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Michigan County Plans Equestrian Campsites

September 8, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Allegan County officials in west central Michigan are planning to make the county more of an equestrian destination than it is already.

In his annual report, county Parks Director Kevin Ricco said the Allegan County Parks Commission plans to establish more equestrian camping sites, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

The commission has adopted plans for equestrian campsites at Littlejohn Lake County Park and at Ely Lake and Pine Point campgrounds in the Allegan State Game Area, all facilities owned by the state but operated by the county.

Littlejohn has no camping now, but a recently adopted master plan proposes sites.

”There’s two sections of camping,” Ricco said.

The Littlejohn design calls for modern campgrounds in the southern part of the park. The most southerly will be for the horse set.

The county’s equestrian-trail system will connect to Littlejohn.

Additional improvements include a picnic shelter and a dog park.

”There’s been a tremendous demand for that,” Ricco said. He said the horse sites would remain primitive.

Silver Creek County Park already is set up for horses. The parks commission plans improvements there also, including a sanitary dumping station.

”It does provide for a modern restroom facility at some point down the road,” Ricco said.

The commission has written master plans for both Silver Creek and Littlejohn parks.

”Both plans represent multiple phases of improvement over a period of years,” Ricco said. The plans are for eight to 10 years and are required to qualify for state grants.

Part of the county’s attraction for riders is a 57-mile horse trail winding through the Allegan State Game Area. It was formerly operated by the state, but the state wanted to give it up to another organization. The county approved a lease to operate it, and volunteers have been marking trails. About 70% of the trail is marked.

The weather hasn’t always cooperated, and some trails have been re-routed.

”We’ve had some sections of trail that have been under water since the spring,” Ricco said.

Ricco said the trail marking should be completed by the end of autumn.

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