Antelope Island opens up trails for equestrians

Apr 18 2012 - 9:02pm

Images

Carlos Mayorga (left) and Ron Brown, of R&G Horse and Wagon, stop to look at a view while horseback riding at Antelope Island in 2009. On a one-year trial basis, Utah State Parks has expanded the trail corridor access on the island for equestrian use. During that year, riders can trot side by side, rather than from nose to tail. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
Carlos Mayorga (left) and Ron Brown, of R&G Horse and Wagon, stop to look at a view while horseback riding at Antelope Island in 2009. On a one-year trial basis, Utah State Parks has expanded the trail corridor access on the island for equestrian use. During that year, riders can trot side by side, rather than from nose to tail. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)

ANTELOPE ISLAND -- Antelope Island is becoming more horse-friendly.

On a one-year trial basis, Utah State Parks has expanded the trail corridor access on the island for equestrian use, said Hollie Brown, state parks spokeswoman.

Effective April 1, the state modified restrictions for horseback riders on trails south of the 2,000-acre fence, Brown said.

While horseback riders must stay in existing trail corridors, riders may now ride within 20 feet on either side of the existing trail, Brown said.

"By managing trail corridors in this manner, we can better encourage multiple use and maintain trails without placing additional stress on wildlife habitat or culturally significant areas," she said.

Park managers will evaluate this plan during the one-year trial and will consider it for long-term implementation, Brown said.

Barbara Riddle, a board member of Friends of Antelope Island, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of facilities and programs on the island through fundraising and service, rides horses as a hobby.

She said she supports the new concept and believes it will prevent the trails from being damaged.

"That is a wonderful thing for our equestrian friends," said Riddle, who is also president and CEO of the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Allowing a 20-foot-wide riding area on both sides of the trail, Riddle said, will also allow horse riders to ride side-by-side, versus nose-to-tail, making riding more social and making it easier for riders to communicate with one another.

Riddle said Antelope Island currently has 36 miles of trail, making it a "trail mecca."

"I applaud the state for making that change," she said.

Antelope Island is the second-largest tourist destination in Davis County.

In visitation, the state-owned island with wildlife habitat is second only to the Lagoon amusement park in Farmington.

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