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Firebreaks and dangerous footing?

If you address the issue with park management, I wouldn’t be surprised if they banned horses altogether because they will see them as a problem they don’t want to be bothered with. People already freak out over the manure issue and don’t want horses on trails, the footing thing just might add more fuel to the fire. IDK. I’d proceed cautiously. Not saying don’t talk to Park Management, but just don’t pick this as a hill to die on.


That’s why a back country riders organization that can bring diplomacy, cash, and person power to helping solve an issue and represents a significant user group is the best way to deal with this.


Before you do anything to those fire breaks ( including trying to smooth them over ) please reach out to park management and discuss what you want to do . A lot of planning goes into fire mitigation/ fuel reduction and there is probably a good reason why those breaks are where they are ( including water shed and archeology concerns ) . Remember those breaks are not just to help stop fire from spreading but they are also a safety zone for fire personnel if fires does break out. You can potentially be creating a dangerous situation for firefighters if you mess with those breaks without discussing it with park management first .


Obviously firebreaks are necessary and I doubt OP thinks otherwise.

When you pull up trees, the root systems leave big holes that backfill doesn’t fully fill and as soil settles and rainwater percolates, it can create pockets of subterranean “caverns” from the removed tree throws. Sometimes these tree throws are invisible to the naked eye. They are dangerous to walk over - the comments saying “just don’t trot” maybe aren’t conceptualizing how the footing might look solid but underneath be a five foot hole. If a whole swath of treeline has been removed, that’s a lot of upended earth. I have had a horse fall into one of these at the walk and it was genuinely scary; I am lucky he didn’t break a leg. We were walking along a familiar trail when both his front feet went straight through earth and he was knee deep in a sudden exposed hole. What we didn’t know walking on the trail was that the roots of a recently removed oak tree 5ft off the trail went under the trail system and the footing collapsed as we walked over it.

OP, I would ask your local park management what you can do to make that section of trail safe for passage. It’s unlikely they can groom the whole swath of firebreak, but they should be able to locate chokepoints where traffic is highest, and you and other concerned equestrians could collaborate to go out there on a designated volunteer day and rake and pound a designated crossing spot.


I think you bring up some excellent points and the OP is within her rights to go to park management. Having said that the OP will want to be really careful about how she approaches park management, and right now she sounds just a touch entitled. Fire mitigation and personal safety will always trump leisure activities .