Advertiser Article

A new group, the Longleaf Equine Trail Riders, is working to improve and promote a horseback riding trail that parallels the Longleaf Trace from the Epley Station to Carson.

The group, which currently has about 12 members, held a work day at the equestrian trail on Saturday, July 29 2006.

The new organization has scheduled a cookout and membership drive meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Sumrall Voting Precinct. Anyone interested in learning more about the new organization can call its president, Greg Lowery, at 601-606-9880, or Johnny Kerley, a member of the group and the Pearl and Leaf Rivers Rails to Trails Recreational District board of directors, at 601-943-5003.

In addition to widening and other improvements being made to the horse trail to accommodate horse drawn wagons from Epley to Sumrall, there are plans to extend the trail to the newly-acquired Beaver Pond property that is being developed along the Longleaf Trace.

Lamar County Supervisor Dale Lucus, also a member of the organization, said the horse trail is open to all horseback riders. Some of the special rules for the equestrian trail include:


All horses must have proof of a negative Coggins Test in possession
of the rider of the horse while on the trail.


Kicking horses or stallions should have a red ribbon tied in their tail.


Horses should be tied in a manner that will not allow damage to trees or other vegetation.


Horses must remain under control at all times.


Horses should not be ridden on muddy trail if doing so would result in trail rutting.


Moving, removing or re-arranging any signs or trail marker is prohibited.


Riders should not leave the trail and enter private property without consent of the property owner.

Lowery attended this month1s regular monthly meeting of the Rails-to-Trails district last week.

In a separate action last week, Stone Barefield, the long-time attorney for the Rails-to-Trails board, announced his retirement. A former legislator, Barefield helped create and promote the legislation establishing the Longleaf Trace board. I don't know of anything I've been involved in that I've enjoyed more, he said. I do this regretfully because I love this board. Barefield noted that he had just celebrated his 79th birthday at the end of July and that it was time to begin easing back on some of his
obligations. Despite that, however, Barefield said he would make himself available for any thing, any time to help the board. Lynn Cartlidge, the board's president, expressed the group's appreciation for everything Barefield has done for the district.

The Longleaf Trace, which is open to the public, is the state's first Rails-to-Trails conversion and conservancy project, designated a National Recreational Trail on June 2, 2004. The 40.25-mile trail extends from the Gateway at the University of Southern Mississippi to Prentiss. The equestrian trail is about 23 miles in length.
For more information about the Trace, call 601-450-2453.

Reprinted with the author's permission from the Advertiser News.

See flier on the upcoming Membership Drive and Cookout    See pictures from the 7/29/06 Work Day