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Horse Trails are Disappearing

Learn how you can conserve land for horse-related activities, with this bulletin from the Equine Land Conservation Resource.

Farmland, forests, and open space are being developed into residential and commercial developments at a rate of 6,000 acres per day, according to the USDA.

Farmland, forests, and open space are being developed into residential and commercial developments at a rate of 6,000 acres per day, according to the USDA. We need 36 million acres of land just to feed the 9-plus million horses in the United States.

Equestrians are losing trail access on public lands. Liability concerns are limiting your ability to ride on others' private land.

Once the land is gone, we can't get it back. Where will your grandchildren ride, drive, compete, race, raise foals, and grow hay?

Preserving Our Future
The Equine Land Conservation Resource is devoted to saving land for horses. Its mission is to advance the conservation of land for horse-related activity.

By educating horsepeople, and encouraging partnerships with conservationists and other user groups at the local level, the ELCR is mobilizing thousands of equestrians to work for land access and protection in their communities. Without such concerted efforts, the horse world as we know it is at great risk.

The ELCR offers information and resources on the following topics:

  • Land conservation.
  • Community land-use planning.
  • Trail access, connectivity, and shared use.
  • Equine economic development.
  • Land/trail stewardship-management practices.
  • Liability issues.
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Click here for specific information on each of these topics.

Equestrian Partners
The ELCR's Equestrian Partners program is a membership program for equine and conservation organizations.

Equestrians are losing trail access on public lands. Liability concerns are limiting your ability to ride on others’ private land. Photo by William J. Jackson

The 120-member organizations representing more than 1 million equestrians are actively working on equine land conservation in their communities.

Click here to learn more about the ELCR's Equestrian Partners.
Get Involved
Here are seven ways you can get involved.

  • Begin or join a local effort to conserve land for horses in your community.
  • Contact the ELCR to find a member group in your area or find out how to start one.
  • Ask your equine organization to become a member of our Equestrian Partners program.
  • Volunteer to serve as the Land Conservation Chair or Coordinator, and be the liaison with the ELCR.
  • Make plans to conserve your own farm.
  • Join a trail-stewardship crew.
  • Participate in your community's land-use planning and zoning process. Provide input to your community's periodic update of its Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Encourage the inclusion of horse-friendly provisions in your local or state transportation and recreation plans.

Support the ELCR's efforts to raise awareness of the issue, and provide information and guidance to individuals and organizations to conserve horse lands in your community.

It's time for us to hold our ground! For more information on what to do in your community, visitwww.elcr.org.


Horsewoman Deb Balliet is the former chief executive officer of the Equine Land Conservation Resource.

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