View Full Version : Wilderness Horse Trails?

01-27-2010, 10:22 PM
This week's Orange County newspaper has a bulletin announcing the formation of a group that wants to pursue the reestablishment of horseback riding trails on the Wilderness Battlefield, initially, and then the rest of the area National Military Park units. They cite the fact that there are riding trails at Gettysburg, Manassas, and Petersburg NMPs.

The horse owners lobby has a wide base of support that has the finances and acceptability to influence many government agencies and legislators. They would make a great ally for the battlefield preservation movement.

Even though I see the benefits of having more people who have a stake in preserving the battlefields, I can't quite get behind the idea of expanding the use of the parks for a purely recreational function. Oh, there are probably some of you out there who would appreciate the opportunity to view the terrain from the back of a horse. However, I believe most trail users will be drawn because it will be a convenient place to ride.

The parks in the area already have a lot of recreational use. Joggers are almost always present on Lee Drive in Fredericksburg. The last time I was at Manassas, there were more people fishing and picnicking than looking at the monuments. I wonder if the need to maintain and control these recreational uses of the parks end up taking money out of the budgets that could be going into historical preservation.

I would like to see what other members of this forum think about the situation. I'm curious about the opinions of the infantry versus the mounted reenactors. How do those of you who visit Gettysburg or Petersburg feel about the trails there? Am I way off base here?

Jeff Douthit

Battlefield Back Country Horseman (BBCH) is holding an informational membership meeting Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the community room at the Wilderness Library. The goal of BBCH is to work with government agencies, land managers, and public officials to promote recreational livestock use on public lands. The main focus at this time is to re-establish equestrian trails in the Wilderness Battlefield. The group is circulating an online petition for citizens who would like to see equestrian trails opened in our local National Military Parks, as is common in the Manassas, Gettysburg, and Petersburg National Military Parks. The petition can be accessed at http://www.petitiononline.com:80/BBCHpet/petition.html.

01-28-2010, 03:54 PM
I'm an infantry soldier but I am also a capable rider and would love the opportunity to ride there. But to be perfectly honest I do not know what if any impact riders would have on the park land. Other than the fertilizer that is left behind, if you take your trash and anything else you brought in with you I don't see any expense for the park service.

alton woods
01-28-2010, 04:02 PM
I will post this on No Casino Gettysburg tonight...if they want to swap links that would be great...I will also post on our Facebook page and send out a general email....:D