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wolfhaven

Rail to Trail listed as a horseback riding trail

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I spent a week on my bike doing a combination of paved bike trail, asphalt and gravel roads and the last 130 miles was a rail to trail from central Minnesota ending just over the border about 10 miles in Wisconsin.  It's mainly used by ATV's and snowmobiles but what I found interesting is it's other uses are listed by both states as:  Mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and in Wisconsin they listed fishing.  This trail runs through a few different counties and they seem to have the most control with snowmobile clubs for it's maintenance.  The surface ranged from paved, small gravel (like a gravel road) to railroad ballast rock.  Stop signs, bridges and wetlands were typical very bumpy with the wetlands getting covered with a layer of ballast rock.  It was rough to get across on a bike with 3" tires (nearly a fat bike) and no way would I take my horse on large sections of this trail.  Wisconsin's stretch was the worst for the ballast rock.  A foot deep in places of loose rock.  Wondering who decided to spend the money on that stretch.  

Should the DNR list trails like this as multi-use and for horseback riding?  Why do horse clubs not contest this?  When the DNR brags they have so many hundreds of miles of horse trails and use that as reasoning not to create more or improve other trails so they could be used, that hurts real riding opportunities.  Seems the trail associations just give them a pass.  Is this common everywhere?  

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Listing it is ok, but a caution for those rough areas should be added. At least you HAVE trails. Not all states go even that fr.

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Is there room off to the side of the rock that you could ride? If I lived there, I'd be writing letters to the editors of newspapers about it. Horseback riders usually get the shaft when it comes to state trails. Also, those mixed use trails are sometimes the pits. Kids on motorized vehicles make them dangerous to horses..

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We have a paved bike trail about 8 miles from me, that was a RR track, it runs about 25 miles, & has a dirt trail for horses, next to paved bike trail , that runs about 7 miles,  the rest is to narrow for horses, which is unfortunate as that is most scenic part. We had meetings when this trail was proposed, & complained they were spending alot of money & it should be multi-user trail. But bikes one out, as they add to local economy, more than horses do. PD.

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Gee, were they factoring in all the feed, hay, farriery, vets, trucks and trailers, and all the other things horse people spend money on? How can bikes add more than that?

Edited by noponies

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1 minute ago, noponies said:

Gee, were they factoring in all the feed, hay, farriery, vets, trucks and trailers, and all the other things horse people spend money on? How can bikes add more than that?

No they were factoring in dollars spent at local small business, especially in small convenience stores, where pop, beer, & snacks are sold.  Most of those places don't want any horse manure any place close by.  PD

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No it's not really a false economy.  All those expenses you mentioned don't occur near the trail.  Those occur at home.  Bikers have a strong history of spending money on snacks, soda, bottled water at convenience stores and will stop for burgers and beer in local pubs after or during the ride.  When was the last time a group of twelve horses were tied up outside a local small town pub?  This is why atv's and snowmobiles win all debates over trail usage.  They flood pubs on weekends spending lots of money.  

Is there a town where the local governments and citizens got together and built horse trails that transformed the local economy?  There are several examples where towns or counties have created extensive bike trail systems that have totally revived the local economy.  Crosby, Minnesota is one.  A dead mining town has turned themselves into a major biking destination.  https://www.outsideonline.com/2184491/how-mountain-biking-saving-small-town-usa

The horse industry definitely has a large economic impact in Minnesota.  The U of M determined that expenditures in Minnesota total 530 million dollars (vet, feed, vehicle/trailer maintenance, equipment etc.).  The bike industry in Minnesota is reported by the state generates 778 million dollars and supports 5,500 jobs.  

With the large impact horses have on the economy and the Minnesota DNR reporting 1000 miles of trails in the state already, how do you get them to be honest about the quality and realistic uses for the trails they list?  The Soo Line trail is listed as a horse trail, but it has few miles of the 120 miles that are actually suitable for riding.  Makes me question just how many miles of the 1000 they list are actually usable?

 

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False economy in that state taxes usually go to the trails, and all these things are usually taxed by the state.

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Wolf, We have what they calll the Old Abe trail down our way, it runs from Chippewa Falls to Cornell, WI. horses have use of 7-8 miles of it, where the corridor is wide enough to support second trail. the old Abe trail also connects up with trails in Wissota State Park.  I think it connects with the Red Cedar bike trail going to the west.  I can understand hikers & bikers not wanting to put up with horse manure on a trail, & small business not wanting to put up hitch rails.  I used to belong to a trail club, & we had the most success for trail rights when we developed relationships with state & county officials. No doubt it does get political,, & someone is not going to be happy. PD

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2 hours ago, noponies said:

False economy in that state taxes usually go to the trails, and all these things are usually taxed by the state.

What?  That's not what false economy is.  

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