The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Land Management. This agreement, dated June 7, 2020, establishes a framework for joint collaboration on “mutually beneficial programs, projects, training, and activities,” according to the MOU.
“AERC is excited to have a signed MOU with the Bureau of Land Management. We look forward to working together as partners in the future,” said AERC Trails Committee Co-Chair Monica Chapman.
Because the BLM and AERC work to promote participation in recreational activities on public lands, this MOU recognizes the benefit to both organizations, the BLM with its 245 million surface acres in the U.S., and the 501(c) (3) nonprofit AERC with its thousands of endurance riding members.
Both AERC and the BLM are devoted to sharing an interest in disseminating information to the public regarding the relationship between equestrian recreation and natural resource conservation. AERC has provided funding and AERC members have contributed thousands of hours toward trail design, trail building and trail maintenance projects.
AERC will also be encouraging its members to work on BLM planning projects to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.
“AERC members are constantly looking for new and exciting places to ride,” said Chapman. “We hope to continue our existing rides that are on Bureau of Land Management property and seek out new trails for new rides.”
As part of the MOU, the BLM will encourage AERC members and affiliated equestrian groups to attend events and projects on public lands, where communities and other agencies maintain and provide equestrian recreation opportunities. This is vital to the continuation of AERC’s endurance rides, which often take place on trails in public lands.
For its part, AERC will encourage members to be involved in the BLM planning processes “to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.” The MOU also notes that AERC will provide technical assistance to BLM offices involved in equestrian recreation management.
One section of the agreement encourages AERC members to attend wild horse and burro events with the possibility of using adopted wild horses in endurance riding.
“BLM Mustangs are resurging in popularity in the world of endurance riding. In the last few years a number of beautiful mustangs have placed in the top ten of the famous Western States Trail Ride (Tevis Cup) and at our National Championship Ride in Ridgecrest, California in 2019,” Chapman explained.
The MOU was entered into under the authority of Section 307(b) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1737(b).
More information about AERC is available through the association’s website, AERC.org, or by calling the AERC national office, 866-271-2372.