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Category: State Agencies

WSSC Holiday Gifts!

submitted by Barbara Sollner-Webb New Multi-Use Trail & New Parking Lot The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) has opened a new year-round trail for horseback riding, hiking and birdwatching – but NOT for biking.  This new trail is located on the Montgomery County side of WSSC’s Tridelphia Reservoir, on their Access Road (a.k.a. “Firebreak” or “perimeter road”), and extends from Tridelphia Lake Road (near Georgia Avenue/Rt 97) to Green Bridge Road (near Brighton Dam Road). WSSC has also constructed a new parking lot on Triadelphia Lake Road (access from Georgia Avenue/Rt 97, just north of New Hampshire Ave/Rt 650), suitable for six to eight horse trailers.  From there to the Green Bridge Road end of the trail and back makes about a 9 mile trail ride.  Once the reservoir reopens for public access on March 15, the upper parking lot at Green Bridge Road (access from New Hampshire Ave/Rt 650, just west of Brighton Dam Road) will be open to horse trailers as well, providing access to the riding trail from both ends. Please note that this is a pilot program, and WSSC will reassess it next fall.  We have to be sure to NOT abuse the riding privilege — to NOT ride there when the ground is wet, to NOT bushwhack off the approved trail (including NOT riding WSSC’s land to Georgia Avenue/Rt 97, which could encourage bikers to...

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$$$ for Grants & Great Ideas!

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) is now accepting grant applications for research, educational and promotional projects that support horses or the equestrian community, or develop new opportunities for the Maryland horse industry. Organizations eligible for MHIB grants include (but are not limited to) non-profit organizations, clubs and associations, businesses, farms and licensed stables, government entities, schools and educational institutions. Projects of interest to the Board include (but are not limited to) those that develop new opportunities and coincide with the board’s mission to increase awareness and growth of the Maryland horse industry. Projects are evaluated for their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of activity, financial need, potential for matching funds, benefits, and quality of the written presentation. Individual requests should not exceed $3,000. The average grant amount is approximately $1,200. In 2014, 28 projects received $30,000 in grant allocations. Funding for these grants and for the MHIB is provided by “The Maryland Feed Fund,” which was established by the General Assembly in 2002. The refundable $6 per ton assessment on equine feed costs about $3 per horse to the horse owner and supports this grant program as well as other promotional, research and outreach activities undertaken by the MHIB. Since the grants program started, the board has awarded more than 250 grants totaling nearly $325,000. “Horses are a critical component to Maryland’s agricultural industry....

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National Parks mean $212.7 Million for Maryland

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 6,615,155 visitors to national parks in Maryland spent $212.7 million dollars and supported 2,689 jobs in the state in 2013. “The national parks in Maryland attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, acting regional director, said. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.” Some (not all) of the national parks in Maryland allow horses, such as Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Of course, there is also the Assateague Island National Seashore with the ponies. The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion. According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was...

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Miller and Busch receive Horse Council Awards; Governor signs Western MD Sunday Hunting Bills

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch were presented with the Maryland Horse Council’s 2014 Leadership Awards in Annapolis at the Maryland Department of Agriculture. MHC President Jane Seigler and Legislative Committee Chair Steuart Pittman presented the awards in front of over 50 horse people during the Horse Council’s quarterly meeting. The awards were given in appreciation of President Miller’s and Speaker Busch’s leadership in the Maryland General Assembly, and their willingness to give a thoughtful ear and respectful consideration to all of the issues presented to them by Horse Council, most notably in this session the issue of expanded Sunday deer hunting. With the help of senate and house leadership and lobbyist Frank Boston, MHC was successful in defeating efforts that would have increased the number of Sundays for deer hunting in Southern Maryland.  Unfortunately, efforts failed to stop the expansion elsewhere, and yesterday Governor Martin O’Malley signed the two bills authorizing expanded Sunday hunting in Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties. While there has been a steady march of additional Sunday deer hunting on private land hither and thither throughout Maryland since 2003, this is the first time Sunday hunting has been expanded to include public lands. Meanwhile, representatives from the Department of Natural Resources continue to insist that these laws will help them control excessive numbers of white-tailed deer, and...

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Protecting the Privacy of Nutrient Management Plans

From the Maryland Farm Bureau On Monday, May 5th the Maryland Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case concerning the release of Nutrient Management plan information that dates back to 2008. Maryland Farm Bureau has been involved in this litigation on behalf of our members in an effort to preserve the intent of the confidentiality provisions of the 1998 Water Quality Improvement Act. The 1998 law was the result of compromise on all sides. Our side compromised by agreeing to bring all farmers under the nutrient management requirement, rather than just target livestock operations, as is the case in other states. In return, the legislature agreed that the program would be regulated by the Maryland Department of Agriculture rather than Environment and that nutrient management plans that are submitted to MDA would be kept confidential. In 2008, the Waterkeeper Alliance filed a Public Information Act request with MDA to gain access to NMPs. Maryland Farm Bureau intervened in court to prevent the release of identifying information. The court ruled that farmer data was confidential. In 2010, the Waterkeeper Alliance filed a follow-up PIA demanding the NMPs and requested the Court hold the Secretary in contempt for not releasing the documents. Farm Bureau went back to court, won a temporary injunction, and argued the finer points of the PIA and NM laws. The Circuit Court and the Court of...

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New Marketing Opportunity for Equine Events

If you organize an equine-related spectator event in Maryland, then you will appreciate the relationship that the Maryland Horse Industry Board has established with the Maryland Office of Tourism. The result of this partnership is a special section on for promoting horse events. It is easy to include your event on the site! First go to   Select “Find Events” (see illustration)                     Search on “horse” to narrow the type of events; and then select “Add Events.”           Last step: create an account! (Don’t worry, there is not cost to set up an account.)  After that, enter as many events as you would like!  ...

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