I think you are correct Dennis. Overall, I think you can look at this as a good thing or a bad thing.
I have mentioned elsewhere that equestrians do build and maintain trails, just not anywhere where we can see them. I have to take this at face value as I don't spend my weekends reviewing horse trails. However, it was clear the particular group of equestrians encroaching on our trails at Custer had no intention of buildilng trails, only using ours.
In this case, I believe the DNR was truly making an effort to expedite and help us get our trails back. We were so mired down in 'who gets how much' discussions with the equestrians that it would have taken years to sort out. Our dedicated brothers and sisters who maintain Ft. Custer took one for the team by giving up a significant amount of trail in order to reach a resolution. What we got in return was the ability to build trail elsewhere with the same agreement for the equestrians. Of course, we had people on the ground cutting trail within seconds while the equestrians cried foul asking who was going to build trail for them.
Park management continued to lack forward progress for fear of showing favortism towards us (my personal opinion). Senior leadership 'suggested' they hire out to build trail for the equestrians so we could have resolution sooner than later. The trailhead parking was a part of this same thinking.
I applaud the DNR for taking action to help us get back to riding. Yes, it cost us $ that could have been used elsewhere. My bigger concern is the equestrians will begin to develop an 'entitlement' approach to trail building.
DNR did indicate they would hold the equestrians accountable for maintaining their new trail. In fact, they would require this of all user groups, including us. We would be well suited to live up to this but have not seen any teeth to back this concept up yet. It is probably something we should revisit at our next state level meeting.
What have you done to support your local trails?