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Horse pass revenues benefit Upper Sioux Agency park trails

ST. PAUL -- The Upper Sioux Agency State Park is among the state parks that will benefit from revenues raised by the sales of the new Minnesota Horse Trail Pass, which became effective in 2007.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported that the new pass generated approximately $127,000 last yearThe funds will be used for horse trail improvements at state-owned facilities.

"We are excited about providing some needed improvements to horse trails and equestrian facilities," said Forrest Boe, director of DNR Division of Trails and Waterways. "Purchasing a Horse Trail Pass is an investment in the horseback riding system."

Projects that will be funded by the first distribution of Horse Trail Pass proceeds include:

- Upper Sioux Agency State Park - rehabilitate sections of horse trail.

- Forestville State Park - replace two vault toilets in the horse campground

- St. Croix State Forest - develop trail orientation signs for the horse trail system.

- Richard J. Dorer Hardwood Memorial State Forest, Zumbro Bottoms Unit - rehabilitate sections of horse trail

- Maplewood State Park - rehabilitate sections of horse trail

- Richard J. Dorer Hardwood Memorial State Forest, Hay Creek Unit - rehabilitate sections of horse trail and day-use parking lot.

The pass is required on horse trails within Minnesota state parks, on state trails, in state forests and in state recreation areas. Funds from the sale of the Horse Trail Pass are deposited into a dedicated account to address equestrian needs in the state-owned areas where the pass is required.

The money can be used for equestrian trail maintenance, trail rehabilitation, trail and facility development, land acquisition and enforcement. The Division of Trails and Waterways formed an equestrian advisory group to advise the DNR on issues related to implementation of the new horse trail pass.

Within state parks, state trails, state forests and state recreation areas, the DNR manages more than 1,000 miles of horse trails and more than 500 horse campsites. Each year, proceeds from the sale of Horse Trail Passes will go directly to benefit these facilities.

The annual Horse Trail Pass fee is $21 for one year beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31. The fee for a daily horse trail pass is $5.

The pass is required for anyone 16 years of age and older riding on state trails, in state forests, and in state parks and recreation areas. Riders must possess a signed pass and visibly display the pass on their person or horse tack.

Horse passes can be purchased from DNR Electronic License System vendors across the state. These are the same vendors who sell fishing and hunting licenses. To find an agent, visit the DNR Web site.

For more information about the Horse Pass Trail Pass click here, or call the DNR toll free at 1-888-646-6367 (MINNDNR).