Notes from the Office for March 2018
By Jocelyn Adams
On The Trails: About Horse Council BC’s Recreation Department
Recreational riding and driving is important to many thousands of Canadians, and these Canadians rely on public lands and trails to pursue the outdoor activities they love. Here in British Columbia, from day outings to multi-week pack trips, horsemen are making full use of our spectacular open spaces. Horse Council BC’s Recreation Department exists to support those riders and drivers, with funding for trail improvement projects, current information and education, resource materials for loan or purchase, and promoting recreational rider’s issues with government and other decision makers. Through our various programs, our goal is always to address recreational rider’s needs.
Share the Trails themed annual workshops were launched by HCBC, and are now produced in partnership with the Outdoor Recreation Council. Since 2011, the annual event has brought together hundreds of trail users from all around BC with the aim of promoting harmony on our province’s trails. In 2017, 45 members of the trails community, including riders, hikers, cyclists, and motorized mode users convened in Penticton to discuss the issues facing rail trails in terms of shared use. From the day’s discussions a working group has formed, developing a set of proven principles that regional advisory groups can use to help the users in their areas make the most of their trails in ways that benefit all users. Share the Trails 2018 planning is underway and promises to be another well attended and successful workshop.
The BC Equestrian Trails Fund (BCETF) was established by Horse Council BC’s Recreation Department to offer financial support to member groups working on projects that will improve public trail use for all riders. Since 2011 the Fund has disbursed over $175,000 in funding for projects including trail reconstruction, trailhead improvements, bridge construction, trail map kiosks, and many more. The BCETF is made up of donations from individuals and corporations, plus funds allocated to it by HCBC’s Board of Directors. The deadline for applications for BCETF funding in 2018 is April 1st.
Our Trails Database was updated in 2017, with a new look and enhanced functionality. Phase 2 planning, in partnership with Back Country Horsemen of BC (BCHBC), is underway now, with the intent to add GPX (GPS Exchange Format) exportable files to each trail. This project depends on the GPS mapping assistance of our trail riding membership, and we’re exploring ways to assist riders in assisting us to create a data-rich trails database, useful not only as a map but in right-to-ride discussions with government and other influencers.
The Ride & Drive Rewards program is a rewards program primarily geared to the recreational rider or driver, although all hours in the saddle or in the driver’s seat count toward rewards, whether on the trails or in the arena. Milestones of 100 hours through 5,000 hours are rewarded with great merchandise, badges and chevrons representing the levels the member has reached. It’s a fun and rewarding way to track your hours spent with your horse, and useful for training purposes too. With no age limits, the Ride & Drive program has members from 8 to 80!
The Recreation Department at Horse Council BC is working for you, the trail riders and drivers of BC. We’re always interested in your ideas! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The accompanying photos were all submitted to the HCBC’s Focus on Trails Photo Contest 2017.
For more information, please visit the Horse Council BC website.
Annie Fercho pictured in main photo.