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Category: County News & Alerts

Worcester plans to include Bridle Trails in Ilia Fehrer Natural Preserve

The 437-acre Ilia Fehrer Nature Preserve, just outside of Berlin, was acquired by Worcester County in 2011 with the assistance of state and federal partners as well as from The Trust for Public Land. The property is located within the 4,000-acre Holly Grove Swamp area and contains the largest section of unprotected forestland in the county, and the county is in the process of creating a stewardship plan, a plan which is to include passive recreational use – such as trail riding. A draft of the plan will be presented to the Worcester County Commissioners in March. After the...

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Maryland Horse Council to “Go Big”

As president Steuart Pittman has quipped, the time has come for the Maryland Horse Council to “go big or go home,” and so, in order to “go big,” MHC is looking to “go pro” by partnering with a professional association management firm. MHC was founded 30 years ago specifically for the purpose of influencing legislators to create a horse park; that horse park is the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. By the time it was five years old, MHC had shifted to a statewide mission: to represent the diverse horse industry at the state level on legislative and regulatory matters. Since the mid-90s, membership and activities have skyrocketed, and as current president Jane Seigler explains, “We’ve kind of become a victim of our own success.” Until 10 years ago, MHC was managed completely by volunteers (disclaimer: for about 15 years, The Equiery actually provided the management services for MHC, and is an ongoing sponsor of MHC). By 2006, MHC had outgrown The Equiery’s ability to manage it as a “volunteer” (i.e., donating our labor and our resources), and so MHC hired its first association manager, Vanessa Finney, who also worked part time for several other associations. Soon one of those associations snapped her up full time. MHC lobbyist Nancy Hill helped bridge the gap until Mythic Landing Enterprises was hired to provide administrative services. This was during the presidency of Steuart Pittman, and...

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Kudos for the WSSC

The Equiery has run editorials critical of WSSC (the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which 6,000 acres around the Patuxent watershed), so – in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it appropriate to run kudos to WSSC! Below, longtime Equiery reader Debby Poole expresses her appreciation to the employees of the WSSC. I wanted to thank the WSSC watershed manager, Eddie Franceschi for another fantastic year of riding the beautiful equestrian trails on the WSSC. I moved to Burtonsville, Maryland onto Belle Cote Drive when I was 15 years old. I got my first horse when I turned...

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Anne Arundel seeks to change its rep to “horse friendly”

The Power of the Press!  In November on and in the December print edition, The Equiery wondered whether Anne Arundel County was becoming “anti-horse” because of various rules and regs that are definitely “horse unfriendly.” Apparently, people within Anne Arundel County government listened! The County Council passed Bill 75-16, which would allow manure composting in rural-ag zoning. Meanwhile, Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks has modified the infamous “bun bag” rule.  According to Cathy Hall, of the Pasadena Horse & Pony Club: The bun-bag rule has been mostly fixed. The new rule is: “Bun bags/manure catchers are only required while riding on or along paved trails.” [My contact within Anne Arundel County government] said the paved trails (B&A and BWI) have become frequently crowded with walkers, bikers, skaters, strollers, wheelchairs, etc.  Apparently the rangers have asked that riders dismount and kick poop off the trail, but it wasn’t always done and pedestrians complained.  I think this fix addresses most of the riders. At least I’ve only heard from people who use the natural trails. Thank you again for posting the new rules on your Facebook page and in the December issue.  That was tremendously helpful with our fight for resolve this!    ...

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Montgomery County Council considers expanding Sunday Deer Hunting

Dear Members of the Montgomery County Council Members: I am the President of the Maryland Horse Council and a resident and landowner in Laytonsville, Montgomery County. I am writing in regards to the County’s consideration of expanding Sunday deer hunting in the County. The Horse Council has been studying and advocating on this issue throughout the state for over 14 years. First off, I want to make it clear that the Horse Council is not opposed to hunting. Many of our members are hunters of deer, other game mammals and game birds. Many Horse Council members are also farmers, and are painfully aware of the enormous crop damage that deer inflict, as well as the problems of vehicle collisions and Lyme disease. Through our years of studying Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data, we are unconvinced that recreational hunting is the best solution for the problem of deer overpopulation. These data reveal that despite expansion of Sunday hunting in some other jurisdictions, deer harvest numbers are dropping. (And given the widely acknowledged “ghost doe” problem, those numbers may actually be artificially inflated.) We have looked at DNR harvest numbers in Carroll and Frederick Counties – two counties that are fairly similar to Montgomery in climate, topography, demographics and development, and which have had a number of Sunday hunting days added in recent years. In both cases, the harvest numbers declined substantially after Sundays were...

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Is Anne Arundel increasingly Horse UN-Friendly?

Tonight, the Anne Arundel County Council will hear public comments on County Bill #75-16 for Zoning and Compost Facilities, a bill that many horse farm owners and managers would like to see pass, as it would that would permit a state-of-the-art composting facility designed to accept horse manure mixed with a small amount of food waste.  However, many county residents are opposing this bill, and are expected to come out en force against the bill tonight. Testifying for the bill tonight will be Steuart Pittman, who along with his family, owns and operates the 550 acre Dodon Farm in Davidsonville. Recently elected as vice-president of the Maryland Horse Council, Steuart Pittman also serves as a director on the Anne Arundel County Farm Bureau and is a District Supervisor of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation. Below is his testimony – and he is encouraging everyone in Anne Arundel County who supports this legislation to either attend tonight’s meeting or let the council know. Meanwhile, The Equiery wants to know: does your county have composting facilities that accept horse manure from off-site? Have there been complaints from neighbors? Please email us as Anne Arundel County, if it values its farmers and its environment, needs to support composting facilities and support Bill 75-16. A top priority of the Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Committee, working closely with Chesapeake Bay Foundation...

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