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New mapping resource - is your land/farm/horsekeeping affected?

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  • New mapping resource - is your land/farm/horsekeeping affected?

    I've been following the development of this resource for a while and think it may be helpful for horse owners. Folks involved in conservation, farming, horse industry/show venues, backyard horse owners, many of us are fighting development, concerned about being zoned out or losing trails, show venues, or other open space.

    LandScope America http://www.landscope.org/ is a partnership between the National Geographic Society, NatureServe, and many other conservation organizations. http://www.landscope.org/about/partners/

    The mapping resources are available to the general public - you can input your zip code or other information here: http://www.landscope.org/ (look to the right of the screen)

    What you will see is a map of your area showing current and planned development - reaching into the future. Included are areas identified as imperiled or threatened habitats, open space, conservations easements, or other conservation work. You can see proposed housing density by using "custom themes".

    If you are primarily interested in equine related issues, the site is invaluable as it can help you, your equine club, or your state horse industry board protect or advocate for the needs and wants of the equine community. Especially with proposed development or trail issues that might result in horses being zoned out of or banned from areas.

    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling

  • #2
    I am going to bookmark the site. At present I can't get the state/local maps to load on my iMac. It's probably because I have Adobe Flashplayer 9 and can't upgrade to 10. The library, however, has all of that, so I will try it later over there.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



    • #3
      I just wish there was more planned for my area - a true jewel in the flatland of Illinois - disappointing! And what does it mean? We have a protected watershed area - a creek that is historically significant. Our LT Gov even stepped up to defend it. And the locals rammed an ATV track right through it I just love looking at pictures of upside down jeeps in a "federally protected water shed" No one really cares about the environment when there is even a pittance to be made.
      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


      • #4
        Wow, awesome resource and thank you for sharing it! Our place was dragged into a 'watershed' zone 6 years ago. Sooner or later it will be dictated to us how we can use our small place.


        • #5
          Thank you!

          Thank you for posting about this wonderful resource.
          Joanne L. Belasco, Esq.
          President, Tapestry Institute
          Director, Horse-Human Relationship Program


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Woodland View Post
            I just wish there was more planned for my area - a true jewel in the flatland of Illinois - disappointing! And what does it mean? We have a protected watershed area - a creek that is historically significant. Our LT Gov even stepped up to defend it. And the locals rammed an ATV track right through it I just love looking at pictures of upside down jeeps in a "federally protected water shed" No one really cares about the environment when there is even a pittance to be made.
            Woodland -

            Every state has a wildlife action plan. It's a pretty large document and few know these exist, much less have time to read the darn things.

            Here is yours: http://www.wildlifeactionplans.org/illinois.html

            You can get to it through your state DNR, too.

            In your free time if you look through that doc, and then go to this mapping site and try fiddling with the 'custom view' option, you may find it helpful in placing efforts into context. Like - why one area appears to be getting more attention than another, or if you look at anticipated development out to 2030 - you might see that one area that is pretty sensitive may be paved under in the next few years.

            Trying to keep this horse related - one of the issues facing DNR's/game departments and federal lands too is the increasing pressure on wildlife and land because of the public. The bikers want bike trailers, the horse people want horse trails, xc courses, show venues, urban/suburban types want viewing platforms and kiosks, the hunters want to hunt - and we all want to be in the same place at the same time.

            I don't work on horse trail stuff anymore - but last time I did it was a freakin' nightmare. At meetings the bicycle people would tell officials that horses would destroy the environment, that horse manure would spread invasive weed seeds, horses are dangerous, yatta yatta.

            And farmers and horse owners face the same problems when their community starts being pressured by development - newcomers want the horses gone, the farms gone, we'll spread bird flu, swine flu, etc.

            If you overlay the 1970 data with 2000 data and then 2030 data you can see the spread of development and how it encroaches on watersheds, ag land, and sensitive habitats. Including our hayfields, farms, crops, trails, and show venues/boarding/training facilities.

            If an ATV trail goes in and you're wondering how in the heck that is permitted - it's probably because the ATV clubs showed up at meetings and the horse/birder/tree huggers didn't or their voice wasn't loud enough. That's just a guess but that's often how it happens. People who organize, show up, and control the conversation.

            Another good resource that is specifically horse related is the equestrian land conservation resource.


            Using the LandSource mapping features and information, along with information and/or membership in eclr.org, along with your local and state horse industry boards.... now that could really help develop strong cases for including the equine community in planning decisions.

            What is really going to get the attention of officials is the economic impact of horses, contributions to local businesses and conservation, how ag and horses are a better use of land than building and maintaining infrastructure to support high density residential - stuff like that.

            Wow them with maps, economic data, good science and articulate arguments about how equine uses being compatible with park/conservation efforts. Perhaps the next watershed project could incorporate bridle paths, xc course and even parking and an arena for local shows - and in other areas walking trails, viewing platforms or simply dedicated open space for other users.

            It's hard to get really good info but a site like LandSource could be a step in the right direction - especially for horse folks.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling


            • #7
              A very cool resource. I wonder if they accept updates from the public about changing land status? We have a tract adjoining our property that moved from private ownership into Whatcom Land Trust wetland stewardship last year.
              My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

              Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives