As of September 1, 2012 horses will no longer be allowed on the trails in
Haw Ridge Park. This decision was reached after a comprehensive evaluation by the City’s
Recreation and Parks Advisory Board. The evaluation was discussed at a recent public meeting,
where the Board concluded that riding horses is inconsistent with the overall usage goals of the
park.

The decision was based on several factors. Horses have created significant damage to trails,
particularly the small, single-track trails that are common within the park. Damage to trails that
have traditionally prohibited horses includes erosion, manure piles on trails, and damage to
bridge and boardwalk structures.

These structures were constructed by volunteers to withstand foot and bicycle traffic and have not
held up to horse traffic. Attempts have been made to manage horses by restricting their traffic to
wider trails; however, these repeated efforts have been unsuccessful.

Almost all trail maintenance in Haw Ridge Park is performed by volunteers, but in recent years
representatives of the horse riding community have not routinely participated in this work, despite
the adverse impacts of horse travel on the trails.

Haw Ridge Park will continue to serve hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and wildlife viewing.
Other opportunities for horseback riding in the region include the Norris Watershed, Frozen Head
State Park, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Great Smoky Mountains National
Park and TWRA Wildlife Management Areas.

For more information contact the Recreation & Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.

News Media contact: Candice Brown, Government and Public Affairs, (865) 425-3546
cbrown@oakridgetn.gov