horses on squirrel gap...4/21/11- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mcd
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    uh, uh...oh, i forget
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    horses on squirrel gap...4/21/11

    first of all i don't want this to be some kinda flame war...

    4 horses rode squirrel gap today...is there anyone we can report this to or talk to this about...
    the middle section is still off limits to horses right???

    i encountered the riders on mullinax, and i'm not 100% sure they were the culprits(i also saw a family riding later on mullinax as well.. so didn't want to be confrontational, and since we were no longer on an illegal trail i didn't say anything, they did say they had gotten lost...

    ride with your mouth closed...
    Last edited by mcd; 04-21-2011 at 06:26 PM.
    disclaimer: i (NO LONGER) live with my mom...

  2. #2
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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    Not always the easiest thing to do, but did you nicely ask if they are aware that horses are not allowed? Two things.....1) If they are genuinely ignorant of the trail status they may actually appreciate the information or 2) they are fully aware of what they are doing and in that case they are reminded others are noticing them and thier actions.
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  3. #3
    drunken pirate
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    Horses are allowed on Squirrel from Bradley Creek to Laurel Creek (as well as Horse Cove to Wolf Ford) if they passed Laurel Creek and then turned around they very well could have really been lost or missed their turn. Most horses poaching Squirrel are doing the whole trail...

    I never hesitate to politely tell equestrians when they are on a trail they are not supposed to be on. I was on Black one day explaining how they are not supposed to be on Barnett or Black and how it could be dangerous for all users when I noticed they were all open carrying pistols (little .22's, lol) so maybe you shouldn't do what I do.

    If you are looking to report them I'm pretty sure there is some sort of ranger station or something somewhere.
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  4. #4
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    I noticed horse tracks the first time I rode the "New" Squirrel. Maybe they think it was reworked just for them.

    ride with your mouth closed...
    I noticed they were all open carrying pistols (little .22's, lol) so maybe you shouldn't do what I do.

    Sounds like these horse riders are like Seinfeld street toughs on Puerto Rican day!

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  5. #5
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    are squirrels allowed on horse gap trail?

  6. #6
    And He was Not
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    Just once I would like to...





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  7. #7
    H8 H8 H8
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    they were all open carrying pistols (little .22's, lol) so maybe you shouldn't do what I do.

    .
    Trivia - A Ruger Single Six (.22) is basically indistinguishable from a Blackhawk when
    holstered. All them cowboys are carrying single sixes. As far as you know...

    Got to proteck yersef from bahrs... dontcha' know.
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  8. #8
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    Squirrel damage on Horse Gap.



  9. #9
    Jackbooted Elitist Hipstr
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    I'm now a hippophobe

    Rode SG today and really had to make an effort to not be consumed with nasty thoughts about horseback riders. Not sure if it was the same tracks as the OP saw, but they looked really fresh to me. I rode the length of SG to the river and followed a steady stream of horse crap, post hole hoofprints, and skinny trail apexes that had been nicked or completely busted down the side of the hill. I was amazed at the amount of damage to the new trailwork. If they keep it up, it will only be a matter of months before we're back to where we were before the work started.

    I was really hoping to come across the poachers for a nice teachable moment.

    I can't decide if I was more grouchy about the trail damage or the poo flinging in my face. I never feel like I'm riding up to the level of SG as a trail unless I'm a hypoxic mouth breather riding as fast as I can, and that just doesn't go well with feces.

    It was a spectacular day though, and I finally got over myself and had a blast.




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  10. #10
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    Not to bag on anybody, but if you don't complain to the Rangers and contact local horse clubs about your (respectful) disappointment, then this is all wasted energy.

    I've already complained to the rangers, but will do so again. I just sent a message to a local club. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's complaining.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Not to bag on anybody, but if you don't complain to the Rangers and contact local horse clubs about your (respectful) disappointment, then this is all wasted energy.

    I've already complained to the rangers, but will do so again. I just sent a message to a local club. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's complaining.
    Not too bad at making frames either.

  12. #12
    endorphin junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Not to bag on anybody, but if you don't complain to the Rangers and contact local horse clubs about your (respectful) disappointment, then this is all wasted energy.

    I've already complained to the rangers, but will do so again. I just sent a message to a local club. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's complaining.
    Excellent reply. I can't help but think that education and reminders would go a long way, especially if it is respectful and educational, not confrontational.

    Couple of thoughts. First, it seems to me if there is a part of a trail that has a different use than other parts of the same trail, then there is a great potential for confusion over what is allowed and what is not (yes.. even if there are little pictures on signposts). As we've seen in another thread about the new Pisgah maps, there is confusion regarding a few trails as to what's legal, when they are legal (seasonal), etc. I'm sure there are horseback riding forums where the same discussions happen and there may just be bad information going around.

    Also, forgive my ignorance, but I am wondering why the "middle" part of a trail would be of different use than other parts? Seems to me that is way more likely to result in illegal usage, either out of ignorance or intentionally.

    I hate to admit it, but if I came across two sections of a trail that was bike legal and the middle was hiker only, I'd probably be inclined to just go through (depending on what my alternatives were), especially if I saw bunches of knobby tracks running through the hiker only portion. FWIW, there's a lot of that going on in Bent Creek on the non-designated hiker-only trails I run on.
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  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    - The middle of Squirrel Gap remains closed to horses( despite their constant lobbying efforts to open it) because the tread is not sustainable for equestrian traffic.
    - When PAS initially formed, there was no formal work being done by mountain bikers in Pisgah District.
    - Our first priority was to adopt the middle section of Squirrel. At that same time, the equestrian equivalent of PAS (Generally good people, btw. Their president, Tom (??) is also the chair of the volunteer group for Pisgah district and has come out to PAS work days in the past) was working to adopt the trail so they could do the work in exchange for opening it to horses. To give you an idea of hard the equestrians were pushing for the trail to be opened, the US representative at the time (Charles Taylor) was being lobbied.
    - Fortunately, USFS management seems to agree that the middle part of the trail is not sustainable for horse traffic and PAS was "given" this portion of Squirrel. As I've said before, this also helped us have a voice in what recent contract work ended up looking like.

    Why do equestrians want this trail open and why do they "poach" it? Look at a map. Four very popular starting points for horse rides (Turkey Pen, Wolf Ford/Gauging Station/ Horse Cove, Bradley/5015/Laurel, and the actual stables) can all be connected by using Squirrel Gap. Horses have to go miles around because the trail is closed. So, yes, the temptation is obvious.

    Thought some history might be useful, so there it is. I've always argued that we should leave some of the downed trees down on Squirrel specifically because it makes it less convenient for the horse riders, maybe even positioning some to act as gates, but what do I know...

  14. #14
    drunken pirate
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    I can understand equestrians wanting that stretch of trail opened to them. Imagine if it was closed to bikes.... That being said the recent damage caused by horses is hard to overlook and is a little disappointing to see but is not limited to the stretch between Laurel Creek and Horse Cove, in fact the damage is the worst between Mullinax Gap and Laurel Creek. If tread is the reason for the closure then horses should be kept off that stretch as well....

    But here is a question: why do bikers have such problems with horses? Yeah, they sh*t in the woods and tear up the trails but so do bikers... It seems to me that we all are (or should be) on the same side. I'd like to see bikers try and gain access to a couple of very nice hiking only trails that are only closed to bikes due to tread issues and I'd rather know to expect horses on all of Squirrel rather than encounter them poaching...
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  15. #15
    endorphin junkie
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    Thanks for the history and edumakayshun. This stuff is all new to me so I appreciate the chance to get a better understanding. Wow... tough issue.
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  16. #16
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    Horses don't kill trail. People with horses kill trail.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobovedo
    tough issue.
    It IS a tough issue. I tend to be libertarian about stuff, and I hate to see anybody shut out of using public land, whether it's mtbs or horses, and I sure don't want to be a hypocrite about it.

    But I was shocked by the damage I saw on Squirrel last Saturday. The deep post holes in the trail, and the places where the downhill side of the trail was being scraped away by horse hooves. Previous to Sat, I thought horses really only damaged stream crossing.

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