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Michigan Horse Camp Becomes a Midwestern Draw

July 18, 2011 by · Comments Off on Michigan Horse Camp Becomes a Midwestern Draw 

One of the equestrian trails in the Allegan, Mich., area that is becoming a draw for horseback riders in the Midwest.

The Allegan County Pleasure Riders’ scavenger hunt, on horseback and on foot, at Silver Creek Campground near Hamilton, Mich., is just one example of the swell of activity on the improved system of trails and campgrounds designated for horses at the Allegan State Game area, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

The trails and campgrounds are beginning to attract users from all across the region as word spreads that they are ready for use, said Kevin Ricco, Allegan County director of county development.

“We have 60 miles of horse trails, 30 miles of them accessible through Silver Creek, and an additional 30 miles through Pine Point and Ely Lake,” he said.

Not every site is a designated site for horse camping, but those that are are popular and enthusiastically used.

“The word is getting out and more people are using those trails and campsites,” said Ricco. “There’s no area in the Midwest that can out-compete us. We’ve become a regional draw for equestrian folks. There have been several groups that have wanted to do competitive riding, a mounted orienteering group that searches for caches along the route, another group does endurance riding, part of a national group — they do 25- to 30-mile rides on trails.

“We’re getting more and more of these special events as well as regional activity,” he said.

Ricco said that as state dollars began to dry up, many of the smaller campgrounds were slated for closing.

Ely Lake and Pine Point are still owned by the state, but Allegan County signed lifelong leases to manage them.

Horseback riding on the trails in the Allegan State Game Area was a use that was grandfathered in, Ricco said, but only in specific areas. “With no designated trails, we ended up with a spiderweb of trails,” he said, some going through high erosion areas or those of sensitive ecosystems.

In 2004, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources called a meeting to address those concerns and as a result a “stakeholder team” was assembled with representatives from DNR wildlife, equestrian riders, hunters and Allegan County.

A marked trail system was organized, “but we needed someone else to take on maintenance of the trails,” Ricco said.

“That’s when riders formed the nonprofit FACETS group — Friends of the Allegan County Equestrian Trails.

Jim Commissaris, president of the Allegan County Pleasure Riders, said his group has watched with interest as equestrians in the Pigeon River area work for changes there that would open up state land for equestrian use as well.

“It’s definitely good news,” he said of proposed legislation that would increase access to riders.

Horse Campground Proposed for Central Illinois

October 5, 2009 by · Comments Off on Horse Campground Proposed for Central Illinois 

Plans to develop a new horse campground at Lake Lou Yaeger in central Illinois will be on the agenda for Tuesday’s Litchfield City Council meeting after the council passed a motion to develop plans during the finance meeting at Corwin Hall on Oct. 1.

According to Lake Superintendent Jim Cadwell, the lake has some of the nicest horse trails in central Illinois, but the city does not offer camping facilities that the modern riders require. The new campground would include water and electrical hook-ups and eventually a shower house, according to The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Ill.

Cadwell also mentioned that several riders have expressed interest in volunteering to help with the project. Electricians, plumbers and contractors have said they would help with the construction at a reduced cost to the city. Litchfield must first develop plans in order to obtain a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The motion stated that the cost to have Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Engineering develop a site survey and plans for the horse campground would not exceed $18,000. Alderman Pat Timmons and Robert Ostendorf both expressed concern over the number, saying it sounded excessive.

Cadwell explained that is simply the budgeted amount and any extra would be used for supplies and materials for the project. He also mentioned that he had spoken with Ted LaBelle of CM&T and the cost to develop the plans would be much lower. Cadwell also said that he will be pursuing some grants

City attorney Brad Hantla cautioned Cadwell about the use of volunteer labor, saying that the workers had to be supervised and guidelines had to be followed.

Alderman Bill Dees asked if the number of users for the horse campground would equal the amount of money spent. Mayor Tom Jones said that the trails are used a great deal and if camp sites are added, it would generate more visitors.

Both Cadwell and two individuals who were on hand representing some of the area riders said that the campground would more than pay for itself.

Alderman Harold Ellinger asked if LaBelle could get an estimate of what the plans will cost, to which LaBelle said he would try to do.

Kentucky State Park to Add Horse Camping Sites

August 19, 2009 by · Comments Off on Kentucky State Park to Add Horse Camping Sites 

Carter Caves State Resort Park near Olive Hil, Ky., is getting $1.3 million from the state to build horse camping sites in the park, according to a news release from the office of First Lady Jane Beshear.

The project is in the design phase and will include the construction of eight to 12 full-service sites for horse camping, according to the release. The new sites will be added along an equestrian trail that covers 10 miles in the park, the Huntington, W. Va. Herald-Dispatch reported.

“This will make a great addition for Carter Caves State Resort Park and this region,” Beshear said. “This is a beautiful part of the state, and horse enthusiasts will enjoy visiting and camping here.”

Funding for the project was included in a $60 million bond approved several years ago by the Kentucky General Assembly for state park improvements.

The state park currently has 89 improved campsites with water and electric hookups. Twenty of the sites also have sewage hookups. There are another 31 primitive campsites and two bunkhouses that can house up to 24 people.

The park also includes 26 miles of hiking trails, a lodge, golf course, swimming, boating, fishing and horseback riding.

The state park is located 40 miles west of Huntington W. Va.

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