Equestrians are seeing an increasing loss of access through trail restrictions, trail closures, and use restrictions. Riders and stock users are being excluded from areas that they have historically traveled through and indeed first opened up. It is a loss of opportunities for riders, families, persons with disabilities, school groups and others. There seems to be a management environment less open to these traditional forms of use. Sometimes restrictions on equestrian use are done intentionally through management plans that reduce, restrict or eliminate horses, horse facilities, camping or grazing restrictions, cross-country travel restrictions or closures. Sometimes the restrictions are indirect though a lack of trail maintenance, or over regulation, or lack of services to the public like facilities that provide saddle and pack animals or parking for horse trailers.
In order to better combat this disturbing trend the AHC is asking equestrians to document examples of trails or entire areas that have been closed to equestrians on federal land (National Forest Service, National Parks Service, and Bureau of Land Management, etc). The AHC is seeking all relevant information concerning these closures such as the reason for the loss of access, details concerning any public process that was involved and the history of equestrian use on the closed trail or area.
The AHC is committed to preserving equine access to public lands. It is very important for these efforts that we have evidence that demonstrates the extent of the problem and the need for action on the part of Congress or the federal land agencies.
The AHC is also interested in examples of attempts to bar equestrian access that have been defeated.
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