May 14, 2011
Endurance riders are slowly but steadily losing access to trails due to new Forest Service and BLM rulings. Please support access to US Forest Service trails by commenting on the USFS Planning Rule before the Monday May 16 deadline. We are a vital part of this process, and can make a real difference in the future of our sport.
AERC has made it easy by publishing the following guidelines and recommendations for commenting:
The U.S. Forest Service is required to develop a Planning Rule by the National Forest Management Act of 1976. The USFS began accepting public comments/input last year. AERC representatives have attended many of these public meetings/hearings. The purpose of the rule is to set requirements for land and resource management by the USFS. In general, these requirements regulate logging, mining, lease pasture and recreational use of USFS resources. AERC believes it is important to maintain a presence in this planning process. Members are encouraged to support equestrian access to USFS trails and lands as described below. Thank you for doing your part!
Recommendations for comments on the United States Forest Service Planning Rule
Address comments to:
Forest Service Planning DEIS
C/o Bear West Company
132 E 500 S
Bountiful, Utah 84010
Or by facsimile to 801-397-1605
Or through the public participation portal at http://www.govcomments.com/
Or through the internet website http://www.regulations.gov
Please identify your written comments by including “Planning Rule” on the cover sheet or first page. You may wish to include a note that you are an endurance rider and a member of the American Endurance Ride Conference. You can add that endurance riding is a competitive sport that emphasizes safety for horse and rider, and the AERC motto is “to finish is to win.”
The following is a list of talking points to assist AERC members in composing their comments to the USFS. A letter or comment of your own composition will be more effective than form letters. AERC encourages all members to exercise their rights as good citizens by commenting on the USFS Planning Rule.
Talking Points developed by the AERC Trails and Land Management Committee:
1. Provide a brief description of yourself including the fact that you are an endurance rider.
2. Note that the Planning Rule does not specifically address equine recreational trail use. We encourage the FS to include equine trail use.
3. We recommend that the rule specify that local equestrian trail users be notified of local plans or changes in plans for the use of forest trails and riding areas by the responsible authority.
4. Remind the FS that endurance riders are responsible stewards of our public lands and desire to be involved in efforts to plan and develop sustainable multi-use trails.
5. Point out exactly which forests you ride and how important they are to you.