Right to Ride Passes
LANSING, Mich., March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today the Michigan legislature saddled up and passed a compromise version of the Right to Ride legislation. With concurrence, the measure now gallops to Governor Granholm. SB 578 and HB 4610 are tie-barred legislation to protect public access, use and enjoyment of state owned land in Michigan. The bills received overwhelming bi-partisan support in both the Michigan House of Representatives and State Senate.
“Riders come from all over to enjoy Michigan’s scenic trails,” Senator Brown said. “This is no time to turn away tourists, or to turn our backs on years of tradition in which people of all ages explore our wondrous public lands on horseback. This legislation will bring much-needed transparency and accountability to trail access decision making.”
Together, Senate Bill 578, sponsored by Senator Cameron Brown (R-Fawn River Twp.), and House Bill 4610 sponsored by Representative Tim Moore (R-Farwell), give the equestrians a deserved voice through the Equine Trailways Advisory Sub-committee (ETAS). This new advisor group created within the legislation will work with the new Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) to develop a comprehensive statewide trail network for all recreational trail use, which will increase ridership and tourism spending in Michigan. Representative Moore stated that “Tourism and recreation are a strong part of our local economy and Michigan can’t afford to chase that business away. We should be working to expand these types of opportunities in our state, not limit them.”
“As President of the Back Country Horsemen of Michigan (BCHM) – Pigeon River & Beyond chapter, the hard work over the past two years and tremendous bi-partisan support has made me humble and proud to stand alongside my members and team up to pass this legislation,” says Dick Kleinhardt. “The loss of trail access in recent years is a travesty for Michigan,” added Kleinhardt. BCHM represents 330 members and supports the interests of an estimated 80,000 recreational horseback riders in the state of Michigan.
The legislation lays out a timeline for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to review specific access restrictions by pack and saddle animals previously imposed by the DNR in State Forests. The process begins with a review of the controversial restriction of trail access to riders in the Pigeon River Country State Forest imposed by the DNR in May of 2008.
CONTACT: Dick Kleinhardt, President BCHM, Ph: (989) 424-1172
SOURCE Back Country Horsemen of Michigan