Sept 2013 Newsletter

From the Desk of the President:

While we must fight to keep our access, as we certainly have in the past, and will do so in the future, we now have a good working relationship with the FS. They have been instrumental in helping us with several grants that have been awarded for reconstructed trails and trail heads. Since most of you have never met our District Ranger or the Trail Specialist who laid out the trails, below is a brief overview of their past experiences.

“District Ranger, Tim Pohlman, is no stranger to horses, horseback riding or to recreation. Tim has ridden extensively and comes from the southwest where he spent time building equestrian trails, including a 30 mile stretch of the Continental Divide Trail.

Brian Bourne, Trail Specialist is an endurance rider. He also has spent prior years designing equestrian trails in Illinois and Alabama and has done trail work in many other locations as well.

Even though their first priority is mitigating resource damage, their backgrounds and interests have rewarded us with two of the best people we could have working on the trail designation project. The Forest Service brought District Ranger Pohlman to our forest for the express purpose of getting maintainable trails on the ground for our use while still maintaining the integrity of the forest. Brian has walked all over this forest to lay out the new trails, which is no easy task, yet he has given us scenic spots whenever it is possible.

I am relaying this information so you will know the type of people we are working with. And so you can know more about those working to create sustainable trails, yet enhance our trail riding experience. They want to know your concerns and ideas. Feel free to contact at the Vienna Ranger Station, 658-2111.

That being said, there are still many areas that need the new trails reworked especially muddy areas. Unfortunately, it takes time with the horses riding these trails for the trouble areas to become apparent. And getting those spots repaired in a timely manner is not always possible for various reasons; money and manpower mainly.

If it were possible physically or financially for our organization to go into these areas and fix them ourselves, we would. Federal agencies have all these regulations that have to be followed and the reality is that many of us who live in this area have become “over the hill” for hard labor!

Happy trails,
Linda Sanders

ILLINOIS EQUINE RESEARCH AND PROMOTION BOARD GRANT AWARDED

We are pleased to announce that the STC and the Shawnee National Forest applied for a grant to the Illinois Equine Promotion Board proposing two new trailheads and the expansion of a third. Our grant application was for $45,000.00 for the projects. We were awarded a grant for $12,500.00 at the Illinois Horse Fair in March.

This money will be used to create a new trailhead just north of the River to River trail between High Knob and Garden of Gods. The sights closest to this trailhead would be the Knights of the Golden Circle and Buzzard Roost, both stopping points for equestrians. Knights of the Golden Circle is located on trail 010 at the south point of the trail and will be just north of the trailhead. Buzzard Roost is just off the R-to-R to the east of the trailhead location.

Pictured here are the Equine Board members, and starting 2nd to left is Linda Sanders; STC President; Jack Flammang, STC board member; in front of Jack, Rita Giuffre, STC board member and Tim Pohlman District Ranger. Jack and Rita wrote the grant in collaboration with Tim.

With the IL Equine Board cooperation, the creation of the trailhead is on hold so that the money from this grant could be used to apply for another grant that required non federal money and federal money. We are awaiting results from this grant application but may not hear anything until close to the first of the year.

This grant program is funded by the Illinois equine check-off program, which provides for the voluntary assessment of a nickel per 50-pound bag of horse feed sold at retail. From their website:

“By law, IEPB funds must go to support equine research, education and promotion in keeping with the enabling legislation’s core purpose: "Enhancement of the Illinois equine industry through self-funded programs, projects and activities. Grants to institutions and individuals will be related to equine research, education and industry enhancements and promotion." Any group, individual, company or institution may apply for funding. Preference will be given to projects benefiting the largest number of people/horses.

STC TRAIL WORK

NATURAL BRIDGE

With permission from the Forest Service, this spring several logs were pulled by mule into the Natural Bridge tie up area. We were able to use logs cut from the trail after the wind blew down trees in that area. It turned out that most of the logs were too big to be pulled by one mule. So Clarence Kail and David Sanders found out how hard the trail crew works by sawing one of the logs to a more manageable length. Below are photos from that day.

Clarence driving his mule dragging the first log into the tie-up area.

Clarence Kail and David Sanders working up a sweat!

At least now there is a place to sit while taking a break.

REPLACEMENT OF HIGHLINE

Charlie Bradley, Sally Bradley, Cheri Hardesty, Gail Summers, Liz Williams and Betty Varnum replaced the high lines at Splash Creek, (Grand Pierre) and the Lookout on top of Tombstone Territory. Both highlines had been removed by vandals.

One working, Charlie and the rest supervising!

L-R: Gail Summers, Liz Williams, Cheri Hardesty, Sally Bradley, Betty Varnum – Posing for a photo.

FRANKS TRACT

Mike Jennings mowed the Frank's Tract trail this spring and will have it mowed again before Labor Day. This is part of our Volunteer Agreement with the FS.

WORK DONE BY USFS
Step Grant Work

The Forest Service has completed the work for the STEP Grant (Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships) awarded to the STC in 2012. The STEP program is a joint project between the American Quarter Horse Association and the Tractor Supply Company. The grant was for $8000.00.

As per FS: “This grant money allowed the national forest to reconstruct nearly one-half mile of a very popular equestrian and hiking trail in the vicinity of Eddyville, Illinois. Trail 497 is approximately 2.5 miles in length, is very scenic and is an important connector to many other trails in the vicinity. The funding provided was used to reconstruct the last segment of the route through a particular difficult location where the trail required trenching and the installation of fabric and gravel to abrogate the constant muddy conditions.”

This trail is located in the Hayes Creek Watershed between the Blue Hole and the River to River on the way to Crow Knob.

A photo of the old trail when it is in quite good condition, usually it is muddier and deeper .

Here is the new trail where it joins the R-R at the western end of the relocation.

HAYES CREEK WATERSHED

As per the Forest Service information: “The Shawnee National Forest trail crew plus another Forest Service crew from California have constructed 7.5 miles of new trails in the Hayes Creek area that will replace old eroded, unsustainable trail sections. Since these sections are brand new trail, they may be muddy until they “settle in” and have holes that need to be filled as they develop, so please use caution until the trails have been there a while. These new trails have been signed with diamond shaped confidence markers, most of the branches have been lopped back.”

Part of this work is relocation of the River to River from Petticoat Junction towards Eddyville. Because this area is not Wilderness, trail machines can be used and work progresses quickly.

Last year part of the River to River heading west from Petticoat Junction was relocated and was not mentioned in the last newsletter. It used to go easterly and then head back westerly on an old muddy roadbed. Now it heads directly westerly and actually shortens this section. (So many people complain the new trails take too long to get to places!) Here is a photo at one of its scenic spots on this trail. There is a little rock along the creek.

LUSK CREEK WATERSHED

Work was done on several trails along the Lusk Creek area. Clean-outs were redone along several trails to drain standing water areas. Trail 481A has a wet spot repaired with additional rock and is pictured below.



Also the Guest Farm crossing trail #457 was cleaned up and more rock was added on both sides. All the muck is either covered up or gone. Further north on trail #457, before getting to Natural Bridge there was another spot that had become very muddy. The muck was hauled out of this area and rock was added to file the void. Additional rock was put along further down the trail to make the step off from the large stone shorter. The large tree that had been down for a very long time was cleared off the trail also. Again, this work was done by hand since it is in the Wilderness.

This part of the trail had developed a deep mud area and is now filled with rock.

All of the rock used for fill in the Lusk Creek Wilderness was gathered in the general area of the project site, then crushed by hand using sledgehammers to a “gravel sized” rock. The work done in the Wilderness was done with Forest Service personnel and an Americorp crew from St Louis over the course of a couple of weeks. Approximately 10 tons of rock was crushed. Again this is Wilderness so no mechanical tools can be used.

EAGLE CREEK WATERSHED TRAILS

The trail crew has been working on trails from the Pounds Hollow area and going west into Clayton and Thacker Hollows. They have been brushing in old closed trails, removing downed trees on newer trails, putting up diamond shaped“confidence markers”, using machinery to remove soil that had “sloughed” off of the back slope and removing the berm on the out slope of the trail. After completing dirt work, gravel has been placed in areas of the trails where wet spots occur. By the end of summer, 700 tons of gravel will have been used on the trail system in the area between High Knob and Pounds Hollow. Again this is not Wilderness so mechanical equipment can be used.

BAY CREEK WATERSHED

The FS plans an upcoming project for fall to construct 2 new trail sections in the Jackson Falls area.

WORK BY ROAD DISTRICT

There was an old bridge that crossed Bear Branch that has been removed by the Rd District of Pope Co. The roadbed itself was redone at our request by the Rd Commissioner 2 years ago so that there is an alternative way besides private property to the trails leading to Indian Kitchen. The roadbed used to cross the bridge and then go on to the Indian Kitchen trailhead. This road is named Indian Kitchen Rd on the Eddyville Blacktop.

When riding through Ovid Barnes' trail, the bridge was off to the right when you leave his property.

The bridge still had the steel beams in place but the decking was removed decades ago. One of the bridge abutments had fallen over so the Rd District took the beams out and knocked the other abutment over. This is what it looks like now without the bridge.

TRAIL ADOPTION

The Forest Service is asking for people to adopt sections of trail. There are many miles of trail in the Shawnee so volunteer trail maintenance is needed & appreciated. If there is a section of trail that those of you who live in the Shawnee Forest area use and enjoy, please consider adopting a section.

"Pasture-Surfin" in Indiana

Courtesy of Marlene Collier, Fort Wayne IN.
Enjoy the following escapade only the way Marlene conveys it.

This is probably not my favorite horse story, but the one I'm most famous for !

You'd have to go to S. California to go surfing at the beach, or to Vermont to go snow skiing in the mountains, or to the lake to go wake-boarding, but if you own a pony in northern Indiana you have all that you need to go PASTURE-SURFING. Even though I always knew that ponies are not just little horses, this episode convinced me of it.......completely........sometimes there is just no reasoning with them. Of course that is usually true of any animal who is scared, but ponies are a breed, and have a mind of their own.

We own an antique pony cart that my now deceased mother drove to school as a child. It is very fragile, but we restored it and I wanted a pony to drive to it, and for the kids to learn to ride on. My husband, Steve, was very resistant to the idea and kept saying that a small aged horse would be a better choice, but when a cute, stout pony that was already broke to drive came along, I persisted. We brought the cutest little Quarter-pony named "T-bone" home, complete with small cart and harness.

He stood fine for the harness, which actually took us a long time to figure out, never having done this before. Steve thought it best to not get in the cart at first, but to walk behind it to see how he did. So I had the lines in hand, standing behind the cart, Steve had a lead rope on the D-ring of the bit and we took our first step. On about the third step when the rickety fenders on the cart began to rattle, we learned just how strong (and strong-minded) T-bone was. He reared up and bolted like he'd been shot out of a cannon, knocking Steve to the ground. I knew our two kids were in the back yard, and I feared a trip to the ER at the very least if they got run over by a run-away pony and cart, so I held onto the lines for dear life as my husband lay on the ground yelling the obvious, "Don't let go".

Away across the driveway we went and into the back yard, kids scattering everywhere and weaving around flower beds , gazing balls and a swing set. At some point I lost my footing, but I didn't let go, I just dragged along. I thought surely my added body weight would slow this terrified beast down. NOT..........remember what I said about a scared animal ? The fenders kept rattling, the cart kept bouncing and the pony kept running as hard as he could go. Around the house we went and past Steve again, who was on his feet by then and made a lunge for the lead rope, me still dragging on the lines. (Talk about a hard-mouthed equine)

We were all (including T-bone) panting for breath and Steve began to yell at me to get up front and take hold of the other side of the bridle. I was trying, but could not move even after I finally got to my feet. Fearing that the pony would bolt again, he was very impatient for my help and turned to see what was taking me so long, when we both discovered that I was standing there with my jeans down around my ankles! I think if it hadn't been for my boots, all that dragging would have stripped me bare. It took a good long soak in a hot bathtub to relieve my sore muscles and get all the grass and gravel out of my belly-button.

And that's how you go "pasture-surfin" in Indiana.

TIME FOR A LITTLE FUN

Guess where these photos were taken. All are located where they can be accessed by designated trails.

#1 Hint, in the Lusk Creek Watershed.



#2

ANSWERS

#1 This circle limb is located on the trail that runs along Bear Branch Creek headed towards Indian Kitchen.

#2 Walking path to small shelter cave at Indian Kitchen. Those who are not from here don't know that this area is available to see if they don't have someone who knows to tell them about it.

Shawnee Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 44
Eddyville, IL 62928


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