Rural Missouri - June 2013 - (Page 14)
O U T D O O R S
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 www.showmebch.org or
on the Missouri Trails Advisory Board.
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.
Outdoor App of the Month
MapMyHike GPS Hiking
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 www.MapMyHike.com where you
can view your route and hike data. The app also lets
you share your hike data with friends and family.
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
Rural Missouri - June 2013