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User groups work on the Pole Canyon trail

The sign on top points the way down to the Pole Canyon Trail.
The horsemen and the motorcycle riders work together on the trail.
The workers realign the trail and work on trouble spots along the way.

When user groups come together and work cooperatively then they can accomplish much. This was proven as a work project on Pole Canyon Trail in Huntington Canyon successfully completed several improvements to the trail. This is a single track trail, open to motorcycles, hikers, mountain bikers and horse travel. On this day the Back Country Horsemen and the Sageriders Motorcycle Club along with the cooperating agency, the US Forest Service, hit the trail to see how much they could accomplish in a day's time.

The group met bright and early and some of the workers camped the night before. The Emery County Commission donated the breakfast for the workers in appreciation for their volunteer efforts on the trail.

A safety and instruction meeting was held before they left the gathering site at the trail head. Jim Jennings of the forest service was instrumental in putting the project together. Bill Broadbear from the forest service explained the six different work sites which had been lined up for maintenance. Broadbear thanked everyone for coming. He said they would work on sites one-four first and if they completed those they would move onto the two upper sites.

The group discussed the various aspects of safety as it involves motorcycles and horses using the same trail. The motorcycles would go up the trail first and to the top area to begin work. They were instructed to be careful as the trail was slick from recent rains. The workers were told to allow a lot of space in between workers as they began their project, at least 10 feet.

Alan Peterson from the Sage Riders explained the motorcycle safety. He said part of their safety lies in their protective riding gear which includes, knee pads, boots, helmets, goggles and gloves. Peterson said in his experience those who get involved with volunteer service projects are the law abiding users who are educated to safety. "As we do projects together we will learn more about each other and what not to do when working around horses. We need to establish relationships and stick together because there are groups out there that want everyone off the public land and that includes, the ATVs, horses, motorcycles and bicycles. We want to use and take care of our public lands," said Peterson.

Rod Player from the forest service told a little about horse etiquette. He said the most important thing to remember about horses and mules is they have their own minds. All users should yield to a horse. Hikers sometimes startle horses. If you can yield to a horse on the downhill side it is better for them. Get down hill and let the horses go by. Sometimes horses will kick out at other horses. Don't get between horses. Stop and talk to the people with the horses and ask them how they want you to pass. Helmets seem to bother horses, because they don't recognize the riders as being human. Horses being led also should be treated with caution. Horsemen can yield to motorcycles too. When using narrow trails and two users come upon each other, someone will have to turn around.

Peterson said another aspect of trail etiquette is knowing which trails are open for which uses. It's the responsibility of the rider to know if a road or trail is open. He encouraged everyone to have the available maps and to use them. "Be knowledgeable and learn the regulations. Treat each other with respect," said Peterson.

Wade Allinson outlined some of the work to be completed. He thanked Broadbear for always being willing to help with volunteer projects. The motorcycles would leave first and head to the top projects where they would work on trail alignment, and make water bars along the trail for erosion control. Allinson said the Pole Canyon trail was originally constructed by the CCC. Around the bridge the project would be to construct runners for erosion control. In some places where water is running down the trail, water bars will be constructed. Carsonite trail markers will also be installed.

Peterson said, "The work project went very well. We got 4 1/2 of six jobs completed. The weather was good and no rain. Cooperative projects like that are very rewarding and very successful. The education that comes from working 'side by side' can't be duplicated in a meeting or in an office."

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