American Horse Council
Many who enjoy recreational riding on public lands are concerned about the reduction of trails, trail heads and the closure of public lands to horses and pack animals. Access to areas to ride is one of the most important issues facing riders. To prevent further closures, recreational riders are working closely with their federal, state and local land managers and also looking for federal legislative solutions.
Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) reintroduced his “Right-to-Ride” bill (H.R. 586) in the House of Representatives in the first session of this Congress. The bill is intended to preserve the use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on public lands, wilderness areas, national monuments, and other areas that are administered by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service where there is a historical tradition of such use.
Specifically the legislation mandates that the lands should be managed by the federal agencies "to preserve and facilitate the continued use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on such lands, including wilderness areas, national monuments, and other specifically designated areas, where there is a historical tradition of such use."
In addition, the legislation requires that "as a general rule, all trails, routes, and areas used by pack and saddle stock shall remain open and accessible for such use."
The House bill was referred to both the House Resources Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.
On April 14, 2005 Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced a companion “Right-to-Ride” bill (S. 781) in the Senate. It is the same as the House bill.
The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
On May 16, the House of Representatives passed Congressman George Radanovich’s “Right-to-Ride” bill (H.R. 586).
During the House debate, Congressman Radanovich stated that “perhaps no other activity is more synonymous with the exploration of our vast open lands than that of the use of pack and saddle stock.” In response to the argument that this bill singles out pack and saddle use and affords it greater consideration than other forms of recreation or commercial use, Mr. Radanovich argued that “pack and saddle use has played a far greater historic role on our public lands, particularly in our western states, than simply recreation. What may be perceived by some today as recreation was once a vital part of everyday living throughout our Nation’s history.”
The bill was sent to the Senate and referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Committee that has jurisdiction over the Senate bill.
The AHC supports this legislation and asks all recreational riders to contact their Senators encouraging them to act on it in the Senate.
Introduced to the House February 2 2005
Passed House May 16 2006
May 17 2006: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books.