural areas. The last thing these users want is to be lumped shoulder to shoulder into overused areas. Several years ago, an AT board member from the Harpers Ferry office explained to me that his "overall spiritual experience on a mountain top was destroyed if he saw me and my horse on that mountain." That works both ways. Many back country stock users value an isolated experience of both personal and environmental discovery. Concentrated trails may be great for the general riding public, but forcing every equine user into that mold would not be any more suitable than telling these hikers where they can and cannot sit and meditate.
4. Many of the trails that would no longer be accessible as designated horse trails (under the proposed revision) are near to people who live on the NF borders. Being able to ride from their farm or neighborhood represents a facility of access that will become more important as the population ages, or as gasoline prices sky rocket. Realtors in our county (Rockbridge) have become rich selling farmettes to equestrians who want access to NF trails. These folks do not constitute overuse-- they are scattered here and there, and because trails are in their neighborhood, they are most ready to volunteer when trail workers are needed.
5. Ten years ago when I helped construct and was the first to through-ride the Glenwood Trail, we were told this trail was intended to help divert the overuse of the Mt. Rogers area. Of course, overused, poorly constructed horse trails are unsightly, dangerously slippery in wet seasons. Over the last 10 years of riding the Glenwood, I've observed dispersed use. And regarding equine use, it does work. It gives more trails, at less construction and maintenance cost. One of my concerns as I score grant applications for DCR every year is not how many new, high-tech trails can be constructed at great taxpayer cost, but what is being done to rehab and maintain what is already there. Trails are already in the NF-- how about working on maintenance rather than the new construction this so on.
6. And let's not leave out the handicapped accessibility. Among the 16 family memberships representing some 40-50 persons in our BCHA affiliate alone, we have several who simply could not access the trails on foot-- age, heart and blood pressure concerns, focal distonia, joint injuries, arthritis. They all enjoy their NF locally, along with the families whose younger children could not keep up on foot.
7. And let's not forget the financial impact. Concentrated equine use, and the mega dollars from trail supplies, groceries, gasoline, hotel and motel, tack shops, etc., that would congregate in a few areas. This would leave out the Mom and Pop country stores whose concentrated use this philosophy will require.
8. We are also concerned about safety issues raised by Standard FW-104. 300 feet? I've had to travel a mile or more out of my way to negotiate a trail blockage without scarring the environment. Under the revision, I'd be breaking the law to do this. Well, just turn around and go back, you may say. But on a linear trail, my rig might be waiting for me at the other end. There would be nothing to go back to.
9. While 300 feet seems a wide space along a trail, if one has pack stock, the grass is not always conveniently growing within a 300-foot radius. When dealing with officials, I'm always asked, "But don't you carry your horse feed with you?" A horse eats from 30 (hay) to 50 (grass) pounds of forage per day. To carry that for my riding horse, I'd have to add a pack mule, who would then need another pack mule to carry his feed, and numerous other trail riders to stock up.
Some of our suggestions for better use of FS lands in regard to equine users:
1. Allow for equine use as it has been for years -- in both concentrated, planned ride and camp areas -- and dispersed areas. This will satisfy the packers, the back country lovers, the historic minded, the weekend riders, and the novice trail riders who want amenities.
2. Don't attempt to fix what isn't broken or even needs fixing. Currently, horses can use all foot travel trails, unless these trails are designated "no horses." We're fine with that. Close the fragile, overused, steep, unsuitable trails to horses on a case by case basis with public review. We can live with that. Don't create a new category of user for us. Horses are compatible with foot travel users.
3. Seek to create relationships with equine users and use these relationships to assess needs of the users, rather than make assumptions about use with no factual support or research.
4. Build a volunteer base among equine users and groups. I watched this base erode locally several years ago when new management policies were put into effect, with no input from volunteers at all. And I see them continue to deteriorate with heavy-handed law enforcement techniques, lack of dialogue, and restrictions that make no sense to users. Will the FS become a Nazi state, with rangers yanking people off horses and arresting them? Knowing the enforcement personnel up here, I can easily envision that happening.
5. Better educational efforts have gone a long way from the days when the local wagon train unloaded their homemade porta-potty into local mountain streams, to now, when riders are ever more conscious of their impact on the environment. The NF needs to use groups like BCHA and others, to help educate equine users about how to take better care of the National Forests.
6. And we can always use better trail marking, better maps and adequate parking areas.
In short, let's maintain what is already there, and make wise use of it so the NF will not be the peoples' most underused resource.Thank you,
Deborah J. Sensabaugh
Horse Trails in the Jefferson National Forest - the other side of the coin!From Nancy J Ross
There has obviously been a considerable amount of misinformation in the horse community regarding the Jefferson Forest Plan, and I wanted to let you know what is really being proposed.
The Proposed Jefferson Forest Plan does not contain a forest-wide standard to limit horse trails to designated roads and trails. We have however, included the following standard in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and the Pine Mountain area on the Clinch Ranger District:
"Allow bicycles, horses, and pack stock only on open and closed roads (unless otherwise posted) and designated trails. Horses and pack stock are allowed immediately adjacent to these trails and roads for the purpose of camping, resting, picnicking, watering, etc. (within a corridor of 300 feet on either side of these designated routes)."
The intent of this standard is not to reduce the numbers of horse trails or equestrian access. To the contrary, we have a Forest Objective (19.02 on page 2-36) to increase hiking, biking, and equestrian trail systems, especially in non-motorized settings with high quality landscapes.
What this new standard is primarily designed to address is folks going cross country, particularly in the open meadows of the Mount Rogers High Country. We have a lot of sensitive soils and plants in the High Country and use in this area continues to grow and grow. The remainder of the Mount Rogers NRA gets a tremendous amount of horse use because, as you pointed out, this area of the Forest has the most horse trails as well as campgrounds and trailheads designed with equestrian use in mind. Likewise, the Pine Mountain area on the Clinch Ranger District receives heavy use and has many sensitive areas.
The rule is NOT meant to close down existing horse trails. The horse trails that are currently open to horses, like the Iron Mountain Trail and Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, will continue to be open and indeed opportunities to increase the numbers of horse trails will be sought.
I hope this helps. Please call me if you have any other questions. I'd also appreciate it if you could disseminate this information to other horse users in Virginia as I have received quite a lot of letters on this subject.Nancy J. Ross
Planning Team Leader
George Washington & Jefferson NFs
Manassas National Battlefield Park Trail Conditions
Summary: Recommend equestrians DO NOT use the trails until they dry out!!!
I have recommended to the Park Superintendent that the trails be closed to all equestrian use. However, he and I both believe that it will take a number of days to implement and we expect better weather to make the trails useable within the foreseeable future. Therefore, we will "count on" the good judgment of all equestrians to dictate they NOT ride the trails until the trails dry out. A contingency plan to address the issue in the future will be looked at.
It is my opinion, that any equestrian who rides upon our Park trails before they have had time to dry out, is being selfish and irresponsible. The Park trail maintenance funding has been seriously cut back so that many repairs and maintenance will NOT get done.................any use of the trails now will most certainly create problems for the area equestrians future use of the Park's trail systemFrank Boberek
President's Highway Proposal Assists Equestrians
President Bush's proposal for new surface transportation programs, known as SAFETEA, contains a section which protects equine access to federal paths. Now is the time for us to comment on this proposed language change so that is does not get amended before being passed. We have been trying to get this policy changed to include equestrian use for quite some time so it is important that we show our support at this critical time. SAFETEA (formerly known as TEA21) is the grant program that funds many trail projects and that comes from the Federal Highway program.
The American Horse Council may provide more detail, as well as sample letters. Amend as you like to reflect the importance of trails to you and send it in. It will only take a few minutes and may help make the difference in money for more trails and trail improvements being available for our use.
If you need the fax or email address for your representative, this is a handy website: http://www.vote-smart.org/official_congress.php. Just put in your zip+4 and it will give you the names and full contact info.
State Parks management has asked me to pass along this information:
The rainy weather has caused many of the trails to become super saturated and either too dangerous or fragile for equestrian and bike use. James River State Park will be closing trails as needed when it is too wet. Please call ahead if you are planning to ride/camp there to check on the trail status. If trails are closed, they will leave a message on the pre-recorded phone message. Others parks may have to start doing the same thing so it is a good idea to check with them as well.
Please consider the damage that is done when you ride on wet trails in all of the facilities, and be conservative in your choices of where to ride until we have drier conditions.Sally Aungier, Va Horse Council
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