[cdt-l] stock use

Liz Mares azlazorra1 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 15 14:57:34 CDT 2007

I met an English gal riding the CDT with two horses, a mule, and her dog.  I think it was in '93 or '94.  Her name was Jo Cooke.  Supposedly she did the whole CDT and had planned to write a book about it.  The last I heard she was living in New Zealand.
  The trail was not easy for her either.  She had a horse fall off a cliff near Gibbonsville, ID, and the whole town came out for the rescue.
  Good luck!  La Zorra

erin at ridethegreatdivide.com wrote:
  I'm in the process of a thru-ride with my two mules
right now and became very frustrated with the CDNST
yesterday.  My understanding was that the Trail was
designated for foot and horse traffic, so imagine my
surprise when I found that a section of the official
trail was closed to stock use and likely impassable

I'm aware that I'm probably the only rider on this
list, but I hope that y'all can understand my
frustration especially after riding 25 miles up
highway 117 yesterday instead of the Zuni-Acoma trail.
After just barely resisting the temptation to cut
some wires and ride it anyways, I spoke to the ranger
station to try and find a way out of riding the
highway.  I discovered that another section of the
official trail through Hole In The Wall isn't closed
to horses but is considered impassable.

I know stock users do not compose the bulk of trail
users.  I'm also aware that many hikers, fairly or
unfairly, have a negative impression of stock in the
backcountry.  However, this group of trail users
deserves equal consideration and respect.  Many riders
are switching to low impact stock use methods: using
light weight gear instead of traditional equipment,
tree saver straps, tying stock at night, restraining
away from water sources, etc.)  In additon,
organizations like Backcountry Horseman do significant
trail maintenace to keep trails open.  I am very
disappointed that the BLM decided to place the
official route in an area closed to stock.

I am not suggesting that this section of the trail be
entirely rerouted.  I understand that the Zuni-Acoma
trail offers a unique landscape, historical
significance, as well as an unusual challenge to
hikers.  However, an official horse alternative needs
to exist.  Stock users should not be cut out of this

I know many hikers do not enjoy travelling through
areas frequented by horse traffic.  However, I don't
think the CDT is in danger of receiving significant
stock use except in areas where it's already
established (i.e. Bob Marshall Wilderness, Wind Rivers
etc).  To the best of my knowledge, no thru-ride of
the CDT has ever been completed and it may not happen
this year :)  The trail is simply too challenging for
the stock themselves for many to attempt it.  Hikers
will always be the dominant presence on the CDT.

I have been frustrated for much of this trail because
of horse inaccesabilty.  Until this point I haven't
had much right to complain.  I've been following Jim
Wolf's route, and he makes no claim that his trail in
southern New Mexico is horse friendly.  In fact the
number of times the phrase "squeeze through the
tightly woven fence here" appeared let me know I'd be
adding a lot of extra miles finding gates.

However, the Zuni-Acoma is on the designated trail. 
Permanent trail routing decisions were made in Glacier
based on stock accessability.  Why not in New Mexico? 
I hope that the BLM can take horse users into
consideration and perhaps have two routes through the

Treehuggin' Cowgirl
Erin Zwiener 
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cdt-l at backcountry.net

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