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By Jenny Cook, Michigan Equestrian Trails Representative and ELCR

Recognizing that the community of trail users continues to grow at an exponential rate, ELCR joined an unprecedented consortium of advocacy groups, brands, media outlets, and ambassadors that have come together to create the public awareness campaign “Trails are Common Ground (TaCG)” in late 2021. The campaign elevates the importance of respectful, inclusive, safe, and enjoyable experiences on trails. To learn more about the campaign and how you can support the movement go to

ELCR remains an active member of the coalition participating regularly in coalition meetings along with Back Country Horsemen of America to represent the interest of the equine community. In support of the TaCG initiative, ELCR collaborated with Michigan Equestrian Trails Representative, Jenny Cook, and the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council on educational initiative Trails Safe Passing Plan (TSPP): STOP! SPEAK and STAND BACK to elevate trail safety and the overall shared trail experience.

The Trails Safe Passing Plan is a safety action plan for trail users to follow when encountering horses on trails. It enables safe sharing of trails for all users, including children, dogs, and horses. This knowledge can lead to better understanding of what to do around horses on trails. The initiative was developed to increase safety by helping all trail users understand that horses, as prey animals, can naturally be afraid of unfamiliar people and objects and are equipped to perceive and respond to potential threats with a “flight” survival instinct preferring to move their feet towards an exit route.

Special thanks to Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council (RFVHC) in Aspen and Snowmass, for the development of the TSPP trail sign. The copyrighted trail sign allows the RFVHC to follow the  use of the Trail Sign across the United States and Europe. To access the Trail sign, QR Code and PDF graphic library for trails, trailheads, and social media community outreach, go to the page  Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council website.



How to learn more about the Trails Safe Passing Plan –

A one-hour American Trails Webinar on the Trails Safe Passing Plan (TSPP) was conducted on March 30, 2023  attracting over 400 professionals and non-profit leaders from land management teams, trail user groups, civil engineers, architects, grant and contract managers, economic development leaders, traffic safety engineers, marketing managers, park operation supervisors, park rangers, volunteer board members and naturalists, forestry technicians, destination development managers and state trail coordinators, and all parties interested in safer multi-use and horse/hiker trail programs.

The webinar included two back-to-back presentations with a Q&A session. The educational presentation on the Trails Safe Passing Plan (TSPP) is available in both  PDF and  PowerPoint format.

The RFVHC Trail Sign Presentation PDF, which explains how to implement, promote and share the TSPP, is also available for download in PDF format. This presentation can be used on websites, during meetings with trail user groups, or distributed to land management teams for public safety announcements. 

View the recorded American Trails webinar HERE