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Katy Trail in Callaway County opened to horses

Please be advised that the Katy Trail from Tebbetts to Portland has been opened to horses and equestrian use (http://dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/data.asp?param=060)

State Parks have offered no plans to improve maintenance on this section of trail to repair the damage already occurring from horse hooves; and the trail between PP and Mokane is already showing lots of horse hoof imprints and has become quite rough.

Watch out for horse "leavings" on the trail as well.

Call the State Parks Division at 800-334-6946 or e-mail them at moparks@dnr.mo.gov to express your concerns about this change.
posted Apr 24 2012 12:44PM - Anonymous, Mokane

What we (the non-horse owning general public) thought wasn't a consideration before they (DNR and whoever) did this hushed up deal, so what good would it do to contact them now. Anonymous, my guess is, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

"All politics is local." ---Tip O'Neil
posted Apr 24 2012 8:49PM - Darrell, Jeff City, MO.

The horse lobby is a pretty powerful goup in Jefferson City. I'm surprised it took this long. Regardless If DNR finds adding horses to the trail negatively impacts usage from other groups they may reconsider any further expansion. I for one won't ride or hike where horses are allowed. Too much trail damage.
posted Apr 25 2012 11:56AM - Anonymous

I have running on the trail for years near Mokane. Rolled my ankle tonight.I will be finding another place to run.
posted Apr 25 2012 10:16PM - Darrell, Mokane

I'm trying to get all worked up over the idea that more people - and folks on horses are people - getting to use the trail is a bad thing but I just can't pull it off. Riding horses is a rural activity and the Katy runs through mostly rural areas. Lets not make it a problem before it actually becomes one.
posted Apr 25 2012 10:54PM - Jim, St. Thomas

There is no reason to get worked up over people riding horses on part of the trail, imo. Time will tell the story of whether it stays that way. Truth is, I enjoy seeing the horses and riders when encountered on the Katy by Sedelia and on the Frisco Highline Trail. It takes special considerations by both riders for it to work though.

Responsible use of the trail on horse back, bicycle or hiking is no problem at all. But responsible use hasn't been the case in and around some of our beautiful clear water streams and rivers in southern Mo. When related commercial interests take over, responsible use sometimes, somehow becomes less important. A fact that the DNR is well aware of.
posted Apr 26 2012 5:22AM - Darrell, Jeff City, MO.

Agree with you Darrell: Horses and their droppings are not that big of a deal to me as long as the trail is maintained (and my guess is that DNR will maintain it). If more people use the Katy, the importance, and therefore the priority to perform maintenance on same goes up. And that is good to me!

Speaking of which, if any of you DNR folks are out there reading this, I would like to offer a suggestion: Do not use tires with "fins" on the tractors that are used to maintain the trail. Instead, use turf tires, or some type of smooth tire. The traditional finned tires effectively create rumble strips on the trail. I'd rather dodge an occasional pile of horse manure than deal with rumble strips on my bike path.
posted Apr 26 2012 9:09AM - SalsaBoy

Just rode (bike) the KATY Trail from Clinton to St. Charles. I live on the "horse end" and really have not had much trouble with horses. I have always considered this end to be a little more rugged than the rest, but now have seen that it is some of the best. Well maintained, with great trail head facilities. The section from N. Jefferson to Tebbetts gets my vote for the worst. I see no signs of maintenance, the first time on the trip I ran into serious wash-outs. Just out of N. Jefferson I met a fellow traveler who was riding on 94 highway, now I know why. I didn't pay anything to get on the trail, so I suppose I won't complain how it is maintained. I just appreciate the efforts of those on my end a little more. Somewhere around Tebbetts to Mokane, I saw (felt) that the trail is very rough from many horses. I had lots of time to reflect on why this might be. I did not see one horse the whole time I was on the trail. I have only seen three horses in the 1000+ miles I have rode the trail. (mainly on the "horse end") One of the three I have met would not pass me standing stopped on my bike, very tense situation. Rider mentioned something about my red shirt. I would rather have the old or disabled on electric scooters than people riding LARGE animals that may or may not be under control. Those in control of the trail can do what they like, I will just have to be thankful I got to use the trail "back then".
posted Apr 26 2012 8:47PM - Mike, South of Clinton

I have had zero problems with horses on the "horse end" of the Trail. I rode Clinton to Sedalia probably 20 times last summer and encountered numerous horses -- everyone was respectful and no one had an issue. Yes you have to respect the horses ...but, I would rather encounter a horse than a dog. It's all about communicating with the rider and working out the best way to share the Trail. I met some horses last year that were very skittish of the bike, but once I stopped and let them approach me (and they may have gotten a little petting from me!), it was no issue. Yes, you have to alert for road apples and divets -- but, you should be alert on the Katy anyway for things like ruts, washouts and this time of year the snakes sunning themselves on the Trail. This is not an indoor riding/running/walking arena. We can all share this fabulous resource!
posted Apr 29 2012 1:42PM - sharonbikes, Kansas City

As of this point a month after the section of trail between Tebbetts & Portland was opened to horses, the DNR Division of State Parks is NOT performing the additional maintenance necessary to support equestrian use of this section of trail.

The trail - particularly the stretch of trail west from Mokane - is getting quite rutted and rough; and the horseprints are quite obvious after the recent rains.

DNR claims that additional equestrian opportunities were necessary in this area of the state, ignoring the fact that the Cedar Creek Trail in the Mark Twain National Forest a few miles away in Callaway/Boone counties is also open for equestrian use.

This decision was made by DNR without soliciting any input from either other trail users or adjacent property owners, many of whom originally opposed development of the trail but came to tolerate and appreciate the bikers and hikers who use the trail. I wonder if that toleration and appreciation will extend to trail users who leave horse manure behind.
posted May 3 2012 12:55PM - Anonymous, Mokane

Perhaps the answer is in the restricted access to parks for horse riders. The limited riding areas cause erosion because of the limited access points. Missouri's horse owners put a huge amount of $'s into the states economy and are ready to even pay for larger access to trails if needed. The growing encroachment into our rural areas has limited our riding areas to parks and conservation areas. I moved to Missouri 15 years and have not seen one change in the availability or entry points to trails. This causes a concentration in areas where we normally would not be. Perhaps opening the Katy Trail in more areas would help minimize damage and satisfy the city dwellers who would be quite frankly be happier in city traffic.
posted Jan 11 2013 9:41PM - Jean, Warrenton

I’ve never had a problem with the equestrians at the west end of the Katy. The hoof-prints and droppings there have been few and far between. The opposite is true at the 18-mile east end of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Many equestrians use it, especially on weekends. Still the hoof-prints and droppings there are easy to navigate around on a bicycle. So what’s the problem?

It does help to know bicyclist/equestrian etiquette. For example, when coming face to face, the bicyclist pulls over, stops, and lets the horses/riders pass on by. But what about a bicyclist overtaking equestrians from behind. Is there an etiquette for that?

My experience has been that the horses know you’re there, even if their riders do not. However, their riders usually figure it out, at which point, they will stop, turn to face the bicyclist, and let the bicyclist pass on by slowly. The horses do not like being snuck upon from behind.
posted Jan 12 2013 10:58AM - Anon

What people don't realize sometimes is that a horse is a living, breathing, and sometimes reactive creature. Just like people have different freeware and reactions do do horses. The best way too get horses safe tho bicycles is to expose them with positive results. The trail courtesy is to yield tho horses. That is for safety reasons. A bicyclist conning up behind a horse unannounced can scare them and send them running. That would be equivalent to putting a motor on your bicycle without a way to shut it off. My job as a rider is tho keep my horse safe, and if I and other riders block the trail because you are not slowing down, that is our only choice to keep our horse from spooking. If bicyclists will just slow down and announce themselves if we haven't made eye contact, paying is will be much safer for all involved.
posted May 10 2017 11:00AM - Anonymous

I love to hike, bike and horse ride. I see and understand both side of this string of messages. Why can't we all just get along and enjoy the great outdoors. Someone always has to complain and ruin it. If you don't like horses on the trail just tell me ONE trail that is ONLY for horses and I'll for sure ride there. I know of NONE. Horse riders are very limited to where they can ride so when a new place opens up we love it. Bike riding and hiking is on all trails that horses are allowed on that I know of. Maybe a mountain bike is needed to make it over rough spots, works for me. And I appreciate bike riders yielding to my horse. There is plenty of room for us all! I hope they open the whole trail up to horse riders and the maybe upcoming Rock Island Trail. I would have a hard time deciding what I would what to do....hike, bike, or horse ride, I love them all!
posted May 10 2017 11:50AM - Hell or High water rider , Vienna

Tags: Jefferson City, Clinton, St Charles, Portland, Mokane, Tebbetts, Water, Route Suggestions, Trail Conditions, Other Trails, Hiking, Running, Tires, Events, Horseback Modify Tags

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