March 17, 2010 -- The American Horse Council (AHC) has released its 2009 Report on Equestrian Access on Federal Land. The 2009 report is intended to provide a brief overview of the responses the AHC received from equestrians to its ongoing access survey in 2009. The report can be viewed and downloaded on the AHC's website at www.horsecouncil.org//images/2009 ReportEqAccessFedLand.pdf.
In July of 2009 the American Horse Council launched an effort to collect information regarding equestrian access issues on federal lands. This effort was prompted by a growing concern among recreational riders around the country that they were seeing a reduction in the number of trails and trail heads open to equestrians on federal land.
The center piece of this effort has been an AHC online form riders can use to report their personal experiences regarding trails on federal lands that have been closed to them or other access issues. This online form is located at www.horsecouncil.org/survey.php.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans use horses and pack stock to enjoy America's great outdoors each year. However, it is an experience that cannot be enjoyed without access to public land, trail systems, and trailheads.
"The AHC will use this report to illustrate some of the challenges facing recreational riders," said AHC President Jay Hickey. "Our federal land managers work hard to provide recreational opportunities and we need to make sure they have adequate resource and equestrians need to work with them at all levels. However, sometimes there are issues and conflicts that need to documented and brought to there attention. This report is just one part of our efforts to ensure equestrian continue to have recreational opportunities on federal land.
The AHC asks all recreational riders to visit the AHC website and continue to report any access issues they have had using the electronic form at www.horsecouncil.org/survey.php.