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Front Page » December 29, 2009 » Opinion » Back country horsemen on wilderness
Published 2,613 days ago

Back country horsemen on wilderness

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Wilderness Position Paper

The purpose of the San Rafael Back Country Horseman is: To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's back country and wilderness. To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use. To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.


The Emery County Public lands Council is proceeding with the development of a Land Use Bill to address wilderness management in Emery County. Equestrian use has historically played a very large part in the settlement of Emery County, particularly in the San Rafael Swell. The San Rafael Swell is a major destination for recreational use of horses which provides an additional source of revenue for the surrounding communities.

A large portion of the population in Emery County and neighboring Carbon County recreate by riding horses on these lands.

Horses are a major method of transportation in Emery County and; that much of the remote areas are too large and rugged for any but the most fit hikers to access without the use of horses.

Therefore the San Rafael Back Country Horseman request that any wilderness bill for public lands in Emery County include that recreational and historical uses be recognized as an appropriate purpose of wilderness equal in importance to preservation of natural conditions.

Efforts to improve natural conditions and pristine character be recognized as laudable objectives only to the extent that they can be accomplished without compromising other equally important purposes and values.

Recreational pack and saddle stock be recognized as an appropriate and historical use of wilderness.

No curtailments of recreational equine use, or grazing incidental to that use, be allowed simply because an area has been designated as wilderness, nor should social values, norms and preferences of other wilderness users be used as a reason to restrict, phase out or terminate this historical recreation use.

Restrictions and prohibitions imposed on recreational equine use, and incidental grazing, be the exception rather than the rule and be determined by site specific analysis based on biological and physical criteria rather than subjective social preferences of other wilderness users.

As trails and trail maintenance is recognized as integral for the public to access and enjoy high quality wilderness experience. The House Report 95-540 acknowledged that "trails, trail signs, and necessary bridges are all permissible when designed in keeping with the wilderness concept" and instructed the agency in its maintenance and construction efforts to "include the use of mechanical equipment where appropriate and/or necessary." Therefore, it is further requested that: Minimum tool analyses, or minimum requirements analysis, consider the mandate of providing for recreation and historic use as well as the physical and biological attributes of wilderness character.

The federal agencies consider use of mechanical/motorized equipment for trail maintenance and reconstruction as an appropriate and necessary tool to accomplish the wilderness purposes in Sec. 4(b) of the Wilderness Act.

President - Wayne Ludington Vice President - Rod Player Secretary/Treasurer - Kobi Marchello

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December 29, 2009
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