TRAIL POLICY SURVEY for Santa Barbara County-Equestrians Need to Speak Up NOW (Due April 22, 2022)
Right now, equestrians have a golden opportunity to have your needs and wants heard! Please take a few minutes to take a Trail Policy survey at: https://bit.ly/sbc-trail-survey-01 and record your comments at the end of the survey by April 22nd, 2022.
Unfortunately, space to clarify your responses or comments following each survey question is not provided and it is suggested that you make notes as you move through the survey to make clarifications to your question responses, record your observations, ideas, and other comments and then include them in the Comments Section provided at the end of the survey.
Your input will go onto one of the most important parts of the County-wide Recreation Master Plan (https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/recmasterplan.sbc) that is currently under development: a TRAIL POLICY for the entire the County. The County's Trail Policy, if we take this opportunity and speak up by completing the survey, will be another step toward providing safe and equitable trails for our equestrian riders.
The survey will collect suggestions from equestrians and other trail users. It is important equestrians take the survey to show our numbers, our support, and to provide trail-related suggestions and list your concerns that will go into developing a Trail Policy for the benefit of equestrian trail riders.
The survey is anonymous, and you are invited to forward the link to the survey to interested friends and family and ask them to participate as well.
The following are a few ideas to get you thinking about YOUR concerns:
REPRESENTATION. Equestrians require representation at the trail planning table and have a say in how the trails are designed and operated. Requirements to contact local equestrian organizations and individuals must be included in the Policy - this could be something as simple as requiring notification and outreach to the equestrian community prior to creating new trails or changing existing trails.
SINGLE USE TRAILS. Allow flexibility and allow single use equestrian (separate) trails. In this way, the Policy would ensure rider safety and improve the riders trail ride enjoyment.
TRAIL MANAGEMENT. Require a transparent and inclusive process to develop a trail management plan for any new trail or change to an existing trail in the Policy. This opens the door to even more public participation and transparency, so no one sport, or activity takes over all the trails for their use.
CONFLICT. This is the elephant in the room and has never been addressed for equestrian safety. For any trail, equestrians need to define the parameters of safety for riders and their animals, not long-time held false assumptions (i.e., you can train a horse out of its instincts). Rider concerns must be accepted. Conflict must be addressed, and safety assured, today with mountain bikes and E-Bikes and in the future with other forms of technology that may be introduced.
EQUESTRIAN FACILITIES. Include re-establishment of the County-owned equestrian facilities. For example: Re-establishing the Live Oak Camp Horse Camp for individual and group camping near the Live Oak Trailhead (and described in the Cachuma Recreation Master Plan, 2012).
Your ideas are welcome, so include any issues that are important to you!
The survey questions, and your thoughts about HOW to arrive at a fair, safe and equitable Trail Policy that will represent the interests of equestrians is most important. The Comments section at the end of the survey is the place to clarify survey question responses and to write out your ideas.
Thank you for reading this lengthy but important piece of information and more importantly, thank you for taking the survey and taking the time to include and explain your thoughts and ideas for our trails at: https://bit.ly/sbc-trail-survey-01 .