Kanab resident Jim Bentley was horsing-around seven or eight years ago, and got an idea. He and wife Georgia, were both into equestrian recreation. He thought that a formalized trail going southwest up into Cottonwood Canyon might be a community asset. "I just thought that it might be a good equestrian trail. The ride and scenery are spectacular."

    Former national park manager Noel Poe agreed, and also began devoting time to creating an equestrian trail near the city of Kanab. They along with many other people with good horse sense, formed the High Desert Backcountry Horsemen''s group, of which Poe is the president.

    "We got organized two years ago," said Poe.  "We worked with land managers to develop and maintain equestrian areas. We wanted to insure we have horse access to public lands, and the (educational component), to leave no trace, and educate horseback riders to appropriately use public lands. "This was our group''s first major project."

    The group eventually approached the BLM and city of Kanab, with their thoughts of the trail''s benefit and location.

    BLM Kanab area manager Harry Barber said the project had worked well. He noted the load-out area near the old Kanab Ranchos water tank and picnic tables placed by the HDBH, would benefit equestrian and hiking use as well. He complimented the group for its work on the trailhead and parking area. "This is a neat project not just for horsemen, but the general public as well. We encourage people to come out for projects like this. This trail is awesome."

    The city of Kanab was cooperative as well. "We suggested that it be added to the city''s plan, said Bentley. " He complimented Kanab City Councilwoman Nina Laycook for supporting the idea, and going forward with bringing it to fruition. "She was amazing."

    He also praised BLM''s Tom Christensen for working with interested people and their group to move ahead with permits for the equestrian trail over BLM lands. "Everyone was totally cooperative," said Bentley, adding the project demonstrated how individual people, groups and government entities could cooperate, for the better good of the community.

    Most of the preparatory work was on Kanab City property. The city of Kanab took the initiative and removed an old water tank to create load-out parking for horse trailers at the trail head. Nearby neighbor Buck Reisor helped with his private equipment to remove the tank and grade off the property for parking.

    Councilwoman Nina Laycook said Reisor was invaluable in going forward with the project. He took his equipment and dug trenches, as well as welded the material. Dirk Clayson donated to the project, as well, with Lloyd Laycook also providing help. Nina Layccok said that Keith Robinson and Mayor Kim Lawson, also put time and effort into getting the trail accomplished.

    The ''Cottonwood Canyon Route'' takes riders from the trailhead in the Ranchos west to Cottonwood Canyon, north into Indian Canyon and back. It provides a great ride and amazing scenery.

    Good common horse sense resulted in a formal ribbon cutting on June 19, and a ride on Kanab''s new equestrian trail during Jacob Hamblin days.

    Happy trails to you!