Friday, June 17, 2011

WSSC June 15 meeting update

via Ron MacNab (Executive Committee member and TROT representative) ...

We had a very successful meeting today at the WSSC.  Although we were not on the agenda, we did have an opportunity to speak. 

Of the 30 to 40 attending the meeting, about 10 spoke and all stood to be recognized.  Representatives from the offices of Senator Roger Manno District 19, Senator Karen Montgomery District 14, and Delegate Josolynn Pena-Melnyk District 21 spoke in support of horseback riding.  They asked that WSSC retain the equestrian trail and work with the equestrian community to improve the trails and redirect the trail where necessary to reduce environmental impact.  Ross Peddicord, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board spoke on behalf of the horse industry in Maryland.   He noted that the area surrounding Rocky Gorge represented a large portion of the total horses in the state including over twenty licensed riding stables.  Horses are a billion dollar industry in Maryland and requires an infrastructure of suitable places to ride.  The Governor, who is very supportive of growing  Maryland's horse industry, and the Secretary of Agriculture, have been made aware of WSSC's new policy and the harm it could cause.  The Gazette newspaper was present and took pictures for a forth coming article.

By the end of the meeting, the Commissioners seemed quite pleased to hear from so many citizens.  One asked for a tour of Rocky Gorge so that she can share what she sees with her fellow Commissioners.  Two other Commissioners spoke up saying that they also had horses and could understand our point of view.

The last to speak was Mr. Jerry Johnson, General Manager and CEO of WSSC.   He announced that he was requesting his staff to schedule a meeting with representatives of the equestrian community to discuss how offending portions of the trail could be improved to reduce environmental impact and discuss how the equestrian trail will be maintained in the future.  We were very pleased.

I will notify you when I lean more about the meeting.
There are several things we can all take away from this experience"

  • How fortunate we are to live in a land where we have the opportunity to speak up and officials will listen.
  • How important it is to have citizen involvement;   Grass roots efforts work.  Your voice is important and it is heard.
  • How important it is to have elective officials who listen and will speak up for us.   Remember they need our support as well.  
  • How important it is to belong to organizations that support our interests.   Get involved with them.
Thanks to all of you who wrote letters, made phone calls signed petitions, and came out to meetings.

It is not over, but my hope is to improve the trail, redirect it where appropriate and agree on who and how the trail is to be maintained.

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