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U.S. Forest Service Updates Guidance on Use of Equestrian Campsites

06/30/2022 12:43 PM | Eileen Cody (Administrator)

The U.S. Forest Service national office has recently updated their guidance to national forests and national grasslands on managing stock use sites at their campgrounds.  

The new guidance, which can be found here, advises national forests to work to increase awareness of the growing problem of campers without horses utilizing horse campsites, thus limiting the availability of these sites for equestrian campers. The guidance includes increasing signage in these campsite areas and on the registrations for horse campsites, as well as encouraging equestrian campers to work with their local clubs and state horse councils to connect with their national forest and make adjustments that work best for their area.

The use of horse campgrounds by non-equestrians has become a growing concern in recent years, as these sites are designed specifically to provide the amenities needed for camping with horses, and equestrian campers are unable to utilize most traditional camping facilities. Additionally, campers who are unfamiliar with horses can create safety issues, as they may not be aware of proper etiquette for interacting with horses or basic equine behavior.

Back Country Horsemen of America have recently released an Incident Report form that campers can use to report any incidents of horse campsites being used by parties without stock. The BCHA will use the data collected by this form to help guide future regulations around horse campsite use.

If you or someone you know camps with horses, please consider reaching out to your local national forests to discuss the implementation of this new guidance to make horse camping accessible and safe for everyone!

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