I like to tell folks I live in a puppy, horse and kid paradise in my little neck of the woods under Sequim’s “blue hole.”
A bonus less than 500 feet (or hoofbeats) away is what I call “my greater backyard,” the Department of Natural Resource’s Cassidy Creek region.
It offers miles of trails and old logging roads traversing up and down hills, over the rivers and through the woods that could, potentially, take me to the majestic Olympic Mountains and beyond.
That’s why Oct. 2, I attended the DNR’s Recreational Trails Policy public forum in Port Angeles.
Its purpose? To encourage residents to give their input on a statewide effort to form agency policies on current and future recreational trails on land managed by DNR. They hope to plan trails that will benefit the greatest number of folks using the land for recreation.
A recreational trail policy, according to its news release, will help DNR continue managing natural resources while providing a broader range of sustainable and mixed recreation opportunities, including non-motorized and motorized activities such as hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping, mountain biking, motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle riding, 4-by-4 vehicle use and others.
I was happy to see the meeting was well-attended by equestrians, with the majority representing Backcountry Horsemen’s Buckhorn Range and Peninsula chapters.
It’s important in this age of diminishing trails nationwide, which the DNR states is due to changes in private landownership and reduced access to federal lands resulting from a reduction in federal forest road networks, that we horse people voice our opinions.
And let’s not forget we always seem to need to quiet those voices from bikers or hikers objecting to seeing horses and/or their recycled grass droppings on the path. Although complainers are a tiny minority, they seem to voice their opinions that horses should be banned altogether quite loudly.
The people attending were broken up into a non-motorized and motorized group. The facilitator took down all suggestions made. The three criteria that we were asked to keep in mind when offering our input were:
■ What causes the least impact to the land?
■ What provides environmental and water quality protection?
■ What maintains the lowest maintenance and construction costs?
Keeping the above criteria in mind we were asked to answer five questions:
1. What kind of trail experience do you want from DNR?
2. What do you want us to know about your recreational activity?
3. How does your activity interact with other recreation uses?
4. What are some strategies for meeting the three criteria for your preferred recreation activity?
5. What could DNR do to increase volunteerism?
It’s not too late to offer your input. I encourage all equestrians to take a moment to email theirs to [email protected]
DNR also is offering the opportunity to join its Trails Policy Planning Committee. They’re looking for 12 to 15 people across the state to represent a variety of recreational pursuits for the committee.
Its first meeting is in November with a nine-month commitment. Prospective members are asked to apply by Friday.
Some meetings will be held in North Bend. Most will be by teleconference.
For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/PDN-DNRtrails.
Sequim equestrian coach Katie Salmon-Newton accompanied the Clallam County Fair’s 4-H Senior Division Performance Horse champions last month to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.
“The days were beautiful and sunny, but what long days,” she said.
They had to be up and at the fairgrounds by 5:30 a.m. to feed and exercise the horses and get them back in their stalls before the fair opened and the showing began.
All day, they were kept busy showing, with their horses not getting bedded down for the night until after 10 p.m.
“On Sunday night, the trail classes went so late [that] two of our girls didn’t finish until close to midnight,” she said.
She added: “All the girls represented Clallam and Jefferson very well.”
■ Showmanship: Blue ribbons — Ciara Gentry, Cassidy Hodgin, Holly Cozzolino and Kaytee Gibeau.
■ Huntseat: Blue ribbons — Haylie Newton, Hodgin, Gibeau and Cozzolino with a call-back to the championship class.
■ Stockseat: Blue ribbons — Paige Swordmaker, Newton, Hodgin and Cozzolino, with a call-back and fifth in the championship class.
■ Disciplined Rail Western: Blue ribbons —Newton, Swordmaker, Ashley Farmer and Cozzolino, with a call-back to the championship class.
■ Bareback: Blue ribbons — Gentry, Swordmaker and Cozzolino, with a call-back to the championship class.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Sunday.If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.