Seven Trail Tips: Leave No Trace
While riding in
the Shawnee National Forest, we came across a nice tie area that
the Shawnee Trails Conservancy
had put in just for horses. There were wild flowers of all kind
including what is becoming an invasive species on our trails. It
is the “Charmin
Lily”. In case you don’t know what this flower is, it appears
when someone leaves a wad of toilet paper in the woods. These particular “Charmin
lilies” were left within 15 feet of the hitching rails.
you know that it takes 2 to 4 years for toilet paper to dissolve?
includes the “bio-degradable paper. How much trouble would
it have been for them to put the paper in a small zip lock bag and
taken it out? While we are out enjoying Mother Nature on our equine
remember the 7 points of Leave No Trace.
These are the 7 principles of Leave No Trace, and as trail
users we should try and follow them as closely as possible. Now I
right’s” and the “I am not going to do THAT” but
just give it a try. If we all do our part then our trails will
be cleaner and a whole lot healthier making for a more enjoyable
Plan and prepare for your trip. Even if you are just going for a day
ride, make sure that you have emergency equipment with you, first aid
for you and the horse. Have you told anyone where you are going?
Travel on durable surfaces. STAY ON the TRAIL!
Don’t go around
the mud holes. Train your horse to go through them. Here in the Eastern
half of the US, we don’t and shouldn’t “bush whack” on
public trails. Why is it that people complain about not having
enough trails and then short cut a trail just to get back quicker?
Dispose of waste properly. This boils down
to one simple thing “Pack
it in-Pack it out”. There is no reason to see these “charmin
Lilies” on our trails. Take along a couple of zip lock bags and
take the toilet paper out and dispose of it in a trash can or toilet.
Another problem that horse riders have is weight. How can 12 oz. can
of beverage weight more empty than full? If you take it out bring it
back. This is one thing that on multi-use trails (not including ATV’s)
that we as horse people are the most guilty of. Keep our trails clean
and enjoyable for years to come by simply “Packing it out.”
Leave things where you find them. If it is pretty to you or interesting
to you, it is more likely just as interesting to the next person.
Leave things where Nature put them so all can enjoy!
Minimize impact. When you ride in groups
try to keep it 10 riders or less per group. Stay on the designated
Keep your horse walking
while “pooping”. At the trail head,
clean out your trailer by throwing the manure to
the wayside and in the
Clean up after your horse and take it home to dispose
of properly. No one, including horse people, wants
to be in an area that
rotting manure and is fly infested.
Respect wildlife. Leave them alone! Don’t
leave food scraps where you decide to have lunch. This invites
to the area
and changes their feeding habits. If you take a dog out on
the trail, and
you should not especially in groups of 4 or more, make
sure the dog is well behaved. But keep in mind that all dogs,
and I mean ALL
chase animals if given the chance.
Respect others on the trail. As our population
keeps increasing, so will the amount of users on the trails.
Not all people
our love of the outdoors from atop a horse, just as a lot of
horse people don’t understand hiking or biking. But these trails are
for all to enjoy. So the next time you meet a hiker take a few moments
with them. Get off the trail and talk to them. Horses are usually scared
of hikers as they look line Bears with their big packs. If you can
get them to talk to you, your horse will not be as afraid to pass.Give
the “right of way.”