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Horse Trails Symposium Summary

First, I want to thank all you ridecampers who contributed to my
education by sending me to the Nat'l Symposium on Horse Trails in Forest
Ecosystems.  It turned out to be very pro-horse and many of the speakers
(although they represented other organizations) were horse owners and
trail riders. The theme of the symposium was partnership-both with other
trail user groups and with the land managers.  We heard several land
managers speak - including the ex-chief of the Forest Service- who
explained the conflicts land managers face and how they prefer to be
treated (with respect).  It was suggested that all the trail user groups
unite to help participate in forest service planning and volunteer to
maintain  (or put in) trails and sit on the advisory council.  All the
speakers stressed the reality that we must share the trails since the
land available to us is shrinking!  

My personal conviction was that I need to join a local horse group that
is active in working on trails and volunteer some labor.  It is important
that all the labor we do is documented so the land manager knows we care!
 I also will now stop and pick up trash on a trail instead of trotting
by...trash pick up is everybody's responsibility.  Also, trail etiquette
became very important to me.  On a trail shared by hikers/day walkers
that I frequent I will now make my horse walk past a walker instead of
trotting by- a good first impression is a lasting impression!

I have some great materials from the symposium: a US Forest Service Trail
Construction and Maintenance notebook; Horse Camp Planning; and, the most
valuable to me right now: a publication for OHV (off highway vehicles)
riders called the Blue Ribbon Magazine (in which is an article on
Equestrians and OHV's: can't we share?)  there is a listing of ALL the
states Senators and Congressmen and how often they voted to support
private land rights and land access issues.  This info will certainly
help me vote in Nov.!  

Thanks again for the experience- and lets all remember we need to share
the trails and the beauty that belongs to all of us!       Betsy Gilman

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