- Posted by admin
- On June 30, 2020
- 0 Comments
Call to Action:
Dear Members of the North Carolina Horse Council,
The United States Forest Service in NC is revising their management plan for the Nantahala Pisgah (N/P) Forests and they want to hear from YOU! Our equestrian interests have been represented in several on-going groups (The Partnership & the Forum). All the organizations involved have been discussing how we can get the most of what we want & support each other’s interests. The talking points included in this email are supported by all trail groups involved in these discussions, including the NCHC.
Public comments can be submitted online and are due by June 29th, 2020 (midnight, Eastern time). The Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest contains few designated horse trails at present. Yet the expected “life” of the Forest Plan could be on the order of 15 to 25 years. The time to request focus on planning and building sustainable trail systems is now.
Please consider submitting your comments, using some or all of the recommended talking points below. You can submit comments at:
• Restricting horses to designated trails should happen only after a collaborative trail planning process in the trail complex, with the goal to identify high value routes and bring them into the system and only after targeted Geographic Area milestones to meet need & demand are met.
• Additional horse trail mileage should not be prohibited in Wilderness or Proposed Wilderness.
• Horse camping should be given priority over non equestrian campers in designated equestrian camps.
• OHV/Motorized trail complexes should be open to horses seasonally, when closed to OHVs.
• New trail proposals that have commitment from established volunteer organizations and have been shown to be financially, socially and ecologically sustainable should have no “cap” for mileage.
• A minimum of 20 new trail loop proposals should be considered during the life of the Plan.
• Trail user groups should be notified if streamside mitigation efforts being planned would impact their trails.
• Special Use Permit requests should be granted only after securing a Performance Bond to fix potential damage to the trail system. Permit holders should be required to notify the public at least two weeks in advance of the event of the area (trails & trailheads) that will be involved. A monitoring plan should be enacted by the Forest Service to measure the impact of these events.
Details regarding the Forest Plan revision can be found here, for those who are curious.