Wednesday, December 31, 2008
- Thomas Treiman
- Michele Baumer
Many kinds of users compete for Missouri’s public trails and managers are challenged to balance human users’ needs with those of wildlife. To improve our knowledge of Missourian’s equestrians, their preferences, and habits, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) conducted a scientific survey of over 5,000 randomly selected horse owners in Missouri between February and June, 2008. The response rate (after removing invalid addresses) was 48.1% (2,286/4,750).
- Missourians took a total of 181,500 riding trips on public land in 2007. These included over 68,000 trips at MDC areas (38% of the total).
- Sixty percent of equestrian trail users indicated they would be willing to help maintain trails.
- Five MDC areas were in the top 10 most heavily used riding areas in 2007, with the US Forest Service (USFS) managing the most used area.
- Total spending on trips is estimated at $27 million (with a total economic impact of $48 million).
- About 38% of riders rode on public lands in 2007.
- The average ride was about a half day.
- The availability of water for horses and parking were the most important factors when survey respondents were deciding where to ride.
- Respondents felt that ATVs (but not hikers) caused problems for horses.
- Respondents wanted more trails, better signage, and consistent policies and rules.
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