ERCA reminding equestrians of spring thaw trail use

Monday, March 15, 2021

horses hooves in grass

Essex Region – As the weather warms, the Essex Region Conservation Authority is reminding users of the Greenway trail that horses are prohibited from the trail during the spring thaw.

“With a spring rains pending and saturated soils, the greenway trail surface is very susceptible to surface damage from horse hooves.  Even a few horses during this critical period can make the trail difficult for cyclists or pedestrians as it leaves the trail surface very bumpy,” explains Kevin Money, ERCA’s Director of Conservation Services.

“We have designed the trail as a multi-use surface, but these hoof prints create ruts that can cause safety issues for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as add a significant expense to re-grade.  We have to ensure the trails provide the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.”

Since the trail opened in the year 2000, horse access has been permitted along sections the Chrysler Canada Greenway.  Trail use rules indicate horses must clean up horse droppings, just like all responsible pet owners.  “We communicate regularly with the equine community to help with the enforcement of these rules,” Money confirms. “But not every horse owner is affiliated with an equine group.”

He also reminds the public that motorized vehicles, like ATVs and dirt bikes are not permitted on the Greenway trail system, and that even cyclists should use caution against creating ruts when trail conditions are very soft. “Refraining from use for a short period of time to allow weather conditions to harden up the trail surface can save thousands of dollars in grading expenses while ensuring safety for all users,” said Money. A guide to Greenway etiquette can be found on ERCA’s website at essexregionconservation.ca.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority is a public sector organization established by the Province in 1973, and governed by local municipalities to provide for the organization and delivery of programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in Ontario.


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