Keep Jefferson County trails equestrian friendly
Historically, Jefferson County multi use trails that include equestrians have proven high workability, integrating equines with other users safely, and with responsible riders clearing manure off trail surfaces. Although trail usage has increased over the years, (particularly on the Larry Scott and Olympic Discovery Trail) including equestrian usage,, the manure on the trails has markedly decreased due to awareness and education of equestrians, and there have been no reported safety incidents, due in large part to the awareness and education of all trail users via effective signage. These multi use trails are models of workability and often looked to as shining examples by other trail development committees in other counties who desire to include equestrians on their multi use trails.
As supporters of multi use trails in Jefferson County that include equestrians, we the undersigned, request that consideration of Codes that would impact the usability and safety of equestrians be rejected by the County Commissioners. In particular:
-Reclassification of equines from “livestock” to “pets”
-Requiring equestrians to collect, bag, and remove manure
-Requiring equestrian’s dogs be leashed
Adopting the above requirements would effectively render the trails unusable by equestrians due to the fact that complying would be logistically challenging or impossible, and potentially very dangerous to the rider.
Real time evidence has proven that the education of all trail users on appropriate trail protocol is working extremely effectively.
As an alternative to Codes that would render multi use trails unusable to a vital segment of the community, we propose that instead, serious consideration be given to continuing to influence trail protocol through awareness and education with effective signage visible to all trail users. Such signage could be used to inform users to expect encounters with equestrians and how to safely share the trail, and reminders to equestrians to move manure off the trail surface. Trail users will then be fully informed, and they can then choose to accept the responsibility and risk of using a multi use trail. Again, this method has been proven,
Multi use trails that include equestrians in Jefferson County work! Please support the local equestrian community by rejecting laws that would make the trails unusable for this vital segment of trail users and supporters.