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Author Topic: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)  (Read 505 times)

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Offline robe2

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Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« on: December 02, 2010, 08:51:37 PM »
I want to let everyone know that important portions of the Santos trail system are currently in jeopardy and your help is needed.  Please take a moment to review this info and follow up with appropriate e-mails as described below.  We need and appreciate your help.

The Florida Horse Park, which has a restricted lease on 500 acres of Greenway land between 475 and 475A (the section of the Santos trails just to the east of the Land Bridge Trailhead, aka the Barns Section), is attempting to restrict all other trails users (mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians) from the land occupied by the horse park except for a 50'  corridor or "buffer zone" around the horse park.  We would essentially be forced out of some of the current trail in that area and our ability to use the newly built underpasses under 475 and 475A (busy roadways) would be greatly hampered.  This is not acceptable, would be dangerous, and threatens our trails (we would be forced to abandon over 1/2 mile of trail).  Forcing four user groups (hikers, equestrians, wagons, mountain bikers) into a 50' wide corridor would be dangerous as it would not be possible to separate user groups. 

There is an acceptable solution, which has been proposed by the land manager (the Office of Greenways and trails), which would create a 150' buffer around the horse park instead of a 50' buffer.  If this 150' buffer is accepted by the horse park, it would allow safe trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians on both sides of the horse park.  Mountain bikers would then get to build new trail to replace that which would be lost if the horse park fences us out.  Getting fenced out is not fair, but if the 150' buffer is provided it would be a fair compromise that we and other user groups could live with.

The problem?  The horse park basically wants its way, is currently saying "no" to the Office of Greenways and Trails proposal, and wants to limit all other users to the narrow 50' corridor even though it doesn't need that land, and had been offered compensating acreage to the north of their current parcel.

We are suggesting all mountain bikers e-mail the Florida Horse Park executive director regarding this issue.  A sample e-mail is as follows:

    "I am a mountain biker and use the Santos trail system.  The Florida Horse Park's attempts to limit other users to a 50' corridor between CR475 and CR475A is dangerous, unacceptable, and unfair.  I urge you to change your position, cooperate with other user groups, and agree to the 150' corridor recommended by the Office of Greenways and Trails.  If the horse park does not do so, I will support OMBA and other interested mountain biking organizations and other user groups in all appropriate efforts they undertake to protect the rights of all trail users.

You can send this e-mail to the horse park's executive director, CJ Marcello, at cjmarcello@flhorsepark.com.  We also recommend you copy it to the following:

Jena Brooks, Office of Greenways and Trails, jena.b.brooks@dep.state.fl.us
Mickey Thomason, Office of Greenways and Trails, mickey.thomason@dep.state.fl.us
Rob Ern, VP, OMBA, robe2@embarqmail.com

Thank you all in advance for your help!
For the Trails,
Rob Ern, VP, OMBA

Offline Orion_134

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 09:08:46 PM »
Sent.
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(Most) always down for a ride in the Gainesville area

Offline Rocky Mountain OOTH

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 09:16:19 PM »
Rob - wouldn't sending emails to the horse park manager be counter productive as is would most likely be received in a negative manner? Not to mention opening the door for riders wording their emails a little errr... different? Saw a similar situation recently with land managers in NC with negative results.

If the land is part of the greenway how can the horse park restrict its use? What are the terms of the lease? I love Santos, I basically learned to ride there. I can't believe that OGT is relying on good faith from the horse park to solve this.

Offline Kevin Bennett

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 10:18:31 PM »
e-mail sent to all parties.  Let us know if there is anything else we can do to help.
God is great, beer is good, people are crazy!

Offline mellowme17

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 08:07:42 AM »
sent
Yeah i am that guy with the socks

Offline rob_squared

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 08:25:04 AM »
I see Luis' point. Emails may only serve to infuriate. Will that strengthen the resolve or open their eyes to the other users? Unknown... time will tell.

Passivity is also not the answer in stopping the trail system from being cut virtually in half either.

So, do I poke the bear? Well, I recon I do.

Here is what I wrote:

"Dear CJ Marcello;

I love the outdoors. I really do. As a lover of the outdoors I take every opportunity to explore and take in the environment around me. With a high level of confidence I believe the users of Florida Horse Park feel the same.

From the perspective of a mutual outdoor enthusiast I encourage the considerations proposed by the Office of Greenways and Trails regarding the increased buffer of 150 feet around the leased property of the Florida Horse Park. The current 50 foot buffer recommendation causes potential dangerous and environmental issues. Currently, trails are separated into various user groups. This separation provides low levels of conflict. Imagine a horse becoming startled by a nearby bicycle. Needlessly so in a 50 foot buffer. The environmental concerns would come to light quickly with the erosion and degradation of the trail surface with wagon, horse, bike and foot traffic occurring in such a small space. Again, needlessly.

Thanks so very much for your consideration to adjusting the buffer to 150 feet. Our partnership will foster many years of mutual outdoor enjoyment.

Respectfully,
Rob Roberts
 
Cc
Jena Brooks, Office of Greenways and Trails
Mickey Thomason, Office of Greenways and Trails
Rob Ern, VP, OMBA"

Offline robe2

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 09:15:42 AM »
Luis:
For political matters that go way beyond my pay grade, OGT will not enforce the terms of the lease, but are relying on all user groups to come to a resolution together.  The horse park is extremely well politically connected (and well monied) and folks are scared to ruffle their feathers on the gov't side.

That said, there are things within the FHP lease, and within the management plan, which are not being adhered to.  We are not the only user group having problems, as all non-FHP equestrians, as well as hikers are in the same predicament.  OMBA along with these other groups is attempting to make it clear to the FHP and OGT that we are not scared to go the legal route to have a court force OGT to enforce the terms of the lease, which would be bad for the FHP folks in the long run. 

The purpose of the emails is to let the FHP folks see that we are a large and unified bunch who are not afraid to take them on.  They don't see bikers as much of a threat, so we are trying to make them see the light.  If they see that we have a large support group, possibly just as large as theirs, we feel that they'll get the picture and agree to the compromise that everyone else supports.  Only time will tell....

Thanks to everyone for their support!
Rob

Offline Rocky Mountain OOTH

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Re: Santos Trail Action Alert! (help needed!)
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 09:28:44 AM »
Thanks for claryfing that RobE.  I'll compose an email today though I hope there are other actions being considered, keep us posted.

 

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