Hovey Introduces Bill to Preserve Equine Trails Across Connecticut

The State ofConnecticutneeds to preserve a number of trails for equine use says State Representative DebraLee Hovey (R-112).  Hovey has introduced legislation this session of the Connecticut General Assembly to ensure equine access to a number of state trails and parks.

“You may not immediately think so, butConnecticuthas one of the highest populations of horses per square mile of all U.S. States,” said Rep. Hovey.  “Equine care and management are a significant part of this state’s economy, and we need to maximize accommodations for horses and riders throughout the state where possible. Equestrians contribute significantly to the state’s economy and they deserve a share of the open space we have worked to preserve.”

The bill would require that State Department of Environmental Protection to preserve the following trails for equine use:

  1. The Pequonnock and Housatonic Rail Bed Trail inBridgeport,Trumbull,MonroeandNewtown.
  2. The Bissell Trail.
  3. The Keney Park Trails inHartford.
  4. TheMachimoodusState ParkinEast Haddam.
  5. TheSunriseResort inEast Haddam.
  6. The Shenipsit State Forest Trails.
  7. TheBluffPointState Parkand Coastal Preserve and the Haley Farm inGroton.
  8. The Pachaug State Forest Trails.
  9. The Naugatuck State Forest Trails.

Similar legislation was enacted in 2009 and signed by then-Governor M. Jodi Rell preserving a number of other state parks for horse trails.  There is no additional cost associated with allowing horses on these already-existing trails.

Hovey said it was important to note that there are other important benefits to keeping the trails open, especially that it encourages people who are riding to keep an eye on what is happening in wooded areas.  She added that private property owners who allow horse riders to cross their property are not liable for any injuries or property damage resulting from the horses crossing through. 

The bill has been referred to the legislature’s Environment Committee for consideration.  This session of the Connecticut General Assembly convenes on February 8th and concludes on May 9th.

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