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Open Letter of Support for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area

posted Aug 27, 2013, 2:31 PM by Ken Carpenter

Hello Diane

The members of the Glacial Drumlin Horse Trail Association have requested that our group go on record as supporting Option 3 of the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area Master Plan. We are an advocacy group supporting recreational trails. While we may focus on trails for horse back riding we support the use of recreational trails by all user groups. We are a strong supporter of proper trail design and construction of non-urban shared use trails that can allow a mix of users within the trail corridor and on the same tread as well. We are the organization that first brought the Trail Design Special's Trail Training course Wisconsin 8 years ago. We have partnered each year with DNR Parks and the Wisconsin Horse Council to offer this education to both volunteers as well as those involved with trails as a profession. Our course this year was held in July.

This area provides a unique setting for recreational trails. Many people enjoy riding horses through the planned grasslands to experience what once was in this area. The trails maybe will remind riders of the great grassland horse trails in Nebraska and Kansas.

In Wisconsin, horse back riding for pleasure is a mid-aged person past time. Our youth are still involved in various forms of mounted competition as we were when we were younger. Now that we are older we have returned to our passion of the outdoors. However, we find that we are handicapped by bad knees, bad backs and our weight which makes it difficult to hike and bike ride as we once did. Many of us have returned to more rural lifestyle and have brought horses back into our lives. Trail riding allows us to marry our passion for the outdoors with our love of our horses. We find that horse back riding allows us an up close view of wildlife because wildlife view horses as a natural part of environment and the wildlife isn't afraid. We hope that using horses here will allow the same viewing opportunity.

There are only several minor horse trails in Sauk County. More recreational horse back riding opportunities are needed in the area. Trail riders in Wisconsin primarily come from the rural agricultural sections of our state. Horse back riding as been part of rural life in our state since before the settlers arrived into our area. Providing horse trail in this area will draw riders from around the state and could be a designation for those wishing to experience this new area from outside our state.

We prefer this option because it is the best use of the entire property. It is great that the restoration takes place. But access is needed to participate in what the area has to offer. Recreational trails are a perfect way to provide the needed access to designations away from the roadways. Educational experiences can be designed to educate all recreational user groups as they recreate. This option allows for interaction and education with all user groups.

Ken Carpenter

President of the Glacial Drumlin Horse Trail Association, inc