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[RC] Help save the BigHorn ride - Teresa Vanhove

Now that Tevis has finished up could I request letters to the FS to re-open the Adelaide trail to the Big Horn 100 ride. I've got BigHorn fever after doing the 50 this year; but I'd hate to ask Shade to do it with the alternate trail they had in 2006 --I rode the first part of the ride with some of the 100's that were OT and they/we were not piddling around; taking reasonable grass and water breaks to keep the equines going strong, but always getting back to business after a few minutes. And I've personal experience with how top notch some of the 8 that finished in time are.

Even if you never expect to do this ride, I hope you'll lobby the FS; on the general principle that its always a bad thing to let them take away our trails.

Heres the link to page with the FS contact info:


And here is the letter I'll be sending (its personalized and I'm sure many of you are better writers anyway so don't copy it but I find its helpful to me to have an example to work off for things like this and am including it for others who also happen to work better off an example than starting cold)

Thanks in advance,

Bill Bass
Big Horn Forest Supervisor
2013 Eastside 2nd Street
Sheridan WY, 82801

Dear Mr. Bass,

I am writing to urge you and district ranger Dave Sisk to allow the Big Horn 100 endurance ride to resume using the Adelaide trail section.

While I'm aware that organized competitions are not generally allowed in wilderness areas I believe this is mainly due to concerns that ogranizers might go in with motorized vehicles to support the event. But the nature of endurance riding is such that marking and unmarking course is best accomplished on horseback anyway; endurance riders tend to travel in pairs or small groups of 3-4 so if a rider had difficulties on this trail section other entrants would be able to offer assistance and help them get to Adelaide lake, and if management did need to go in they would hike in or go in on horseback.

Plus there is historical precedent with the Western states Trail Ride , more commonly known as the Tevis 100 mile endurance ride and the Granite chief wilderness area for endurance rides that pre-date designation of an area as wilderness to be allowed to continue to cross the wilderness area; the Big Horn ride has been going since 1971.

I believe that you can always use more public support for national forest and wilderness areas. The Big Horn endurance ride brings folks that would otherwise not travel to the area into contact with the Cloud Peak wilderness as well as the Big Horn national forest; many of them have published accts of how beautiful the trail is on widely read internet forums. I personally know of riders that came from Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Virginia, Minnesota as well as Wyoming and the adjoining states to enter the Big Horn endurance event in 2006.
The ride has a large positive impact on the local economy, most entrants will take a few days to a week or so for the ride, and bring family and friends to support them on the ride day. The influx of people and horses is a boon to local restaurants, gas stations, hotels, grocery stores, feed and horse supply stores and other tourist destinations in the regional vicinity of the ride.

But in 2006, with the ride skirting the wilderness area it was too long and too arduous for many horse and rider teams to complete safely in 24 hours, only 33% of the teams were able to complete in time. I feel that is unlikely that the ride can continue as a viable event without being able to use the Adelaide trail to connect between the ranger creek and Adelaide lake trail points.

I do have a personal interest in having the adelaide trail re-opened; riding the first half of the original Big Horn 100 trail as an entrant in the 2006 50 mile event has created a desire to come back and experience the full 100 miles of trails by entering the Big Horn 100. I believe my mare can do this event as it was run in past years, however I would not like to ask her to do the 2006 course. The horses that finished that course in time were elite endurance athletes who are normally finishing in 5th through 1st place at endurance rides. My mare is a solid endurance completion horse, but we do not ride that fast.