Chapter Meeting Minutes, April 16, 2012
Chapter Membership Meeting, Pisgah Area SORBA
16 April 2012, Beef O-Brady’s, Arden, NC
President Karen Into called the meeting to order at 1840 and asked for self-introductions around the room. She then introduced the meeting’s guest speaker, Tom Thomas of the Back Country Horsemen of Pisgah.
Tom thanked PAS for inviting an equestrian to speak to the group, and pointed out that in next week’s national convention of Back Country Horsemen of America in Eugene, Oregon, a featured speaker will be a mountain biker who is helping all users increase access to BLM lands. Tom has long been involved in advocacy on the Pisgah District—in addition to being the president of Back Country Horsemen of Pisgah, Tom is the volunteer coordinator for the District, and is involved with SAWS, the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards program. He hopes to get his cross-cut sawyer instructor’s certification at the 2012 Wilderness Skills Institute program being held next month at the Cradle of Forestry. In addition to his equestrian interests, Tom has vested interests in mountain biking—he owns a Stumpjumper, and has ridden several Utah venues with his son who lives in Utah as well as riding locally. BCHA promotes back country access by all users, with the objective of having no division of use—when areas are divided, all users lose. Tom feels that the Pisgah District’s volunteer efforts are among the best anywhere; without area volunteers, the District could not maintain its trail network.
As an equestrian, Tom enjoys 4-5 day pack trips that may include fishing or trail work. He is aware of very few incidents between equestrians and mountain bikers. Tom reminded us that horses are herd animals and prey animals; their natural response to surprise is to run or to kick. Because of their quiet operation, mountain bikes may surprise equestrians when approached from behind; the conscientious mountain biker will call out to the equestrians as soon as s/he sees them and will continue to call out until acknowledged by the equestrians. The mountain biker can safely pass the equestrians after they have positioned horses facing the trail. The mountain biker should continue to speak to the equestrians as the pass is completed so that horses identify the cyclist as human. If you’ve stopped when meeting horses to allow them to pass, keep in mind that horses fear predators from above—stay below the horses level and talk to the horse. Tom pointed out that horses quickly acclimate to bikes, so that experienced horses are at home with shared trails. Tom wants the District to be shared by all.
The floor was opened to questions; Q&A follow:
Q: Where in Pisgah are most equestrians?
A: Turkey Pen, Mills River, and Avery Creek
Q: What about equestrians in Turkey Pen riding non-horse trails?
A: Communication with traditional users (who may not be aware of changes in trail designation) have been poor. Some trails had changes in designation in the early ’80s without the proper process, so traditional users have continued use. Tom would prefer to get more trails up to a standard of use that would accommodate horses, and urges all users to keep conversations going to reduce division of the District.
Tom reminded us that should we organize a joint bike/horse work day, he could get a permit to bring a pack animal (carrying saws and other heavy gear) into the work site.
Karen announced that our speaker for the June general membership meeting will be Angela Brown of the NC Arboretum. Chris Neubert suggested that we consider a meeting/ride combination at the Arboretum. Karen asked that members send suggestions for future guest speakers.
Spring Fling was well attended and was a fun event. Thanks to Liberty Bikes for breakfasts and to Highland Brewing for beer. A combined campout with TORC (Triangle Off Road Cyclists) has been suggested for fall.
*Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day (spring edition) is April 22 at DSRF’s Guion Farm. 80 people have signed up to date, and Kelly and Stephen need volunteers. More info on our website.
*Wednesday group rides at Bent Creek: Lower Rim rides are more beginner friendly, while Upper Rim rides are longer—bring your lights. More info on our website.
*The new Velo City magazine is out—PAS will have an article in each quarterly edition.
*BRBC has mailed PAS the title to the Dingo. We’ll work on the trailer soon, and will title/insure the rig.
*PAS is hosting a booth at the Mountain Sports Festival. The booth will be manned Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, and Sunday 12-6pm. We are looking for volunteers for this.
Greater Pisgah Trail Crew members are frustrated that the crew has not worked in 2012. Because the crew has only one trained leader, and that leader is busy with a major project, the crew has not been able to hit the ground. Members would like a second leader, but no qualified person has stepped forward yet. It’s been suggested that all crew members (both GPTC and BCTC) meet to discuss trail priorities, leader training, and the possible formation of a committee to address general District work.
The meeting was adjourned at 1950…