We like horses. We really do! They are big, bold and majestic, and we have a profound respect for the bond that certain folks have with their horses. Individually, horses are not the issue, the problem comes with large numbers of horses and riders. The dramatic increase in the trail ride industry has led to hundreds of additional riders, creating unchecked erosion on undesignated trails, polluting the rivers with excrement that, at times, exceed the river’s ability to carry it. It’s a problem that has gotten out of hand and the National Park Service knows it. That is why their preferred alternative plan, labeled Alternative B, addresses this directly. It proposes to limit horses to designated equestrian trails only (right now, there are no designated horse trails on the Upper Current River). By concentrating and controlling trail riding to certain trails and certain river crossings, the park can bring some measure of management to a significant problem.
Of course there is much more that could be done, including a permit system for individual riders and commercial outfitters, but for now, we support the park’s preferred Alternative B as the best option.