One popular outdoor recreation activity that uses trails is trail riding. By definition, trail riding is all riding on natural trails and roads using horses, mountain bikes, motorcycles, and other motorized all-terrain vehicles. There are a number of trail associations and competitions held throughout the country all year-a testament to the popularity of this outdoor activity.
One of the controversies surrounding trail riding centers on the sports impact on natural trails and roads. Environmental conservationists argue that trail riding may result in the excessive and improper use of natural trails and roads. They also claim that trail riders may unintentionally bring with them noxious seeds that can harm the ecosystem of a specific trail.
These fears are not unjustified, but closing natural trails and roads to trail riding is not the correct way to address these issues Trail riders know that. So what can they do to help protect trail riding areas? Here are some things that trail riders can do to help protect trail riding areas:
Join a trail riding group or association. Most trail riding associations have their own trail conservation programs and commit to performing trail maintenance hours every year. They also have their own internal rules that guide their members on how to behave safely and responsibly when trail riding. In addition, they hold educational events that teach the public, particularly those interested in the sport, on how to become in stewards of the trails that they trod upon.
Keep abreast of developments concerning trail riding. Look out for news and developments related to trail riding. Keep your ears open to any talk about trail riding within your community, especially any rumors of negative action against trail riding and riders.
In addition, look out for legislation that will affect trail riding and related activities. For this, it will be better to keep a close watch on your local trail council. Also, watch out for new and improved ways to lessen the impact of trail riding on the environment.
Be an advocate of trail riding. Help your local trail committee to promote responsible trail riding, in particular, and the use of trails, in general. They may need you to volunteer or act as a resource speaker when they conduct information campaigns in schools and small communities. By helping your local trail committee increase public awareness of trails, you get more chances to promote trail riding as environment-friendly recreational activity.
Build a partnership with local conservationists. If your trail riding association is holding a trail riding competition, it would be wise to seek the advice of the local conservation group on how to conduct the competition with less impact on the environment. Not only will this facilitate a good working relationship between trail riders and conservationists, it will also show the community that your group is sincere in its concern for the environment.
Widen your network to include other users of the trails. Trail riders are not the only ones who use trails. Hikers, backpackers, and campers do, too. Reach out to the local groups representing these trail users. Perhaps you can even encourage you local trail riding association to collaborate in carrying out trail conservation programs.