Equine and Beyond - Possibilites Galore
The establishment of an integrated trail system could open the door to unlimited possibilities - not only for horse enthusiasts but for other groups who enjoy nature as well.
An integrated trail system could provide "thread trails" that connect Aiken's existing recreational destinations and equestrian communities, said Tracey Turner, co-chair of the Chamber's Conservation, Open Space, and Integrated Trails Committee.
Hiking trails, biking trails, and navigable kayaking routes along creeks and rivers could become reality. The creation of trails along the railroad could link Aiken's Railroad Depot and downtown to existing or future destinations.
J. David Jameson, president of the Aiken Chamber, agreed with Turner. "Many communities have walking and biking paths, so these possibilities seem natural for the Aiken area," Jameson said.
"Just think about the possibilities when the big project, the International Horse Park, is complete. Perhaps the Horse Park and Hitchcock Woods could serve as anchors of an integrated system of trails and green space. Think about the impact of connecting it all," Jameson said.
Turner believes that an effective equestrian trail organization must be willing to partner with other trail user groups. "We recognize the need to explore ways to combine trail uses to provide the greatest number of recreational opportunities for everyone," she said.
But it is more than just trails, Turner said. It is about protecting our open spaces.
"If we are not stewards of our land, if we do not make conservation efforts to protect open spaces, there will not be room for horses, or for all the other possibilities that an integrated trail system could bring."