BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
Horses will not be allowed on the bike trails at Avalanche Preserve.
The Boyne City Commission unanimously approved a recommendation from the city’s parks and recreation committee to ban horses from the trails due to the potential for damage by horseback riders.
“At the parks meeting on Sept. 1, 2016, Steve Schnell from the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association was there to give an update on the upcoming planned construction activities at Avalanche for the mountain bike trails and one of the things that was brought up that was a concern to their group was the fact that people do occasionally ride horses at Avalanche,” said Boyne City Public Works Superintendent Andy Kovolski. “And that’s something that can really cause damage to a trail very quickly.”
He added, “I’ve seen it personally over in the Pigeon River Forest on some of the hiking trails, years back, when a group of riders really tore up a couple trails in a short period of time. And, over there, they have since banned horses from anything but designated horse trails.”
Boyne City Commissioner Hugh Conklin said this issue was originally broached when the city approved work to begin on the bike trail project at Avalanche Preserve.
And, Conklin added, there will be further discussion on whether horses should be using any other existing hiking and biking trails because the horses should be allowed only on designated horse trails.
Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer clarified that the current ban only affects biking trails at this time.
Conklin said the horses will do the same damage to walking trails as they will to biking trails and that the issue needs to be addressed in the future.
Signage will be erected on the affected trails warning that horses are not allowed.