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> To: "Carol" 
> From: hikryrdg 
> Subject: OVETS 
> Carol, Here is what I have put together for ridecamp.  If you have any
> changes, corrections, suggestions, let me know. 
>         OVETS
> The Ohio Valley Equestrian Trails Symposium was held  in Louisville Ky., Feb
> 9 and 10.  The list of speakers was impressive.  Subjects covered went from
> the economics of trail use to the perspective of an environmentalist on
> trails in the forest.  There was something for everyone and I think we all
> went home with a better understanding of the issues at hand.
> Dr. Greg Jones certinaly deserves a standing ovation for  putting the entire
> symposium together.  
> I'll try to cover the high spots as I saw it and hope this gives you and
> as to the level of discussion that is taking place regarding our trails.
> The Economics of Trail Riding was presented by Dr. Steve Vicker, and
> economist form the Univeersity of Kentucky.  We now know that enough
> information has been gathered regarding trail use so that the economic
> of new trails or for that matter the elemination of trails can be
> in dollars and cents terms.  Computer models regarding environmental impacts
> have been created at Ohio State University (go Bucks!), and by combining the
> environmental impact and economic impact together, we can arrive at a very
> detailed explanation as to what it means to have trails in an area or a
> community.  All new tools to help us in our struggle to maintain our hold on
> our trails.  A study would cost in the range of $25,000 to $50,000.  That
> sounds like a lot of money but is a small price to pay  if the study shows
> the huge economic impact that can be generated over  a period of years.  
> Each state usually has a Department of Commerce.  It is very important that
> our message of Horse Economics be understood by these folks.  They usually
> operate the Depts. of Tourisim.   Tourism has an economic impact in each
> state.  If your state has lots of trails, and if you have a lot of visitors,
> its important that the Department of Commerece explain the importance of
> keeping trails to their counter parts in the Departments of Natural
> Resources.  In other words, ALL state agencies need to be involved in
> understanding what trails mean to the state.
> On Sunday morning Mr. Jim Demming did a very good job in presenting rails to
> trails issues.  In his slide presentation an intersection of a connectiong
> rail bed and a state highway was shown.  It was dramatic to see what
> at this intersection.  A new bike shop opened up and the other stores on the
> corner were all spiffy, cleaned up and ready for business.  An excelllent
> example of the  economic impact trails can have on a community.  Other
> were of the how to type of view.  I was especially taken by the shots of
> bridge crossings where the bridges were transformed from a rail base to
> wooden platform bases to be used by hikers, bikers and horse folks!  Goes to
> show you what a few dollars can create.  Back here in the east we are
> at some forest trails being closed to trail use from Nov. through March or
> April.  So where are we going to ride in the winter?  Rail beds have
> excellent footing from all the stone placed over the years.  Drainage is
> already in place.  Rails to Trails will help to take some of the pressure
> our existing trail systems. So if you have a rails to trails operation in
> your state, please become involved!

> Now just before the Rails to Trails presentation we had a very interesting
> presentation given by Ms. Allison Cochran of Heartwoods.  The goal of
> Heartwoods is to see that no forestation takes place in our National
> Forests.  The concept of being able to ride in an ancient forest area some
> day(not me I'm too old) but for future generations is an interesting
> concept.  I'm not a forest manager and am not sure if we want our forest
> areas to just go wild.  Old timber growth,  to burn or not to burn, to
> control burn, are all issues that come into play if we do not take the
> timeber out from time to time.  In a way this effects our trails, because a
> lot of our trails are the road beds that were at one time used for logging. 
> Will we be able to keep these old logging roads open for our use?  Ms
> had some interesting slides showing muddy water runoff from a horse trail
> into a river in Missouri.  Through this area in Indiana there were a
> significant number of Buffalo Traces.  I wonder if mother nature ever washed
> muddy water down a Buffalo Trace into a river?  I suspect so.  So whats
> acceptable? 

>  And that takes us to the presentation done by the Back Country Horsemen of
> America.  There is but one word that sums up the efforts of the BCHA.  Its
> stewardship.  If you live in an area where trail maintenance is an on going
> issue, these are the experts at solving the problem.  There is not doubt in
> my mind that we need to form a stong alliance with the BCHA folks when it
> come to working in the field or taking our case before the Forest Service. 
> The BCHA  have their own web page if you are interested in how they approach
> the trail issues with the Forest Service. Their web address is
> <>http://www.backcountryhorse
> .com/resources.htm.  Excellent reading.  A very special thank you should bo
> out to Mylon Filkins D.V.M., who made the trip all the way from
California to
> share with us their experiences with the Forest Service. 

> The Saturday night round table was livley and jam packed with concepts and
> concerns.  Dr. Gene Woods from Clemson made some striking comments.  He goes
> the heart of an issue.  Very straight forward.  One theme he kept repeating
> was our heritage we have and how it evolves around the horse.  Along with
> that concept is of course our rights to our trails.  Strong talk.  A concept
> we need to nuture.
> And later on we had more how to by Sally Unger from Virginia. I think its
> safe to say that the trail riders in Virginia really have it all together. 
> Their approach to trails is a multifaccited approach.  They have managed to
> pull  other state agencies into the planning of new trails other than their
> DNR (Department of Natural Resources).  In 1999 they opened 7 new trails
> through the cooperative efforst of the Va. Horse Council and Individual
> Clubs, VAl Horse Industry Board, Va. State Parks/DCR,  National Battefields,
> Va. State Forests, Va Tourism Corp., Shenandoah National Park, Jefferson &
> George Washington Nationa Forests, Southern States, and the RE& D Council. 
> Its no wonder they are moving right along!  All of the major players are at
> the same table.  That takes a lot of hard work and a lot of political savey
> to put something like this  together.  I expect to see more leadership
> out of Virginia in the future for our trails.  What strikes me is that here
> we have a state right at the back door of Washington D.C., making all kinds
> of inroads with the Nationa Forest Service.  Is it fare to say that the
> farther we get form Washingot D.C. the more difficult the Forest Service is
> to work with?  And if that is the case, then how do we create a better
> working relationship all around the nation?
> Following up right after Sally Unger was Ms. Pat Moore from Indiana.  Pat
> gave us an overview of what it is like to put on a VIP trail ride.  Now 
> what is a VIP trail ride?  Its when you as a state group of trail riders
> decide that one way to engage the system is to throw a big party and trail
> ride for state congressmen, parks managers and other stake holders that have
> input as to what happens with trails in your area.  We found out that it
> takes almost a 1-1 person relationship while the trail ride and dinner is
> going on.  Special rides are made of just a couple riders when they want to
> really bend somes ear.  And for those who don't ride, there are buggy rides
> over some of the trails.  Of course there are pony rides for the kids.  This
> event in Indiana has been and continues to  be a smashing success.  It gets
> all the stakeholders together on one day and lets them find out first hand
> what trail riding is all about.  Family fun is stressed.  Gees, how can
> someone say no to a little kid on a pony, who wants to go out for a trail
> ride?   I think you could take the most mean spirited, breaucrat and melt
> into a hand full of putty when faced with something like that.
> On Sunday we had a presentation by Mr. Clark Collins who is the ex. director
> of the Blue Ribbon Coalition.  High on their priority list is a new "Back
> Country Recreation Area" designation that would be used in wilderness
> This is an effort we should pay close attention to and  in my opinion we
> should consider supporting.  You can find more on the subject at
> <>  This group is focused on
> maintaining their rights to the backcountry.  They believe in multi use
> trails and want to partner up with equestrian organizations such as the AERC
> when the push comes to set in place the new Back Country Recreation Area
> designation.
> This is a very light summary of what took place over the weekend.  We
hope to
> see these types of Symposiums grow around the U.S.  There is a ton of
> knowledge and energy out there to be brough together for our trails on a
> local and national level.  Should the AERC be a player in all of this?  I 
> don't think we have a choice.  And if that is the case, then to what extent
> or what role will we play?  See you at the convention or on the trail..
> Fruth 

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