CRAHTAC Meeting Monday February 13 - Your Emails Needed by Thursday February 9TH @ 5:00 PM
We hope you survived the storms of last month and are digging out or otherwise able to recover from the flood. Our hearts go out to those that were adversely affected. More on how the storms affected the Live Oak Trail will follow at a later date, but first the most pressing issue:
The Santa Barbara County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Council (CRAHTAC) will meet this Monday, February 13, 2023, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM via Zoom.
Zoom Webinar Link:
IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT EQUESTRIANS SEND AN EMAIL AND ATTEND THIS MEETING IF YOU CAN! At this meeting there will be a discussion of “Multi-use Trail” policy, what it is (or is not – as County staff was asked for written policy that requires multi-use trails and apparently there is none), how it’s been applied in the past, and what the definition and policy will be going forward in the Recreation Master Plan.
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT AND CUT AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING INTO AN EMAIL TO:
If you also wish to speak at the meeting please send an email to George and ask to speak on item number 7b, Multi Use Trail Policy on the CRAHTAC agenda (or any other you may wish to discuss).
Your opinion and response counts! Thank you all for taking a minute to respond to this critical issue and to keep our equestrian trails!
You're welcome to cut and paste the following message into your email, edit as you'd like and send to George:
RE: 2/13/2023 CRAHTAC Agenda Item VII b. Multi-use Trail Policy
Dear CRAHTAC Members:
I am an equestrian who wishes to see equestrian trail riding promoted in Santa Barbara County through the policies being developed for the Santa Barbara County Recreation Master Plan. I wish to see the Trail Policy for the County clearly state that it is the policy of Santa Barbara County to provide for (please place a check mark by your preference):
____ Separate trails for one recreational trail user (i.e. separate equestrian trails),
____ Dual user trails for compatible uses (i.e., equestrian and hiker)
____ Multi-Use Trails (status quo) - all users on all trails.
____ Other ____________________________________________________
Separating trails by allowing some users some days and other users other days is not a viable option for sharing trails. It is not enforceable and there is not staff nor funding available to monitor for violations. We see this now with the “trail rules” to yield to equestrians. Typically, this results in equestrian rider attrition from trails and experience has dictated that mountain bikes take over. Please take this option off the table.
Thank you for your time and attention to this issue. We've seen in the past how policies intended to enhance and expand equestrian trails are misapplied; how special interests can take over our trails and derail the current policies that we thought were in place to protect equestrian recreational activities.
We are hopeful that the equestrian community will be fully involved and consulted for any changes or additions to the policies guiding the future of our trails.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
YOUR NAME CITY/TOWN/AREA
Defining “trail policy” is particularly important to equestrians as every current policy we could find encourages equestrian trails expansion and notifying the equestrian public and assessing the impacts (both on equestrian access and on the land use – such as grazing) of building new or changing activities on trails. As you’re aware, none of this was done with respect to the Live Oak Trail.
Let CRAHTAC know that the policy must allow one, two, or more trail users depending on the historic and current trail use and surrounding land uses – such as agricultural activities (i.e. grazing).
Please tell CRAHTAC YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Some trail riders prefer equestrian only trails, some hiker/equestrian trails, but all trail riders I’ve talked to do not want mountain bikes, e-bikes or any other mechanized travel on our equestrian trails. Separate trails are a popular answer. You may have more suggestions.
Also, some of the suggestions from the consultant and others are to allow certain days for some users and other days for other users to maximize a trail's use - they're looking at the Live Oak Trail. We feel this is not enforceable because of the behavior and lack of respect for trail rules now by certain groups of users. Such unenforceable requirements mean equestrian trails will be taken over by violators who will be rewarded with yet another trail that was once an equestrian trail.
Remember for this and ANY proposal, please think about how any mix of trail users would be put into practice. Sometimes what seems like a good idea, may result in the end of equestrian trail use when put into action on the trail!
Again, thanks for your quick response!