April 28, 2020 —
As you have heard our Memorial Weekend Extravaganza (aka Fun Ride) has been placed on hold pending the reopening of Dru Barner. In the meanwhile the GDETF board has invested over $5000 on panels and high line poles in order to accommodate more horses overnight at the equestrian camp. Volunteers will be erecting pens and high lines as soon as we are allowed. The board authorized the purchase of these pens and poles for high lines along with a used cargo trailer to haul equipment and supplies to our events. Progress! This is where your membership fees go! Please help us by renewing your membership now! With your support we can continue to make Dru Barner and the El Dorado National Forest a premier equestrian experience!
I do have to report that local consideration for equestrians during these shut downs was grossly overlooked. As parking lots that provided trail access closed, cars still were able to park outside and access the trail heads. Horse trailers are left out. We are often forced to either jeopardize the safety of our animals by parking on unsafe highways or streets often we end up choosing to forego the day of riding as there is no place to park with safe access. The limited parking that does exist usually fills fast. I’m disheartened that in a time where our economy is suffering, one of the biggest contributes to the health and welfare of our communities is mostly shut out. We understand the risks and practice safe distancing by the virtue of the horse’s back; however, it’s been tough to find safe access. Hopefully reliable antibody testing will become readily available and warmer weather will slow the virus and we will soon see our public lands open for all of us to enjoy.
The good news is that Sterling Point is open, go early! Hidden Falls is open, reservations only. Reserve many days ahead as spaces fill up fast!
News from the Back Country Horsemen: Sent by Randy Hackbarth President BCH Mother Lode Unit:
Public Lands Maintenance Backlog Bill Combined with Full & Permanent LWCF Funding
In early March, a bipartisan group of senators introduced Senate Bill 3422 (S. 3422), the Great American Outdoors Act. The legislation is intended to tap both on- and off-shore drilling royalties paid to the federal government in order to address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks and other public lands.
It is also intended to ensure full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) each and every year going forward. Importantly, unlike previous bills that were introduced to benefit agencies solely within the Department of Interior, S. 3422 includes resources to address the maintenance backlog of the U.S. Forest Service. As such, it is more broad than the current Restore Our Parks Act (S. 500), which drew widespread support when introduced last year—and during the previous session of Congress—but had not made its way to the President’s desk. Inclusion of the Forest Service has been a priority for BCHA, its membership and the national recreation coalition of which we are a part (see, for example, the Public Lands Update in BCHA’s Spring 2019 newsletter).
BCHA encourages its officers and members to call the offices of their U.S. senators to either:
a) Encourage them to co-sponsor to S. 3422 (if they have not done so already), or
b) Thank them for being an original co-sponsor of S. 3422.
The Great American Outdoors Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Richard Burr (R-NC). At present, S. 3422 enjoys the support of 58 Senate co-sponsors.