2016 State Trail Advocate Reports


Gordon Morrow AERC Alabama State Trail Advocate

Made contact with local BCHA and gave my card to our past Governor Bob Riley who is a horseman. I accepted the position this year. Looking forward to meeting you and learning more at the convention.



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Bill Bohannan AERC Arizona State Trail Advocate

Arizona has 3 on going trail issues.

1.  Fossil Creek in the Tonto National Forest.  A new public planning process for a Wild and Scenic River plan for Fossil Creek is underway.  Background:  Fossil Creek is in a remote area and a lot of the water was historically diverted into an elevated pipe that fed a hydro electric plant on the Verde River.  The utility shut down the plant some time ago.  The pipe had leaked for years and provided grass and crazing for cattle and wild life.  There has been a historic trail that followed the creek probably even before the plant was constructed, but after it was built, the trail and in places jeep road provided access for maintenance.  The Forest Service removed the pipe a few years ago.  With the all the water back in the creek, the environment changed significantly.  It started attracting more hikers, bikers, ATV’s and jeeps.  The added activity created trash and a negative impact on the environment which got the attention of the Forrest Service.  This is a long (about 18 miles oneway) beautiful ride.  The issue for equestrian use is that part of the proposed plan would limit or eliminate equine access to the water.  We’re working to get adequate access to water for horses due to the high desert environment that the creek is located in.


2.  Pinal County has created a “Draft Alternative” for the Palo Verde Park near Maricopa.  This is a BLM area that has been used by both Off Road Vehicles and Horseback Riders.  Pinal County is proposing a park to control usage for environmental reasons.  There is opposition to any Park and strong support for only vehicle usage and no equine usage.  So, we’re monitoring the process and hope to include equine usage if a park is formed.


3.  Friends of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas.  There is a proposed Strip mine near the base of Mt Wrightson south of Tucson.  It would force the relocation of the Arizona Trail and eliminate a number of trails used by the AERC Old Pueblo rides.  There is strong opposition not only from trail users, but environmental groups as well.  But, the mine owner has lots of resources and momentum.  At this point it appears a number of agencies will not issue a 404 Clean Water Permit.


I coordinate and try to involve most of my actions with BCH.  I’ve been the AERC Trails Coordinator for a number of years.  I’m now spending half my time in Colorado.  If someone who is in Arizona full time and will at least make the effort I have wants to take my place, I’m more than happy to step aside.



Russell Broussard AERC Arkansas State Trail Advocate

To celebrate the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service the Buffalo National River Back Country Horseman of America Rode the 133 miles of trails along the Buffalo River.  After months of planning, scouting and grooming trails the ride started on October 15, 2016 at the Hathaway Horse Camp on the lower Buffalo and ended on October 25, 2016 at Ponca on the upper end of the river.


On January 20 &  21, 2017,  15 AERC members were hosted by Shawn & Holly McCarthy’s at their ranch east of Fayetteville Arkansas.  Trail riding and clearing were done to trails to be used for ride in late 2017 or early 2018.  This was held on very nice trails on 2 private properties on the north side and another on the south side.


Linda Dollar an AERC member from Oklahoma is holding her 3rd year ride at Idle Nook Campground in Arkansas on private land and using trails on Quachita National Forest and Fourche Mountain Trails.



Robert Sydnor AERC California State Trail Advocate

see attached reports



Carla Richardson AERC Colorado State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Roxanne Winslow AERC Connecticut State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Truman Prevatt AERC Florida State Trail Advocate

see attached reports



Meredith Evans AERC Georgia State Trail Advocate

I accepted this position in October, 2016. In the following months, I informed SE and members at large of the AERC of trail workdays and opportunities to make our voices heard on various local trail issues, including workdays and meetings for proposed trail development and use. I networked via email and in person with members of the Friends of Garland Mountain and the Backcountry Horseman chapter in my area to promote the use of horse friendly trails.


In 2017, I hope to continue to provide information to the AERC community by keeping in touch with local trail issues and opportunities to increase the amount of trails available, not just for endurance riders, but for all equine trail enthusiasts.



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Steph Teeter AERC Idaho State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Kathy Torgesen AERC Illinois State Trail Advocate

I became the Illinois trail advocate the end of October 2016. I have been speaking with a person that is working to get a group organized to work on the River to River trail here is Southern Illinois.



Sue Kieth AERC Indian State Trail Advocate

I have been involved with trail preservation and lobbying to keeping equestrian trails open over some 20 years in my state and a State Trails Advocate for AERC for many years.


I have membership in and attend meetings in Indiana Trail Ride Association, Hoosier Back Country Horseman I’m also a member in American Back Country Horseman . I am one of the co- creators of a new trail preservation group Friends of Clark/Deam Lake Trails.


In July 2016 I attended the National Equestrian Trail Conference and the Clark/Deam Lake State Forest open house speaking to DNR property managers with concerns on horse trail erosion and some solutions for repair.


Met with Clark/Deam Lake Forest property management with a plan to harden four creek crossings on the Dry Fork loop. Which was approved.


Worked with the other AERC Midwest director Connie Caudill to obtain a AERC Trails Grant and a Grant from AQHA Step Grant for funding the Dry Fork loop project.


Worked the work days on hardening the creek crossing and helped hand dig some rolling water bars on a hill leading to creek on the Dry Fork loop project.


This is a summary on what has been going on in Indiana.

Indiana Horse Council’s economic impact report of the Horse industry in Indiana. The Horse industry produces $779 million in goods and services, with 90,000 people are involved in the horse industry as owners, service producers, employees, and volunteers. Indiana has 8,400 full time jobs 203,000 horses with 80% are involved in showing


and recreation with 105,695 horses are used for recreation. There 600 miles of horse trails.


Indiana has very active trail preservation organizations ,volunteers from these organizations help keep the trails clean and are involved in lobbying for trail preservation, and keeping the trails open for equestrian use.


Indiana Trail Ride Association is involved on the local, state, and national levels striving to promote and improve trails and campgrounds. They always have a booth at the Indiana Horse Fair this April 2016 during the fair Governor Mike Pence stopped by the booth. After listening about some of the problems with backlogged maintenance on horse trails. He said he would like to go and ride some of the trails. In June he did trail ride with the ITRA members at Brown County State Park. Governor Pence also give them a name of a member of his cabinet for any concerns that they might have.


In 2016 ITRA member volunteers had trail work days, campground clean up days in O Bannon, Clark State, Brown Country, Deam Lake, Salamonie, Tippecanoe, Strawtown Kotewi, Potato Creek ,Green Sullivan, Owen Putman State parks.


Last year a new horse campgrounds was open in Versailles State Park. This project was started in 2011 with many hours in meetings and volunteer work to get completed.


Hoosier Back Country Horseman mainly maintain trails in the Hoosier National Forest. They had work days repairing trails on the Hickory Ridge Trail System and Deam Wilderness Area. They work very hard to maintain a working relationship with the US Forest Service rangers and property manager and the trails show this.


They lobbied US Sen. Joe Donnelly for his support for The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. A thank you letter was sent to Sen Donnelly for his support on getting this important legislation passed in law.


Indiana Trail Ride Association , Daniel Boone Distance Riders, Pekin Saddle Club , Scott Co Saddle club co -sponsors and The Friends of Clark/ Deam Lake Trails had their second fundraiser in November. We had a great turn out with donations and profits from a silent auction $2186.00 was put with the $750.00 from 2015 fundraiser into the DNR Foundation earmarked for Clark/ Deam Lake Trails.


ITRA also held two trail fundraisers for O Bannon State Park.



Connie Hoge AERC Iowa State Trail Advocate


I accepted the position of Trail Advocate for Iowa October 25th of 2016.  We had moved to Iowa from Washington State just a week prior.   Iowa is my native state, but having been here such a short time, the list is long – of what I need to accomplish this coming year.


First, I hope to work to promote equestrians on the Wabash Trace Trail.  At the current time, Equestrians are limited to a ten-mile section.  I want to find out why & if it’s possible to increase the distance that’s available to horses.  New friends in Glenwood, have given me the contact information for the bike representative that is actively involved with trails in this area.  I will contact him & to see if there is a group of volunteers, like those of the Centennial Trail Coalition in Snohomish County, WA – who meet to discuss trail issues & work to expand local trails.  (As Chairman of the Coalition for 2016, I was heavily involved in the planning phases of the Whitehorse Trail from Arlington, WA to Darrington, WA.  The County was very supportive of trail expansions & equestrian use on those trails.)  I’m told that the lower numbers of equestrians in Iowa have made lobbying efforts less than effective.


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources manages Waubonsie State Park in Hamburg, Iowa.  I will contact them & get in the loop regarding this very nice riding & camping area.  An endurance friend from WA who relocated to Iowa, has been very forthright regarding the lack of endurance opportunities here in the Midwest region.   We plan to get together & discuss the reasons for this & what if anything can be done to improve riding opportunities.


I’ve accepted the position as President for the Southwest Chapter of the newly formed Back Country Horsemen of Iowa.  This will give me the chance to not only promote BCH, but also network with riders familiar with the trail issues within the state.


Thank you for the opportunity to promote the AERC & work as your trail advocate!  I’m looking forward to “finding” trails, expanding trails & meeting as many like-minded riders as possible!



Monica Chapman AERC Kansas State Trail Advocate
Background on AERC in the state of Kansas.


The state of Kansas averages around 40 AERC members which about 60% compete in at least one ride a year.  Geographically the state is fairly large with the majority of the membership living in the eastern 1/3 of the state.  Horse trails in Kansas are predominately Rails to Trails or trails around man made reservoirs.  The state is a very fertile state which most property is used for growing crops, cattle ranches, or growing hay.


With Kansas having few AERC members it is imperative for AERC to team up with other user groups.  As AERC state trail advocate I forward trail work day information to Kansas AERC members by email blasts whenever BCHA, NATRC,  MOTDRA, Kansas Horse Council, or AERC members contact me with work day information.

I have been appointed to the Kansas Horse Council trails committee.  I have also joined the Kansas Trails Council which is a multi trail user group organization.


I am a member of Back Country Horsemen of America Kansas Chapter and have done numerous trail work days, donated equipment time, worked their booth at Equifest of Kansas, and planned fund raisers for BCHA.


As AERC Trails and Land Management Committee Chair I donate on average 15 hours a week in time running the committee.  I have also donated time traveling to Washington DC twice last year for meetings with federal land managers and congressmen promoting our organization and legislation beneficial to equine trail users.  I also traveled to North Carolina for the National Equestrian Trails Conference.



Greg Jones AERC State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Miranda Bibb AERC Louisiana State Trail Advocate

Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe this almost slipped my mind.  I’m sorry.

So my report is fairly meager.  With flood cleanup still going on and other various things, I have been unable to meet with anyone that I had wanted.

I did make contact with a local BREC park in Amite, LA, called Bogue Chitto and we are planning a trails maintenance day with local equestrian riders.  I hope to be able to meet with them more and hopefully we can push for the allowance of more trails on the property.


I have sent my business card with a letter out to a few land holders nearby and parks that are not in my area.  One is in Gloster, Mississippi, called Brushy Creek Guest Ranch. They are close enough that they are used often by many local Louisiana riders.  We are looking into holding an endurance ride there next year.


Other than that, there is not much to report.  I wish we had more trails access here, but this whole state is set up more for hunting and fishing…it’s a sad reality and the various larger land holdings are owned/rented by hunt clubs which makes it near impossible for us to gain access to.



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Pat Oliva AERC Maryland State Trail Advocate

This will be a estimate of my year as I did not keep records.


I am also a member of TROT, (see closed pamplet) founding member, on their Board and Howard county coordinator.  I do most of my work  by combining both organization.


January ?  Went to Annapolis to meet with state representatives, along with the Maryland Horse Council for an all-day meeting of trail and horse industry matters –     9hrs

All of 2015 and until April was on the advisory committee for trails on the Frederick watershed.  Jan-March    –    30hrs

Attended multi meeting with the Howard county board of directors on trails and zoning problems for horse people.   I am guessing these hours on the low scale since I did not keep records    –      20hrs

Met delegates in Annapolis on Sunday hunting bill twice      –      5hrs

Met with Howard county Parks and Rec on connecting trails through the county to different park systems    –   2hrs



Christie Lawyer AERC Massachusetts State Trail Advocate

I was added as a trail Rep in the fall, I am not sure of the date. I apologize for my tardy response.

My report would say that I am networking with several equestrian clubs in the state in preparation for the new endurance ride I will manage October 29, 2017. There was an endurance ride in 2003 but nothing since then.


Our new DCR commissioner is an equestrian and very interested in highlighting Myles Standish State Forest in southeastern ma as the most equestrian friendly forest in the state as its predominantly sandy soil and size, 15,000 acres make it the largest  forest in the state.


Major trail work is proposed as well as application for a trail grant once we can be specific. I will be taking the AERC Trail Master course in April in anticipation of filing the grant for work in the state forest.


I have become a board member and trail committee member of the friends group for Myles Standish State Forest, where the ride will be staged. I guess I could sum things up to say that I am getting ready to get ready if that makes any sense. My focus has been to find out who is who and who’s on first!


People make things happen in my mind anyway. Just this week there was an incident where an equestrian was injured when her horse was spooked by an illegal dirt biker- a repeat offender know to speed by equestrians on a regular basis. Dirt biking is not allowed in this state forest. Even though a Park Watch has consistently been notified. The Friends group will now get involved by bringing in the forest manager and his supervisor as this situation needs resolution.


For the future my thought is to split my position into eastern and western. I am in the eastern heavily populated section of the state and an AERC friend of mine lives in the sparsely populated western half of the state, where equestrian access issues are heating up.



Becke Grams AERC Michigan State Trail Advocate

Not much for 2016, just monitor what others are doing and informing AERC.  We have a lot of organizations working on trail maintenance and formation.



Candy Barbo AERC Minnesota State Trail Advocate

Our trail organization is newly formed in the last 4 years. We have had to form a 501.3 c non profit, elect officers, and form a membership. We had the city approach us and have had to make ourselves known to the trail revitalization plan that our city is now organizing. It has had its ups and downs and pros and cons of working with city government. We had a city official that was anti horse/pro bikes so it’s been a struggle so after a few years of trying and going backwards (she closed all horse trails in the city) we had to go to the city council and present our plan. It worked (she no longer works for the city). We are now in the process of applying for grants for Phase 1 of our 25 mile plan.  There are 8 miles of designated horse only in Phase 1, about 5 miles of multi use in Phase 2 to connect to Phase 3 which is just designated for horses in a state park. We had a successful fundraiser this fall and raised about $9,000 minus expenses of 3,000. We have joined Mn Horse Council, Mn Trail Riders, and Back Country Horseman. We are small and starting out but will stick to it until we can expand outside of the city.



Lisa Guiffrida AERC Missouri State Trail Advocate


I am not a good advocate. I worked on trails a couple of times this year but nothing much. I do plan to be more proactive in 2017 and am attending a Trail Master course in Illinois and am trying to get a meeting with the new director of the MO conservation dept to see what we can do about getting trails in some conservation areas.


I’m sorry I’ve not been very good. I’ve been the state advocate for a long time but have nothing to show for it.



Julie Muscutt

No report submitted



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Tami Rouge AERC Nevada State Trail Advocate

No report submitted

Claire Toomey AERC Nevada State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Ruth Ferland AERC New Hampshire State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Donna Curtain Smith AERC New Jersey State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Deirdre Monroe AERC New Mexico State Trail Advocate

I was selected September 9, 2016 as the NM State Trails Advocate. Since that time, I have attended multiple meetings with the Forest Service (Española Ranger District), BLM, Santa Fe County Trail Advisory group, local mountain bike riders, New Mexico Horse Council, Back Country Horsemen, and Northern New Mexico Horsemen. I also participate in the Los Alamos National Laboratory Trails Working Group. At those meetings I provide information about AERC, endurance riders and their involvement in trails (as well as competition), and build bridges with other trail user groups.


•           At this time, I am primarily focussed on northern New Mexico but have discussed this with our SW Region District Representative, Roger Taylor, who feels that this is just fine.


•           I maintain a “Friends of the Caja del Rio” Facebook page to disseminate information and build participation in the Caja portion of the Santa Fe National Forest.


•           I keep abreast of and post information about local issues, RTP grants, and trail design and planning as well as trail conditions and issues in part of our local national forest (especially the Caja del Rio portion of the Santa Fe National Forest).

•           In September I ghosted a 37-page RTP grant proposal for the Caja del Rio; this is likely to be submitted for the next (2018) RTP call for proposals. The Forest Service has (and this was awfully nice) called me a “power volunteer.”


•           I have developed a statistical analysis of 2014 AERC ride results to identify, by region, trends in growth, etc. The article will be published in Endurance News, probably in April.


•           My name was submitted for the Santa Fe County Open Space Land and Trails Committee, an advisory group on planning and building local Santa Fe trails. Although not selected, this has led to better connection with multiple other local horse groups, such as the Santa fe Horse Council.


•           I am a member of the Rio Grande Trail Commission’s “Alignment Working Group.” The Rio Grande Commission has been funded by New Mexico to begin planning and identification of portions of a State-wide Rio Grande Trail. An RFP has been released. There is good local support for Caja del Rio trails to become a segment of this trail in the Santa Fe area. Potential contractors are required to assess different potential trail locations; I have supplied a map of Caja del Rio trails to ensure contractors are aware of the trail network that is already established and that is located on Federally-managed lands. I believe that our trail mapping efforts (Caja del Rio map, 2014) will be key in ensuring that the Caja becomes a portion of this trail.


•           Portions of the Caja del Rio (trails and trailhead) are being incorporated into the El Camino Real de Tierra de Adentro National Historical Trail. This trail will connect Santa Fe with the Rio Grande along the historical Camino Real. The Caja trailhead was developed through a 2007 RTP grant and with AERC volunteer participation.


•           The big project: I am also working with the local BCH chapter (as well as other horse groups and seach-and-rescue organizations) to conduct a trail validation effort next summer in the San Pedro Wilderness and surrounding Forest lands. Trail locations in this area are notoriously out of date and it is more than a little easy to get thoroughly lost. I will be the lead in this effort as far as organization, gathering GPX trail files and sharing this with both the BCH and the Española Ranger District, which has been given a mandate to verify and validate their trail locations. The FS is delighted that we can assist in this effort and has already shared gpxtrail files with me. I am already building a draft, working map to be used in our field mapping efforts. Our deliverable will be updated gpx files for the Forest Service and a report on trail conditions with notes on safety hazards and recommendations for prioritized field improvement.



Holly Bailey AERC New York State Trail Advocate

No real action from New York State this year. Alex U and I corresponded briefly about our group running a Trail Master course, and I received a preliminary okay from the Finger Lakes National Forest. Then it turned out that a course had been announced for Pennsylvania this year.

We will reconsider this for spring 2018.



Mike Everett AERC North Carolina State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Angie Mikkelson North Dakota State Trail Advocate

Ann – I accepted the position as ND State Trail Advocate in November of 2016.  In 2016 I joined the BackCountry Horsemen of North Dakota,  the Maah Daah Hey Trail Association and Save the Maah Daah Hey organizations to help fund and participate in trail maintenance and improvements across ND.   I promoted the Maah Daah Hey trail (our largest trail system) by putting on a 25 and 50 mile endurance ride which earned money to go towards these organizations.  I also helped support the 100 mile mountain bike race that is held there in August, proceeds to this race are designated towards these organizations.  Recently I wrote an article for Endurance News expressing the need for all trail users to come together as one to promote our trails, maintain and improve them, specifically I have worked with the mountain biking community here to develop a good working relationship between them and horseback riders so we all can benefit from one another’s trail efforts.



Mollie Krumlaw-Smith AERC Ohio State Trail Advocate

No report submitted


Ann McFarland AERC Oklahoma State Trail Advocate

I have been an active member with AERC since 1999, currently serving on the AERC Trails and Land Management Committee, AERC Trail Master, AERC State Trail Advocate Coordinator and the AERC Oklahoma State Trail Advocate.


As the AERC State Trail Advocate Coordinator most of my volunteer time for 2016 has been spent attempting to fill the position of AERC State Trail Advocate for each state.


Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association has been an active advocate for equestrian trails in Oklahoma since 1975.  I have been a member since 1995, previously served on the board and currently serving as the OETRA Trail  Ambassador for Prague Lake.  I met with the OETRA board in September regarding a Rails to Trails Project.  I am currently working on a report listing what information is available on the Rails to Trails in Oklahoma.


Oklahoma does not have a Back Country Horseman chapter at this time but this is on my list for 2017.



Carol Crawford AERC Oregon State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Jim Theurer AERC Pennsylvania State Trail Advocate

I had one request during the year. I was asked to check on the Industrial Heartland Trails to see if horses were going to be allowed. This network connects major population areas in western PA. OH and WV.  This trail is in the planning stages and initial construction. But it is a rails to trails trail and restricted to hikers and bikers, no horses allowed. I have signed up on their Webb page to get reports and meeting dates just in case something might come up that I could advocate for equestrian use.


I do continue to work for equestrian use of trails in my local area as Chairman of Friends of Weiser State Forest. When DCNR asked me to help form this Friends Group several years ago the mountain bikers were trying to limit our use of some trails. But since forming the group we have developed a good rapport with the mountain bikers. We are all working towards the same goal, keeping the trails open for everyone. This past year we worked together to complete construction of a new trail along with several other projects. We have also purchased hi-line poles and fire rings for two equestrian camp sites that will be completed in the spring. Four more are in the plans. Our State Forest has been voted the 2017 PA Forest of the year.


In addition I am planning an endurance ride this year in PA. We haven’t had one in PA for several years.



Roxanne Winslow AERC Rhode Island State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Vance Stine AERC South Carolina State Trail Advocate

We have a new trail that has been added at Kings Mountain State Park in Blacksburg, SC.  This 17 mile trail was built and paid for by volunteers and members of the Friends of Kings Mountain State Park.  It is called the CCC Loop Trail, and was made possible by preserving entrance markers to the CCC Camps that built Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park in the late 1930s.  This trail did not cost the state of South Carolina anything.  The volunteer group also hopes to enlarge and put in power and water to the equestrian campground, which is currently all primitive.  Because of the addition of this new trail, we are able to put on an endurance ride at this location, and hope to make it an annual event.  It is the Take No Prisoners ride which will be held on March 4th, 2017.  Tim Worden and myself will manage the ride.  There has also been equestrian trail work done at Woods Ferry Recreation Area in Union, SC.  Woods Ferry is part of the Sumter National Forest, located along the Broad River, and is a great place to ride. Currently there are 6 endurance rides per year held in South Carolina. Established contact with National Park Service in Feb. 2017 to be included in the park  planning process for equestrian trails.



Kerry Greear AERC South Dakota State Trails Advocate

I have not had an opportunity to do anything in eastern SD yet.

In the Black Hills of South Dakota, we have a few things going on:

1.  Black Hills Trails, which was originally formed to build/promote/rebuild trails in the Sturgis area has expanded.  Because of Black Hills Trails success in working with BLM, FS, volunteer groups as well as the GFP and City of Sturgis, two other trail groups are now under their banner.  One group is a mountain biking/hiking group based in the Rapid City area and has worked on trails and trails issues south of Rapid City as well.  The other group is a mountain biking and hiking group based in the Spearfish area.  My son is one of the founding members of Black Hills Trails and is on the BOD.  Any trails that are built or changed will be open to horses unless there is a specific reason…..for example, one trail on M Hill out of Rapid City.  Our Black Hills BCH group along with Black Hills Trails is planning another bike/horse event for educational purposes this spring.  There will be various opportunities for volunteers to work on trails, attend meetings and participate in events.  We work with the local Volksmarch groups to utilize trails we have worked on.  The Ft. Meade Remount endurance ride will utilize trails built, rebuilt and signed by the Black Hills Trails group with the BLM.  This past year, several endurance riders, BCH members and other volunteers manned aid stations at several local mountain bike races.  We always post signs and make sure people know we are “the horse people you see on the trails”  We groomed many of these trails for fat bike and snowshoe use this winter.


2.  The Blackberry Trail, which is the trail that leads to Mt. Rushmore should be finished the end of May.  This was closed last year because of logging work, changes needed in rebuilding the trail.  This trail is open to horses and there will be a hitching rail installed.  Hundreds of people who camp and ride in the Black Elk Wilderness area ride this trails every year.  BCH also assisted with work on Black Elk Trails and working on the lookout at the top of Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak)


3.  The City of Sturgis and Black Hills Trails are currently working with the FS to build additional access trails to the Sturgis City Dams, a series of 4 pristine dams on Alkali Creek.  One trail, on City land is roughed in.  All trails will be open to horses.


4.  I am spearheading an education/fund raising event in April in Sturgis.  This will be a celebration of success, education regarding the next phases of trail work, and fundraising for Black Hills Trails.


5.  We continue to have a lot of logging in the northern hills, continue to have a lot of pine bark beetle tree damage, lots of fallen trees on trails.  Our BCH and BHT volunteers continue to work on certification to clear trees on FS lands.  We hope this can be expedited with new rulings.  Many places we need to use horses, motorcycles to access these trees.  Many of the Black Hills Trails members have been certified and we cleared numerous trails last year.  We will start working on that again as soon as the snow settles a bit.  Often, we are doing this work under the radar, which is unfortunate.  We try to communicate where there are down trees on the trails so volunteers can work on them.


6.  Most of the BCH members are over 50 years old, most of the mountain bikers are younger than that…..so it is imperative that we we work with these young and energetic mountain bikers regarding trail access.



Chrystal Crispin AERC Tennessee State Trails Advocate

My name is Chrystal Crispin and I became the TN State Trail Advocate this past October. I am super excited to be apart of this program ! Since I’ve become a trail advocate I have contacted local biking, hiking, and horseback riding trail organizations/groups/clubs. I was sure to offer any assistance in any trail maintenance and creating new trails. In addition, I gave them all my contact information so they could communicate with me on Trail closings, warnings, and any other concerns that I could assist Horseback riders if they were going to ride certain trails. Most recently was all the wild fires in TN that have done extensive damage to many of our National Forests and wild life. In addition, to all this I became a member of the Northeast TN Back Country Horseman’s Club. I am currently hoping to be voted in as Vice President. During the months of October, November, and December I was able to do quite a bit of trail riding therefore I was able to ride trails that I wasn’t familiar with. On these trail riding excursions I followed the trail not normally traveled. I took the time to clear paths, mark trails, and keep track of the mileage we accrued on the trails. Lastly, I contacted the AERC Ride manager for the endurance ride that will be held in our state. I introduced myself and offered assistance before/during the endurance ride  to assist in any trail maintenance and any assistance they may need. I am very excited to take on this position and am looking forward to a successful and educational year to come !!



Linda Parrish AERC Texas State Trail Advocate

Got my Texas Trail Advocate cards in 2016.

I have worked with the Davy Crockett Forest Service for many years and helped establish the Piney Creek Horse Trails (I was the one who drew the trails on the map. I am happy to say there were very few places where that line on the map had to be moved!)


This year our local endurance community appointed me as lead spokesperson with the local USFS; we are listed with the USFS as the main group to keep the trail system open. If anyone contacts the USFS with questions or asking to help with the trail system, the USFS contacts me and we work the new volunteers into the work days.


I would like to take this opportunity to state that the Trail Master course, sponsored by AERC, has helped tremendously with, not only seeing the trails in a whole new way, but opening doors with the USFS that had been shut for many years.


Kristen Fisher AERC Texas State Trail Advocate

I took the 2nd Trailmaster Class in summer 2005, when I moved from downtown Dallas to near Denton [and close to many USACE trails]. After my 6 month residency requirement I joined the Corinth Trails Committee in Sep 2005. At that time they covered ~7 miles of Corps trail [hikers and horses] bordering the south side of the city, plus a few miles of trails around the Corinth Community Park [hikers, bicycles, horses – surrounding lots of ‘stick and ball’ fields]. Unfortunately overuse by a commercial equestrian outfit as well as the growth of the use of the sports fields required us to close the community park trail to horses several years ago. However, we still maintained the Corps trail.


A couple years ago the Corinth Trails Committee was folding into Keep Corinth Beautiful [so not wholly focused on trails any more]. Most recently, the City of Corinth decided not to renew their agreement with the Corps for that trail for 2017 – it had to do with legalities between ‘leasing’ the area [requires capital improvements like campgrounds – city not willing to invest in this] or ‘licensing’ the area [city not willing to accept legal liabilities with this option]. So at this time, my involvement with KCB doesn’t include any equestrian trails.


I am also Vice President of a citizen’s trails organization [and also a 501(c)3 organization], Cross Timbers Equestrian Trails Association [CTETA]. This group maintains several trails around Corps properties [Lake Lewisville, Lake Grapevine] in the DFW area. It is mainly maintenance, and occasionally invests in minor capital improvements. Over the past several years CTETA has invested in some capital improvements at Lake Ray Roberts [leased by Texas Parks and Wildlife] through corporative efforts with the Lake Ray Roberts Equestrian Trails Association [LRRETA] which this year have resulted in some horse pens being installed at an equestrian trail head as well as an elevated walkway [‘bridge’] being installed in a section of trail that had been closed for years due to erosion.



Crockett Dumas AERC Utah State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



Chelle Grald AERC Vermont State Trail Advocate


My name is Chelle Grald and I am the AERC State Trail Advocate for the state of Vermont. This works out really well because I am the Trails Manager for the Green Mountain Horse Association, which has trails advocacy and development as a big part of its mission. I am also a member of the Vermont Horse Council, which is the other organization in our small state that is active in developing and improving trails around the state. Here is a list of the things I have done this year related to trails advocacy:


1.  Participated in the first annual Vermont Horse Council Equine Industry Summit. This event gathered together equine businesses and organizations, along with State representatives, to discuss the needs and challenges of the equine industry in our state. Trails was a large part of the discussion. I met and discussed trails development with representatives from both the state Forest Parks and Recreation and Tourism bureaus.


2.  Organized and hosted the first meeting between the local Forest Parks and Recreation representatives, Vermont Horse Council and local horse clubs with the goal of beginning a plan to develop horse trails in the Mount Ascutney State Park – a large area of public land with no officially-established horse trails but many possibilities for development in conjunction with adjoining West Windsor and Weathersfield Town Forests.


3.   Organized a pilot pleasure trail ride in a portion of the above mentioned area, which was successful and well-received.


4.   Organized a meeting between the local hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding players in the Mount Ascutney trails region – to happen in January – to discuss building a trail around the mountain.


5.   At the Green Mountain Horse Association, will host two workshops this winter on trail building, intended for landowners.


6.   Wrote trails and community relations articles for GMHA Magazine (attached)


7.   Attended a webinar sponsored by the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) on developing trails on private lands.


8.   Opened up two new trails on private land in GMHA’s 400 Mile mostly private trail network and obtained permission for several more, yet to be explored.


9.   Signed up to attend the AERC Trail Master Class April 6-9, 2017 in Pennsylvania.


Please let me know if you have any questions about this report. I am happy to provide more detail if needed.

See Attached Articles



Mary Howell AERC Virginia State Trail Advocate

Here’s my preliminary report, with some sobering news from the Old Dominion:


Several local endurance riders plan to attend the Jan. 28 trail users group meeting being hosted by Stephanie Chapman of the Lee Ranger District/George Washington National Forest. We’ll also encourage attendees for their chainsaw certification class in mid-March (I’m up for recertification so will try to be there).


Chainsaw certification is a requirement to remove blow-down trees that are a frequent occurrence in our eastern national forest trails. The importance of promptly removing trees that block trail was highlighted by a recent horse fatality. Duane Martin, who coordinates the Old Dominion drag riders, was following a rock-strewn route off the established trail to get around a downed tree when his horse PL Nino slipped on a sharp rock, suffered deep lacerations to his right hind leg near the pastern. Despite receiving prompt triage & expert surgery at Marion Scott Dupont Equine Center, the damage was too severe for the horse to have a reasonable chance of recovery and he was euthanized. In memory of Nino, please stress the importance of reporting trail blockages promptly to park staff so that qualified personnel can remove tree and help users stick to safer, established trails.


Trails misuse is a hot topic at two Virginia State Parks – the VaHorse Trails Facebook page recently reported that James River State Park has closed their overnight horse camping area because of safety concerns (riders were apparently using trails intended for hikers only). We’ve had a lot of rain recently, and Powhatan State Park posted a reminder for riders to refrain from riding until the trails dry out so as to not cause lasting damage.


Nancy and other local endurance riders are members of the Back Country Horsemen of the Virginia Highlands, who partnered this past year on the clearing of a trail corridor for the proposed Valley Divide Trail, a multi use connector trail in the Mount Rogers NRA to be completed this year. This trail will one day contribute to being able to offer a one-way 100 mile ride like the OD (different vet checks instead of back in camp).


Please add to the Virginia Trails report that 7 AERC members attended the Jan. 28 Lee Ranger District Trails meeting, including Old Dominion ride manager Diane Connolly and trailmaster Diane Hypes.


Wrote another attendees, DVM Sherry Blenden: “It was a good meeting, attendees by lots of volunteers with enthusiasm for trail maintenance.”



Gail Williams AERC Washington State Trail Advocate

I was active is shouting out to the AERC and PNER folks as well as the Wash Trails FB page that Connie Hoge started before she moved about the proposed give away of miles of the John Wayne Trail by a legislator in Ritzville.  Due to a fortunate error in wording, the proposal, which was sneakily attached to a spending bill, was disavowed, but a number of groups were alerted and are on the watch for something along the same lines to be presented again.



Jenny Poling AERC West Virginia State Trail Advocate

No report submitted



No State Trail Advocate at this time



Vickie Hogen AERC Wyoming State Trail Advocate

As a new trails advocate I contacted the current ride managers in Wyoming to introduce myself.


The Shamrock ride is entirely on private property, ride manager Suzie Schomburg let me know that this would be the last year that the ride would be going. She stated that they had put their time in and had decided to retire. The ride is unfortunately on their private land. She let me know that she was in the process of trying to encourage a potential new ride manager to take over an old Wyoming ride and that if she felt like it was a possibility then she would put me in touch with the new manager.


The majority of our Wyoming AERC rides are organized by Jeanette Tolman and put on in our local Big Horn Basin. Jeanette has been trying to get access back into the cloud peak wilderness section of our Big Horn 100. I am currently a local rider and prior to becoming a trail advocate had begun marking a non motorized section of this ride. We had received non compliance tickets for marking on atv’s in this section. I currently mark a 13 mile section by foot and horse back to alleviate this issue, which has brought us back into good standings with USFS. Jeanette has been in contact with our state representatives trying to gain support and allow us to access the Adelaide trail that goes thru cloud peak wilderness. I have attended the local Shoshone Backcountry Horsemans Monthly meeting in order to introduce myself and ask for support of the Adelaide access but also for some trail maintenance. Shoshone Back country horseman were in support of helping us with a section of trail maintenance and were more than happy to support our efforts to use the Adelaide trail section. This matter was passed over to Monica Chapman by her request to follow up with the National President of the Back Country Horseman.


I have also requested the assistance of our local Boy Scout troop in the clearing of a section of USFS trail section. The Boy Scouts were willing to take on a 1.5 mile section as a project. They will be utilizing this as a merit badge for one of the Boys.


I have been in contact with the Big Horn National Forest trails Sara Evans Kirol
Trails/Special Uses specialist. After communicating with Sara I have been informed that our 12 mile section of the Big Horn 100 that is on the USFS Elk Horn Trail #103 will have a trail crew going thru in 2017 to do much needed trail repairs. They have invited us to help if we would like. I have 3 riders and possibly riders from Shoshone Back Country Horseman that are interested in helping.

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