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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

March 8, 2012

Very Bad News for Endurance in the MIDWEST region.

I recieved a copy of this email originating from the DNR this morning:

This letter was sent by the DNR on Wednesday March 7, 2012. 

The Pekin Saddle Club, Indiana Trail Riders Association and Daniel Boone Distance Riders do understand and will support the DNR's decision.

As per our conversation yesterday I promised that I would get back with you. After my conversation with  both you and Dan yesterday afternoon some things have changed. This is a very fluid situation as with any natural disaster. As more information becomes available, and Forestry areas are professionally assessed, then decisions through our chain of command must follow changing needs. Late yesterday evening our Division Director , Mr. John Seifert, gave Brad Steward the following orders: We(DNR) are to post signage closing the following DNR areas to all cutting/clean up until further notice.
1.       Mountain Grove Loop
2.       Pekin Saddle Club  area(DNR Land)
3.       Both ends of Jackson Rd.
4.       Flatwood Rd. Day Ride area
5.       Both trail heads in the Pixley Knob area
This will encompass a total of 7 signs that we are aware of at this time. I am attaching a picture of what the signage will look like , so that you and other horse enthusiast’s will know that they are the official ones that DNR is posting.
I know that no one is going to be happy about this , but this is the way it has to be right now. This is not a decision that was made lightly, but one that  was imperative to ensure both the safety of people and to  protect the State Forestry assets for  the people of Indiana.
I will continue to stay in touch with you, and  when these orders change  I will certainly contact you immediately.
Thanks to you and all of the members of the Pekin Saddle Club, and ITRA as always for your concern, help, and partnership.

This means to access will be allowed to clean up the tornado damage resulting in closure of the primary stomping grounds of endurance as we've known it in this area of the MIDWEST until who knows when.   I know that others have been affected on a much deeper and more tragic level in the wake of these storms.  I respect that.  But the trail destruction near Pekin makes me very sad.  The most beautiful and scenic vistas there, through lovely hardwood forests, with views from the hilltops all the way south to Louisville.   This area has been "endurance" for me as I've struggled with learning the sport.  I don't know what the reflex will be concerning this with those who manage these rides.  If new rides will appear in other areas of the forestry, in other parks, or what?  I know it will significantly reduce the number of rides that I will be able to attend due to gas prices to where ever.  I can only imagine how people who've ridden those trails for the last twenty years must feel, and have centered their lives around the sport in that area.

Sad.  Sad. Sad.


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