Letter: Horses damage hiking trails

Published: 2/1/2019 12:01:10 AM

As a frequent hiker on our local trails (but not as a representative of any of the local trails organizations to which I belong), I was sympathetic to Ann Poole’s “My Turn” thoughts on horse manure (Sunday Monitor Forum, Jan. 27). But I remain unconvinced.

If horse riders just took the time to stop and kick horse manure off the trails it would not be a perfect solution, but at least the trails would be left in decent shape for the many hikers, runners and cyclists who come after them. I agree with Moore that horse manure is pretty visible on the trail and one can step around it. But the same could be said for trash and dog poop. No one argues that it is acceptable to leave trash and dog poop on the trails, and I think horse riders should realize that piles of horse manure really degrade everyone else’s trail experience. And if horses are too unpredictable and dangerous to mount and dismount on a trail then they are probably too unpredictable and dangerous to be sharing the trails with pedestrians.

Perhaps a bigger problem than the manure is the damage to trails caused by these heavy animals with their metal shoes. A perfectly nice trail enjoyed by many, many hikers and cyclists can be destroyed by just a couple of horse riders.

On a more positive note, in my neighborhood the few horse owners have been very cooperative in working out solutions so they can use the trails without affecting the other trail users. Perhaps Moore and her fellow horse people might find compromise and accommodation a better route than a flat denial that any change is possible.

ROBERT KNIGHT

Hopkinton




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