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qathet Regional District asked to sponsor trail use clinics

Horse rider wants sponsorship to highlight safety for outdoor recreation
PROACTIVE EDUCATION: qathet Regional District directors heard from horse rider Lesley Armstrong, who advocated for regional district sponsorship of a Horse Council of BC clinic that delves into how multi-users can make use of trails, respecting one another.

qathet Regional District (qRD) directors have been urged to help sponsor clinics for trail users.

At the May 22 committee of the whole meeting, Leslie Armstrong appeared as a delegation to indicate she had corresponded with the regional district in the past about three dogs who were involved in an attack. She said she was one of the people involved and wanted to plant a seed for proactive education. She said a lot of the trails in City of Powell River segue into the regional district.

Armstrong said the Horse Council BC had an all-day clinic last year and organized bicyclists, horseback riders, hikers and people who ride quads and dirt bikes. She said she plans to put together a formal written proposal for a clinic after talking with the horse council. She said facilitators would like to give a clinic during the fall fair and run it for two full days.

“Education and bringing the numbers up of people who are aware of problems is a proactive way to go,” said Armstrong. “Horse Council BC and Powell River Trail Riders have invited the city and the regional district to cosponsor the two-day event at this September’s fall fair. There is plenty of time to think about it. It’s not difficult to organize and it has already been piloted. It’s very good, professional and positive.”

Armstrong said she would put together a package of information. The focus is not specifically dogs but for all users of trails, she added.

“It’s about respecting each other for people who want to share the same space; it has been done very successfully,” said Armstrong. “I was ambushed by three dogs and a man who took off when he saw that. Myself and a friend had both been attacked and both horses bolted and dumped us.

“This man looked at that wreckage and decided to take off with his dogs. He’s obviously the two per cent who don’t follow rules. Most people want to know what to do.”

qRD Electoral Area A director Jason Lennox said as a person who has used the trails, he echoes some of the situations Armstrong has been in, and he was glad she wasn’t more seriously hurt.

“We hear this on a regular basis,” said Lennox. “I want to applaud you for your efforts of actually trying to take action on an issue that is very difficult. Your ideas speak to me about education. I’m looking forward to your ongoing work.”

Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne suggested to Armstrong that a grant-in-aid be applied for to help finance the clinics.

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