Rural Missouri - June 2013 - (Page 14)

O U T D O O R S W by Jason Jenkins hen the weekend rolls around, Tammie and Russell Martin are like a lot of Missourians who enjoy the outdoors. They load up and head out in search of a new place to explore along one of the many multi-use trails scattered throughout the Show-Me State. While others may travel by foot or bicycle, the Martins’ preferred means of transport is mounted atop a Missouri fox trotter. Trail riding always has been a part of the Bolivar couple’s life. As they raised their children, Ashley and Cody, it was the family’s chief means of recreation — something they could all do together. “It’s just a great way to leave work and the world behind,” says Russell, who co-owns Rains and Martin School Buses Co. in Bolivar. “It’s just a peaceful way to get away from a lot of things.” As time passed, however, the Martins noticed that in some places, the trails were being loved to death. They began seeing the impacts of overuse and lack of maintenance. It was time to do something. “I use the trails to recreate, so I need to put back into them,” Russell says. “It’s just common sense. You can’t expect to get anything for free.” The Martins joined the Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen, a nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure continued equestrian access to Missouri’s public trails, and began down a new path. While they still spent their weekends on the trails, their time was divided between riding and trail work. Their tack grew to include more than just saddles and bridles. Russell now has a special saddlebag designed to carry a chainsaw and panniers for hauling gravel into areas where motorized vehicles are prohibited. Tammie carries a long-handled grabber tool so she can pick up trash from the saddle. “If everyone would just leave the trail a little bit nicer than how they found it, if they’d move one tree off the trail or pick up one bag of trash, it would make a difference,” Tammie says. “It’s all about educating the trail users.” Last year, members of the Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen donated more than 6,800 volunteer hours toward trail maintenance and other stewardship activities. Since the group began in 2003, its members have logged more than 53,000 volunteer hours worth more than $1.7 million to the state’s multi-use trails. Russell now serves as chairman of the group’s board of directors. The Southwest Electric Cooperative members quickly realized that no matter how much trash they picked up or how many trees they cut themselves, it wouldn’t be enough. “The multi-use concept of trails is the main way to keep trails open,” Russell explains. “That’s why Outdoor Notes M issouri has been named the “Best Trails State” by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of the nation’s hiking, biking and riding trails. The national award is presented every two years to the state that has made the greatest contribution to promoting and improving its trails. “We have an outstanding system of trails that can accommodate a wide variety of activities ranging from a short walk to a hike through the wilderness,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “This award is a great honor for our state, and I encourage all Missouri families to get out there and take advantage of this incredible resource found right here in the Show-Me State.” 14 For Tammie and Russell Martin, a love of trail riding with their Missouri fox trotters, Feather and Santana, turned into a passion for building and maintaining trails that has earned them several honors this past year. THE TRAIL KEEPERS Bolivar couple saddles up to keep trails open in Missouri nized by several organizations in the past year. it’s massively important to work with In April, Tammie and Russell were pleasantly all trail users — the hikers, the bikers surprised with the State Trail Worker Award and the equestrians.” from American Trails, a national nonprofit The Martins joined the Ozark Trail that promotes all trails. Russell also has Association and began working with other Bolivar received other accolades this year, instakeholders. They developed relationships • cluding the Anson W. Taylor Jr. Award with the state and federal land managfrom the Equine Land Conservation ers who made decisions about the future Resource and the Volunteer of the of the trails they love. They got people Year Award for the U.S. Forest Service’s talking. “Russell has done more to improve Eastern Region. the relationship between equestrians, other trail usWhile awards are nice, Tammie says it’s the love ers and trail managers in the state of Missouri than of the ride that drives them forward. “We want the any other individual or group of individuals,” says trails to be there for our kids and grandkids and Nancy Feakes, recreation manager for the U.S. Forest great-grandkids.” Service’s Mark Twain National Forest. Both Tammie and Russell are certified as master You may contact Russell Martin at 417-326-5687 or stock trainers for the outdoor ethics program Leave For more information about No Trace, which teaches people of all ages how to the Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen or the enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Tammie also serves Ozark Trail Association, visit or on the Missouri Trails Advisory Board., respectively. The Martins’ devotion to trails has been recogMissouri’s extensive trail system is used by hikers, backpackers, bicyclists, equestrians and riders of off-road vehicles. The trails are managed by many agencies, including the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks and thousands of trail miles managed by local entities. The state lives up to its reputation as “Gateway to the West.” Significant trails — including the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears and Santa Fe national historic trails — pass through the state, and the Pony Express, California and Oregon national historic trails begin on the western border. Missouri also is home to the Katy Trail, the nation’s longest rails-totrails project. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP Outdoor App of the Month MapMyHike GPS Hiking Price: Free T his app, available for both iPhone and Android, makes tracking your outdoor adventures easy. It uses the built-in GPS technology of your phone to enable you to track your hikes. You can mark out your path along an interactive map and record essential metrics including duration, distance, pace, speed and elevation. Once you finish your hike, save your data and it automatically uploads to where you can view your route and hike data. The app also lets you share your hike data with friends and family. http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2013

Rural Missouri - June 2013
Table of Contents
Back to the land
Full steam ahead
Out of the Way Eats
Where shall I thee wed?
Missouri Snapshots contest
Hearth and Home
Missouri’s forgotten war
Plant during summer’s sizzle
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - June 2013