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Friday, February 19, 2010

Equestrian Trail Access Bill Passes MI Senate


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based on a news article in the Spinal Column

If House Bill 4610 passes, it would be the last step in a process which will require the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) to restore access for horse riding to all state owned land that was open to that use on May 7, 2008. Existing trails must be kept open and accessible.

There has been a lot of question about how this will affect $25 million of federal funding. As originally written the federal wildlife and sportfish restoration funds would have been withheld from Michigan after passage. Language which includes management control standards must be added to the bill.

Compromise language which would accomplish this has been created by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Nine revisions of the bill were necessary before an acceptable version was found.

Spinal Column concludes, "As it stands now, the bills outline a process for trail closures by the DNRE and create an Equine Trail Advisory Council to help the DNRE identify additional trails that should be opened for access to equestrian trail riders."

The bill remains extremely controversial. Bicycle trail groups have expressed concern that trails they have built may be opened to horseback use, and some foot paths may be similarly affected.

See MUCC policy letter (a pdf)
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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