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ELCR joins coalition launching nationwide trail etiquette campaign

Courtesy of ELCR.org

Horses and bikes finding Common Ground on the trails. (ELCR.org photo)

Any recreational trail user will tell you there are more people on the trails than ever before. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, automated counters at trail systems around the country recorded four times as many users compared to the same time frame in 2019.

Trails certainly represent a complex ecosystem with lots of moving parts: people and animals moving in different directions, in lots of different ways for lots of different reasons.

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to expand at an exponential rate and the growing concern among equestrian trail users, the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR.org) recently joined an unprecedented consortium of advocacy groups, brands, media outlets, and ambassadors that have come together to create the national public awareness campaign “Trails are Common Ground” which elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails.

Advocacy groups and industry leaders began collaborating last February to discuss the need for this campaign. The coalition shaped the campaign to reinforce the many local, regional, and user-specific trail respect programs in existence by promoting kindness and awareness while elevating the work of these programs. The coalition members represent all manner of activities that take place in the dirt, including hiking, trail running, equestrian, mountain biking, and motorized singletrack with both ELCR and Backcountry Horsemen of American representing the equestrian trail community.

As diverse trail use increases, equestrians’ role in the nationwide “Trails Are Common Ground Campaign” is large. (High Country News photo)

“ELCR was pleased to join with one of our partner organizations, Backcountry Horsemen of America, to represent the equestrian trail community in this important nationwide initiative,” said ELCR Executive Director Holley Groshek. “We look forward to working with the equine trail community across the country to embrace the campaign aimed at ensuring the trail experience is welcoming, safe, inclusive and enjoyable for all trail users.”

More than 15 meetings have taken place with input from more than 20 organizations, as well as outdoor industry brands, land managers, representatives with BIPOC communities, and adaptive trail users.

The organizations partnering on Trails Are Common Ground include American Motorcyclist Association, American Trail Running Association, American Trails, Back Country Horsemen of America, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Equine Land Conservation Resource, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Latino Outdoors, NavajoYES, PeopleforBikes, Teton Adaptive Sports, Tread Lightly!, US Trail Running Conference, Vermont Mountain Bike Association, and Washington Trails Association, among many more partners.

Equestrian trail users across the country are invited to support the Trails Are Common Ground campaign.

The campaign includes a website, social media, and creative assets that can be shared and personalized by brands, nonprofits, content creators, and all passionate trail users who want to rise together to share the message of Trails Are Common Ground. To find out more, visit www.trailsarecommonground.org and follow the campaign on Instagram and Facebook @trailsarecommonground. All trail users and trail organizations are invited to participate and support this important nationwide initiative. Questions about the TaCG campaign may be directed to ELCR Executive Director Holley Groshek by emailing hgroshek@elcr.org.

More online: http://bit.ly/111elcr

New article: Leading the Way by Jennifer M. Keeler for ELCR

With exploding population growth in their region, the members of Back Country Horsemen First Coast (BCHFC) are working to preserve trail access for future generations of equestrians in northeast Florida. Local equine organizations like BCHFC are key to keeping land open and accessible to horses, and their story can be an inspiration to horsemen and women in other communities, encouraging them to work together to protect endangered horse lands and protect access for future generations. Read the article at https://elcr.org/leading-the-way

New webinar recording and article: Sustainable Equine Management Webinar and Resource Sheet

ELCR partnered with the Daily Acts organization to host a Sustainable Equine Management webinar featuring the director of Horses for Clean Water, along with representatives from several regional conservation organizations.View the recorded webinar at https://dailyacts.org/2021/03/06/sustainableequinemanagement and the accompanying resource sheet at https://elcr.org/sustainable-equine-man-agement-resource-sheet

New article: What Equestrians Need to Know About the USDA 10-Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge

Equine access to public land is vitally important, and with over 100,000 miles of trails there is no shortage of outdoor space to enjoy, but unfortunately, it has become a challenge to maintain. Read how the U.S. Forest Service has planned to care for and preserve these trails, and how you can help support.Read article at https://elcr.org/what-equestrians-need-to-know-about-the-usda-10-year-trail-shared-stewardship-challenge

New webinar recording: Current and Future Trends in Equestrian Trails

This webinar, hosted by American Trails, focuses on trending equestrian trails’ topics with information presented by ELCR, MIG, INC, Sustainable Stables, USDA Forest Service, and Hancock Resources LLC. You will learn more about conserving equestrian trails resources, community engagement and inclusion in trail planning, equestrian trails sustainability and new technologies. View the webinar at https://elcr.org/webinar-recording-current-and-future-trends-in-equestrian-trails

New webinar recording: Great American Outdoors Act

Now that the Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act of 2020 has been signed into law, it is helping prioritize deferred maintenance projects, including trails and land conservation projects, thereby addressing two of the horse industry’s top legislative priorities. This webinar, hosted by the American Horse Council in partnership with ELCR and Back Country Horsemen of America, focuses on the GAO Act and features guest speakers from the National Park Service and National Forest Service. View the webinar at https://bit.ly/3fm0M7Y

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