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Category: Trails Archives

A Special Message To The New Homeowner From The Farmer Next Door

May 2001 Welcome to the country! I know you moved out here because you wanted to “get away” from the problems of the inner suburbs, because you wanted a quieter life, and because you wanted a safer place to raise your kids. I know you purchased that particular home because it over looks my farm. But please be aware that a farm is a business. Now that you are here, don’t tell me or complain to the county council that you don’t like my equipment starting up at dawn. You did not move next to parkland, you moved next door to a business, and dawn is when farm business starts. I am sorry that you don’t always care for our “fresh farm air;” the smell of manure or fertilizer is part of the business, and, after all, you moved next door to my business. Please don’t honk at me and make rude hand gestures when your car ends up behind my thresher. I know that the equipment is slow and cumbersome, but that is just the way it is. Remember, you were the one who thought the narrow two lane roads out here were quaint and relaxing, until they made you late. If it is a sunny warm day, chances are, no matter what day of the week it is, we will be working, so I advise that you...

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Land Issues for the Horse Owner/Non-Land Owner

May 2001 Q. I Don’t Own A Farm, And I Can Ride On Parkland, So How Does Ag Preservation Directly Benefit Me? A. Without Farms, You Will Pay Higher Homeowner Taxes You don’t have to be a farmer or be wealthy to appreciate the need for ag land preservation. Because one answer (there are so many) to the title question is that, without agriculture (and, without commercial zones), every one’s pocket book will be affected. In fact, if you are in the middle to upper middle class tax brackets, this answer is even more important to you, because without good land planning that includes both agriculture and commercial zones in addition to residential zones, you will end up paying more in taxes. The reasons we need to preserve agriculture lands go beyond a pure sentimentality for “the simple life,” or mere romantic yearning for a bucolic environment. Yes, we as horse people want and desire (but we don’t “need”) access to open lands. However, our wants and desires are not going to impress the politicians or urban planners. Face it, urban planners are responsible for creating our counties’ master plans–and they are not “urban-rural” planners, they are “urban” planners. The majority of horse people do not own large spreads to help protect rural land. In Maryland, the majority of horse people–you, our Equiery readers, either own a “farmette” (which...

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Landowner Liability

May 2001 Are you a landowner afraid to let trail riders or foxchasers cross your property for fear of liability? Or, are you a trail rider trying to convince a nervous landowner that you don’t present a liability risk? In general, the state of Maryland wants to encourage owners of large open land holdings (both cultivated and uncultivated lands) to allow access to their land by recreational users, such as trail riders. Therefore, the legislature passed laws protecting the landowner from certain liabilities in order to encourage them to open their lands. Title 5, Subtitle 11 of the Natural Resources Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, states “The purpose of this subtitle is to encourage any owner of land to make land…available to the public for any recreational and educational purpose by limiting the owner’s liability toward any person who enters on land…for these purposes. The owner of land who directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge, person to use the property for any recreational purpose does not, by this action extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose; confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed; or assume responsibility for or incur liability as a result of any injury to the person or property caused by an act of omission of the...

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A Preservation Primer

May 2001 Ag Land Preservation? Open Space Conservation? Environmental Easements? Historic Trusts? What The Heck Are All These Programs? In general, preservation and conservation programs are solutions to land planning problems created by a dynamic and growing population. In areas of the country that are not struggling with burgeoning population issues and development pressure, you will not find too many of these programs. In Maryland however, these issues and pressures are daily concerns, as our tiny state is wrapped around two major metropolises (Baltimore and Washington, D.C.), which are part of a chain of cities strung up and down the east coast, all of which are getting larger and creeping closer together. Preservation programs tend to be created after something has already become a problem. In Maryland’s case, community leaders began to realize that we were in danger of paving over all of our open lands if we didn’t do something about it, perhaps developing all the available land might not be such a hot idea. At stake were (and still are) a variety of issues, not the least of which was quality of life in the state, maintaining habitats, convenient food sources and a practical tax base mix of rural with other uses. In many cases throughout the state, master plans were already set, and community leaders realized that landowners faced tremendous economic pressures to develop. So the...

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What to Pack for Your Trail Riding Vacation

Getting ready for a trail riding vacation? Here are some great tips from Darley Newman on what to bring. Darley’s Sample Packing List Wherever you’re headed to horseback ride, here are some items to consider not leaving home without: – Riding boots- If you don’t own boots made specifically for riding, boots with a hard sole and about a 1 to 1.5 inch heel will work. You don’t want anything to chunky. The heel is so that your foot doesn’t slide through the stirrups and get caught. It’s a safety thing. Beware of riding in tennis shoes, as these can slip through the stirrup. If you’re excited to dress up in the latest equestrian fashions, get cowboy boots for Western style riding at American ranches or paddock boots (ankle length boots that riders wear with half chaps) for English style excursions in Ireland or beyond. Make sure to break them in and that they fit comfortably before you take off on your riding adventure. If you area headed somewhere tropical or hot or somewhere that you’ll try multiple sports, like hiking or whitewater rafting along with riding, you’ll want to consider all terrain-riding boots that you can wear in and out of the saddle. In somewhere like the rainforest, you may be riding through rivers and water. I did this in Costa Rica and was glad that I had...

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$$$ For Your Trail Projects

May 2001 The Recreational Trails Program was first established in 1991, later reauthorized under the name ISTEA (Inter-Surface Transportation Equity Act) and most recently reauthorized as TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century). This law mandates that a portion of federal gasoline taxes generated by non-highway recreation be returned to the states for trail-related purposes. Currently, the program receives $50 million in annual funding. A recent report shows that, nationally, trails servicing hikers receive 56% of the funds, mountain bikers 43%, walkers (don’t ask us why they are in a separate category from hikers) 38%, equestrians 28%, cross country skiers 27%, snowmobiling 24%, runners 24%, bikers 19%, ATVs 19%, ORV 15%, and so on. Trails that service multiple-uses are clearly benefiting the most, as these percentages demonstrate overlap. For the current fiscal year, the Maryland Department of Transportation allocated about $600,000 in funding. Both equestrian groups which applied received monies: $15,640 to the Pasadena Horse & Pony Association for equipment rental and trails construction at the Lake Shore Athletic Club, which is part of the Anne Arundel County Park system; $21,480 to the Carroll County Equestrian Council for equipment purchases for existing trail maintenance in Carroll County Parks. Groups must work through their park systems in order to apply. Unfortunately, if that particular park system does not consider your equestrian trail project a priority, it won’t get funded....

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