EDMOND — Hidden on the secluded southern tip of Arcadia Lake are eight miles of primitive, trashy equestrian trails. The trash is nothing new. The bulk of it — brush, hundreds of plastic bottles, an old tire, a destroyed television and rusty spray cans — washed ashore two years ago when the lake flooded. Local equestrian riders have had enough of the unsightly and sometimes dangerous refuse. They want something done about the lake’s trails, which are operated by the city of Edmond.
History of the trailsThe equestrian trails, along the shore of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake, were a pilot program that started more than seven years ago. There are no rest rooms, picnic areas or camping. Riders said the parking lot is too small and no more than four pickups pulling horse trailers will fit. Riders, who pay $4 to use the trail, can’t use the rest rooms at the other parks on the lake because horses aren’t allowed. Terri Folks, with the Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association, said she has repeatedly asked city officials for help. Volunteers have tried to clean up the area, but there is much more work needed. Folks said they picked up 150 bags of trash once. Just this week, Boy Scouts gathered another 50 bags. People started talking about the trails when city officials proposed a new day park with picnic tables, a fishing pier, rest rooms, dock and boat ramp nearby. Homeowners are concerned about the proposed improvements and traffic. Edmond Assistant City Manager Steve Commons is planning a meeting in April to discuss the proposed new park, equestrian trails and any other concerns people have with the lake. A date hasn’t been set. Commons said it is time to make a decision on what will ultimately happen at the equestrian trails site. "If it is something we are going to do, we need to do it right with regular maintenance,” Commons said. "We need to do it right or don’t do it at all. "We have kind of gone half way. It is frustrating to the city staff, and it is frustrating to the equestrians.” Local trail riders agree. "We kind of all put up with it,” Folks said. "I know people who quit riding out there. It’s a shame. It is time to do something about it. Edmond can do better.”