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Re: the Post's article on WSSC new horse rules

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  • Barbara Sollner-Webb
    generally, only if the Post receives hundreds of letters on a topic, will they publish one. so if every one of us writes to the Post, maybe one letter will
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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      generally, only if the Post receives hundreds of letters on a topic, will they publish one.  so if every one of us writes to the Post, maybe one letter will prevail.  i am happy to try.  will you all?  but lets not let this interfere with writing to the Councilmember, which seems more likely to get positive results.
      yours,  barbara


      On Jan 27, 2013, at 3:53 PM, Dana Grabiner wrote:

      Yeah it's a lame piece. Will you send this email as a Letter to the Editor 'cause I think you should. You could send it to the reporter, to show how much she missed.
      Dana

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Jan 27, 2013, at 2:50 PM, Barbara Sollner-Webb <bsw@...> wrote:


         Today's Washington Post has an article on WSSC's new equestrian use regulations (copied below), but it fails to convey how draconian and unprecedented they are.
         The Post didn't acknowledge that WSSC's new rule to collect and pack out droppings from distant woods trails would evidently make them the only venue in the world requiring this.  This rule serves no valid purpose, since the medical literature shows droppings from riding horses do not contain worrisome pathogens, and would make riding dangerous if not impossible for many users.  [Packing in a shovel, bag, and maybe a mounting block, and packing out all that plus the loaded bag would sure be an effective deterrent for riding there.]
          The Post article also fails to mention WSSC's new rule forbidding "cutting, trimming, clearing of trees, branches...", basically ANY trail maintenance.   Do they want the trails to become unsafe, with fallen trees blocking passage and branches endangering ones eyes?
          While the Post article does mention the large yearly fee to use previous barn entrances, which WSSC's contractor said were fine, it does not mention that the entrances WSSC want riders to use were judged largely "unsuitable" and/or "unsafe" by WSSC's contractor; also that their additional yearly use fees would be the most expensive in the state, and for trails they do nothing to maintain, and that WSSC has removed the free entrance for seniors, instead giving free entrance to WSSC current and retired employees.
          The Post article also does not mention that WSSC refuses to re-open winter riding and makes a patently false claim that they need to "close the watershed during the wetter winter months when there is less foliage and ground cover to reduce erosion and runoff", while actually winter has the least rain and the most ground cover in their forest (a thick blanket of fallen leaves, when in summer there is deep shade and minimal ground vegetation).  Proving many previous decades of winter riding have not created problems, their contractor judged the trail as "excellent".
          A real killer the Post does not mention is that the same WSSC folks who let their Access Road degenerate into a disgrace will now determine each day when riding is allowed, rather than riders deciding when it is safe to ride (as they have done for decades, with the trail remaining "excellent").
         You may also want to respond on the Post's blog (www.washingtonpost.com and search for WSSC).


      text of Washington Post article (January 27, 1013):

      WSSC proposes new rules for watershed use

      By Katherine Shaver

      Horseback riders, fishing enthusiasts, boaters and others who use the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s two Patuxent River reservoirs and the surrounding woods soon will face new rules governing the reservoirs’ recreational use.

      The utility is considering the public input it received on proposed rules<http://www.wsscwater.com/watershedregs> that WSSC officials say are neededto better protect suburban Maryland’s drinking water supply from pollution, vandalism and erosion.

      Proposed changes that have drawn the most attention would require horseback riders to ensure that all horse droppings ended up in a trash can. Riding would be allowed to resume on designated trails. The issue sparked an outcry in the local equestrian community in May 2011 after WSSC suddenly forbade trail riding in the woods surrounding the reservoirs and limited it to a perimeter road.

      Under the proposal, nearby stables that use the trails would be charged a new $250 annual fee for a permit, and adjacent landowners using the horse trails would have to buy an $80 annual permit.

      Other seasonal permits would increase to $70 from $60, while single-day permits would increase to $6 from $5. A new picnic fee also is proposed. It would vary by the group’s size, but would be $6 for up to five people.

      WSSC spokesman I.J. Hudson said revenues from the additional fees would be used to better maintain the areas, including more litter cleanup.

      WSSC also has proposed allowing hiking for the first time on designated trails, and access to the areas surrounding Rocky Gorge Reservoir and Triadelphia Reservoir would be extended by 30 days and run from March 15 through Nov. 15.

      Final rules, which could change following consideration of the public comments, will be in place by March, Hudson said.


    • Dana Grabiner
      Agreed! Sent from my iPhone ... Agreed! Sent from my iPhone On Jan 27, 2013, at 4:03 PM, Barbara Sollner-Webb wrote: generally, only if the
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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        Agreed!

        Sent from my iPhone

        On Jan 27, 2013, at 4:03 PM, Barbara Sollner-Webb <bsw@...> wrote:

        generally, only if the Post receives hundreds of letters on a topic, will they publish one.  so if every one of us writes to the Post, maybe one letter will prevail.  i am happy to try.  will you all?  but lets not let this interfere with writing to the Councilmember, which seems more likely to get positive results.
        yours,  barbara


        On Jan 27, 2013, at 3:53 PM, Dana Grabiner wrote:

        Yeah it's a lame piece. Will you send this email as a Letter to the Editor 'cause I think you should. You could send it to the reporter, to show how much she missed.
        Dana

        Sent from my iPhone

        On Jan 27, 2013, at 2:50 PM, Barbara Sollner-Webb <bsw@...> wrote:


           Today's Washington Post has an article on WSSC's new equestrian use regulations (copied below), but it fails to convey how draconian and unprecedented they are.
           The Post didn't acknowledge that WSSC's new rule to collect and pack out droppings from distant woods trails would evidently make them the only venue in the world requiring this.  This rule serves no valid purpose, since the medical literature shows droppings from riding horses do not contain worrisome pathogens, and would make riding dangerous if not impossible for many users.  [Packing in a shovel, bag, and maybe a mounting block, and packing out all that plus the loaded bag would sure be an effective deterrent for riding there.]
            The Post article also fails to mention WSSC's new rule forbidding "cutting, trimming, clearing of trees, branches...", basically ANY trail maintenance.   Do they want the trails to become unsafe, with fallen trees blocking passage and branches endangering ones eyes?
            While the Post article does mention the large yearly fee to use previous barn entrances, which WSSC's contractor said were fine, it does not mention that the entrances WSSC want riders to use were judged largely "unsuitable" and/or "unsafe" by WSSC's contractor; also that their additional yearly use fees would be the most expensive in the state, and for trails they do nothing to maintain, and that WSSC has removed the free entrance for seniors, instead giving free entrance to WSSC current and retired employees.
            The Post article also does not mention that WSSC refuses to re-open winter riding and makes a patently false claim that they need to "close the watershed during the wetter winter months when there is less foliage and ground cover to reduce erosion and runoff", while actually winter has the least rain and the most ground cover in their forest (a thick blanket of fallen leaves, when in summer there is deep shade and minimal ground vegetation).  Proving many previous decades of winter riding have not created problems, their contractor judged the trail as "excellent".
            A real killer the Post does not mention is that the same WSSC folks who let their Access Road degenerate into a disgrace will now determine each day when riding is allowed, rather than riders deciding when it is safe to ride (as they have done for decades, with the trail remaining "excellent").
           You may also want to respond on the Post's blog (www.washingtonpost.com and search for WSSC).


        text of Washington Post article (January 27, 1013):

        WSSC proposes new rules for watershed use

        By Katherine Shaver

        Horseback riders, fishing enthusiasts, boaters and others who use the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s two Patuxent River reservoirs and the surrounding woods soon will face new rules governing the reservoirs’ recreational use.

        The utility is considering the public input it received on proposed rules<http://www.wsscwater.com/watershedregs> that WSSC officials say are neededto better protect suburban Maryland’s drinking water supply from pollution, vandalism and erosion.

        Proposed changes that have drawn the most attention would require horseback riders to ensure that all horse droppings ended up in a trash can. Riding would be allowed to resume on designated trails. The issue sparked an outcry in the local equestrian community in May 2011 after WSSC suddenly forbade trail riding in the woods surrounding the reservoirs and limited it to a perimeter road.

        Under the proposal, nearby stables that use the trails would be charged a new $250 annual fee for a permit, and adjacent landowners using the horse trails would have to buy an $80 annual permit.

        Other seasonal permits would increase to $70 from $60, while single-day permits would increase to $6 from $5. A new picnic fee also is proposed. It would vary by the group’s size, but would be $6 for up to five people.

        WSSC spokesman I.J. Hudson said revenues from the additional fees would be used to better maintain the areas, including more litter cleanup.

        WSSC also has proposed allowing hiking for the first time on designated trails, and access to the areas surrounding Rocky Gorge Reservoir and Triadelphia Reservoir would be extended by 30 days and run from March 15 through Nov. 15.

        Final rules, which could change following consideration of the public comments, will be in place by March, Hudson said.


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