Care of Horse Trails and Campgrounds
Information and pictures courtesy of the MN Department of Natural Resources
Are You Using Horse Recreation Areas Responsibly?
DID YOUR HORSE DO THIS?
When horses gnaw off tree bark, it is certain death for the tree. Bark is a tree's only defense against the world, protecting it from heat and cold, insects and disease. The thin layer of cells directly under the bark is responsible for transporting water and nutrients from the soil to all parts of the tree. It also transports food made by the leaves to the roots and other cells throughout the tree. Without intact bark, this layer of cells essential to the tree's life is destroyed.
Tying a horse to or near trees, shrubs and other vegetation will cause injury to their root systems. Compaction of soil due to horses and vehicles closes soil pores and deprives roots of oxygen, moisture, and growing space. Root systems are valuable because they transport essential water and nutrients throughout the rest of the plant in order that it may survive. Damage to root systems and compaction of soil results in the premature death of trees and plants.
WILL THIS TRAIL ENDURE?
Shortcutting switchbacks and using unsound water crossings causes irreparable damage. Trails will soon become unusable as erosion takes its toll due to abusive practices. Respecting established trails is the only way to preserve them for future use.
When DNR personnel spend time cleaning up after you, it is time not spent on other projects. Clean up manure and unused hay. Place in manure pit, if provided, or take it with you.
Build fires only in designated fire rings. Do not leave unburned refuse behind. Leave campsites as you would like to find them.
Take your garbage with you and dispose of it appropriately. Do not dispose of garbage in manure pits. DNR staff are unable to field spread manure mixed with garbage. Remember to RECYCLE.
What Should I Do?
• Set a good example for other campers. Act responsibly and enjoy your stay.
• Respect private property boundaries, gates, and fences.
• Ride so as not to make trails unnecessarily wider.
• Do not shortcut on switchbacks or cross waters except at designated crossings.
(from MR 6100.0100 to 6100.2400)
Damage: Don't damage trees or vegetation. Tie horses only to designated posts and picket lines. If you tie a horse to a trailer, park away from trees.
Litter: Clean up hay and manure left by your horse. Deposit in manure pits that are provided. Deposit garbage in designated receptacles. If none are provided, take it with you when you leave.
Camping: Horses are prohibited from being in state campgrounds or parks, unless posted to allow use by horses. If camping on undeveloped state forest lands, leave no trace.
Corrals: Portable corrals may be set up only if they do not cause others to be excluded from using the area. Do not set up corrals in the woods or near trees or bushes.
Trail riding: In state parks and the Richard J. Dorer forest, horses must stay on designated trails. In other state forests, horses may use any trail that is not posted closed.
Signs: Observe official postings. These have the force of law and are placed to protect the land and assure orderly use of trails and facilities.
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