The state House of Representatives has voted to preserve seven historic horse trails including two in the immediate area, as advocated by state Rep. Pam Sawyer. The local trails are: Airline State Park trails and Hop River State Park trails between Bolton and Columbia.
Rep. Sawyer has supported a bipartisan group of legislators, the state Department of Environmental Protection and other groups to identify some of the many horse trails in Connecticut and preserve them in their natural state for use by riders and the public. In particular, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the Connecticut Equine Advisory have been actively involved.
The horse trail legislation, HB 5108, passed the House by a unanimous vote Friday night May 29, and it is expected to receive prompt approval by the state Senate.
“As the rural areas shrink rapidly, preserving areas for horse back riding is a look to the future,” said Rep. Sawyer. “It also should be noted that there are more horses per capita in Connecticut than in any other state in the union.”
Rep. Sawyer previously supported construction of the Airline Trail through Hebron in the 1990s. She also worked to obtain funding for the Bolton-Andover-Columbia rails-to-trails construction, as well as a new covered-bridge across Route 316 at the Route 6 intersection that was built not only for pedestrians but for equestrian traffic.
The complete list of trails identified for preservation is as follows:
1. Larkin State Park trails (Southbury-Oxford-Middlebury);
2. Airline State Park trails – south and north (Colchester-Hebron-Lebanon-Windham-Hampton-Pomfret-Putnam);
3. Hop River State Park trails (Bolton-Coventry-Andover-Columbia);
4. Moosup Valley State Park trails (Sterling-Plainfield);
5. Huntington State Park trails;
6. Natchaug State Forest trails, and
7. Cockaponset State Forest trails.