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Long-sought horse-riding trail extension now open at state park

After several years of requests and denials, the Clark County Ohio Horseman’s Council worked with Buck Creek State Park to get five miles of additional bridal trails open.

The extended trails, which officially opened earlier this month, cost about $5,000, according to council President Denny Schenck. Fundraising and donations paid for most of the project.

“We’re constantly saving a little money here and there,” Schenck said.

The new trails extend almost the entire length of Buck Creek, running parallel with Grant Road. Five miles were added to the trails, which now extend 14 miles in length.

The trails were approved in December 2013, after more than a year of approval procedures and inspections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the park along with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“It took a long time with all of the red tape,” said Jack Vanderpool, vice president of the horseman’s council.

Contributors to the project included the Army Corps, UES inc., SoBran Inc. and Jim’s Equipment.

Trails that are 10 or more miles long usually are best for a horse-riding attraction, Schenck said, because it draws in more riders.

“We were wanting to expand,” he said. “The more miles you get, the more activity your park will get.”

The new trails are a huge improvement, council member and frequent rider Bonnie Maxson said, from the view of the marina to the wooded atmosphere that encompasses most of the new trails.

“It’s perfect,” Maxson said. “The only (previous) complaint was that Buck Creek did not have long enough trails … Now it does.”

The horseman’s council members decided they wanted the trail extensions in 2008, but were denied initially, according to Vanderpool.

But after a large area of land separate from the trails was torn up by four-wheelers in 2011, FirstEnergy — which has power lines in the park — wanted road barriers to protect the area. The council offered to put up the road barriers if the park would allow them the extra space.

“We got the trails,” Vanderpool said.

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