RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE OPENING OF HOUCHENS FERRY ROAD IN MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK TO HORSEBACK RIDERS
WHEREAS, the mission of the Kentucky Back Country Horsemen is to work to ensure public lands remain open to recreational equestrian saddle and pack stock use, and
WHEREAS, the National Park Service, and Mammoth Cave National Park in particular, has the following purpose: “The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.” (nps.gov), and
WHEREAS, historically Houchens Ferry Road has been part of the equestrian trail system from 1945 to 2010, with no known incidents of injury, and
WHEREAS, in 2010 the current Superintendent closed the road to equestrians stating there were “safety concerns”, without public input or a safety study, and
WHEREAS, tourism and local businesses which rely on tourism have experienced a negative impact due to this closing, and
WHEREAS, using the Houchens Ferry Road as a return loop for First Creek Trail provides a much desirable 9-mile loop; using the road also reduces impact to First Creek Trail by eliminating the need for riders to backtrack to return to the trail head, and
WHEREAS, the Houchens Ferry Road provides a safe environment for horses due to the low traffic volume of a dead-end road, low vehicular speed due to its gravel surface, 12 foot width suitable for vehicular and horse traffic to co-exist, lack of improved structures, lack of adjoining roads, a wide flat shoulder of the road and the flat forested road border, and
WHEREAS, using safe roadways such as Houchens Ferry Road for part of the Mammoth Cave trail system provides additional recreational mileage with no building or maintenance costs, and
WHEREAS, the Houchens Ferry Road can be kept open to equestrian use by a Superintendent’s Compendium, as has been used in a number of other National Parks in the Southeast Region,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by Kentucky Back Country Horsemen to go on record supporting the opening of Houchens Ferry Road to equestrian use.
Approved by the Board of Kentucky Back Country Horsemen on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.
Conley’s Horse Photos
2015 Dawkins Rail Trail Carriage Ride
On October 24, 2015, a 9 mile portion of the Dawkins Rail Trail located in eastern Kentucky was closed to the public in order to allow a group of wagons and carriages to ride the trail. The trail is a part of the Kentucky State Park system and is currently 18 miles long. It was previously a railroad corridor that had been originally constructed in the early 1900s by the Dawkins Lumber Company to transport timber. Over the past few years the state of Kentucky has undertaken the effort to convert this corridor into a trail that can be used by hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders. Normally, wagons are not permitted on the trail for safety reasons due to the very limited space available to turn and/or pass other users. With special permission to allow the wagon and carriages to use the trail, this event was organized by Edith Conyers and Vicki Doucette and supported by the Royalton Trail Town committee, the Kentucky State Parks Department and the Friends of the Dawkins Line group. A total of 30 wagons were planned for, but because of bad weather in other parts of the state along with a few other reasons, the actual number of wagons or carriages registered was 21 (although I was only able to identify 18.) The ride left the Royalton trailhead in Magoffin County at 10AM and proceeded about 9 miles to a site where a tasty lunch was provided for all participants and their riders. Along the way, we crossed several very well constructed viaducts over valleys and creeks. We even crossed the Bert Combs Mountain Parkway on a raised viaduct. We also drove through the Gun Creek Tunnel which, according to the Ky State Parks website, is 662 feet long. In several spots, the trail runs alongside of or crosses highways which gave access to the many photographers and spectators who wanted to see and/or photograph the group. At each highway crossing, there were members of the local sheriffs department or rescue squads on hand to control traffic. After lunch, the wagons and carriages lined back up and retraced our steps back to the Royalton trailhead, arriving there about 6PM. A large group was waiting for our return with food and there was a live bluegrass band on stage to provide entertainment. Overall, this was a very well planned event and very enjoyable. The leaves cooperated and were probably at their peak in terms of color. In addition, the weather while terrible in most of the state, stayed mostly dry all day with only a few stray light showers through the day. If the talk of trying to make this into an annual event is successful, I know that I would love to do it again. By next year, the entire 36 miles should be completed and open and we may be able to visit entirely new portions of the trail. Click on the links below to view the photos I took during this event.
Click the links below to see photos from this event!
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* Click the link above and the slideshow will begin.
A DVD with a slideshow of all of the photos displayed for this event is available for $24 plus $6 for shipping.
Individual photos are also available for purchase! Contact us or click here for more information about ordering.
We reported on the FORT HARROD BCH fall workdays last month in pictures. Here is a list of those who helped out. Thank you to all!
Carol Conover, Mike Bossert, Bob and Paula Cairns, Roger Trent, Steve and Pam Corley, Janis Flynn, Dean Brandenburg, Roger Trent, Johnny and Lois Short, Libby Short and Curt Dorman.
Fort Harrod also hosted a club trail ride at Logan-Hubble County Park and wanted to share some of their pictures…
LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES BCH showed up in force to help the Forest Service as volunteers for National Lands Day, September 26th. They assisted in various tasks and heavily outnumbered all other volunteers. This is a good example of how BCH can develop good relationships with Forest staff, even if the work is not exactly on horse trails.
MAMMOTH CAVE BCH wanted to share information about the SCABBARDS they have purchased for carrying their saws and pruners on horseback. It is a Cashel Trail Clearing Saw and Pruner Scabbard, purchased from Riding Warehouse (had the best deal at the time) but available from other sites. Doris Dorsey has carried hers a few times and you may call or email her if you want to hear about her experiences.
email@example.com or 270-537-1251.
| Kentucky BCH 2016
Mark your calendars: APRIL 9, 2016
APRIL 9, 2016 will be the date of the 2016 KyBCH Rendezvous. It will be hosted jointly by Central Kentucky BCH and Mountain Lake BCH. We have some ideas about this Rendezvous to add some fun and educational activitites, in addition to the Annual Meeting. We hope you will come to meet other BCH members, ride your horse, and learn. More information will be sent in future newsletters.
Other Trail News Around Kentucky
Shaker Village has received a grant for Habitat and Trail Restoration. To accomplish the goals of the grant, FOR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER All Trails will be CLOSED MONDAY thru FRIDAY TO RIDING AND HIKING. Trails WILL BE OPEN ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS.
Kentucky Back Country Horsemen expressed our support to Mitch McConnell for the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. Here is his response.
On October 6, 2015, the Governor and Mrs. Beshear announced a trail plan which, when complete, will link trail towns and existing major trails, as well as proposing a number of new trails, allowing trail users to travel across Kentucky.
There will be 11 main routes, connecting east to west and north to south.
Many of the segments are PROPOSED, so it will take a number of years to make these trails complete from end-to-end.
For the detailed report, go to
It would be great if Back Country Horsemen took part in this process in their regional areas.
Reminder: Trail Building Class On November 7
The class fee is $10 and it lasts one day, from 9AM to about 4PM (Central Time). Open to public attendees, invite your trail manager!
If you have any questions about the content of the class, please contact Roy Cornett, Instructor, at 859-806-2788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHAKER VILLAGE UPDATE
To: All Village Staff
From: Marketing and Communications Team
Date: October 20, 2015
Re: Wildlife Management Update
We are pleased to announce that Shaker Village has received the prestigious National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) National Fire Bird Conservation Award. Nominated by NBCI state quail coordinators, Shaker Village is being recognized for the value it has brought to Kentucky’s effort to restore wild bobwhites on a landscape scale.
John Morgan and Ben Robinson from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFR) recently attended the National Bobwhite Technical Committee meeting in Galloway, NJ, where they accepted the National Fire Bird Award on Shaker Village’s behalf in front of more than 20 state representatives.
Exemplifying the Shaker legacy of concerned care for the land, Shaker Village has converted 1,200 acres of unproductive pasture land to restored native grasses and wildflowers. Funded through grants from the KDFR and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), the project has returned the land to the prairie appearance that existed prior to the Shaker’s settlement of the area.
In order to continue the work of this important project, The Preserve and trails will be closed Mondays – Fridays from Nov. 2 – Jan. 1 for habitat and wildlife management and trail restoration work.
The trails along River Road (River Road Trail and Palisades Trail) will be open every day for guests who want to hike/walk during the week.
All trails will be open Saturdays and Sundays in November and December. There are several groups that have rented the West Lot for meetings during these months, and they won’t have a problem accessing the building. However, individual overnight guest reservations will be limited during the weeks affected.
If you have any questions, call Ben Leffew at ext. 1569.
Ky. First Lady Hopes ‘Master Trail Plan’ Helps Connect Trails Statewide
State officials on Tuesday unveiled the new ‘Cross Kentucky Master Trail Plan.’ The initiative aims to link all of the state’s recreational trails. Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear were at Lexington’s Issac Murphy Memorial Gardens for the announcement.
Jane Beshear says the master trail plan is just the beginning. She says it’s difficult to say when the entire state will have a fully linked trail system. “It just takes a long time because a lot of the trails end up going through private properties, so there’s a lot of negotiations,” said Beshear. “A lot of understanding needs to take place about the fact that the liability issues; there’s been some concern about that.”
Beshear says some 12,000 miles of trails in the Commonwealth are already linked. Beshear says another 17,000 miles of Kentucky trails could one day be included in the master trail plan.
There are currently nine Kentucky Trail Towns and more than 30 others are in the process of applying. Jamestown and Manchester were added just this week. Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart says an uptick in recreational activity can equate to new businesses. “The more visitors that come, the more needs they bring with them,” said Stewart. “The more needs they bring, the more that there is a demand that will cause entrepreneurs to try to meet that demand and become outfitters, sell kayaks, rent kayaks, fix bikes, sell bikes.”
Stewart says such a designation helps to brand or re-brand areas as destinations for adventure tourism activities. Those include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and kayaking.