Do you like horses, yay or neigh? Well the Protectors sure do! Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK) recently launched the Tule Springs Fossil Beds Mounted Horse Patrol Volunteer Program to complement and expand park services to the front country trails. With oversight by National Park Service Rangers, the volunteer mounted patrol serve as the “eyes and ears” of the park rangers and provide valuable support with visitor safety. Currently, a dedicated team of five local Volunteers in Parks (VIPs) manage every aspect of care and training of their personal patrol horses, under the leadership of TUSK Integrated Resources Program Manager.
These special horses serve as park ambassadors, giving a friendly hello to all visitors they see on the trails at TUSK. While on horse patrol, the uniformed volunteers also provide valuable extended ranger services by watching for public safety concerns, such as hazardous trail conditions or visitors needing emergency assistance. The efforts of the volunteers also play a critical role in the preservation of park resources and visitor education, as they chat to visitors about sharing multi-use trails safely and the importance of staying out of sensitive and closed habitats. The Mounted Horse Patrol is also trained on identifying important natural and cultural resources to include fossils, artifacts and threatened and endangered plants and animals so that they can help inform park staff of issues or new discoveries.
If you have your own horse and are interested in learning more, please contact Desire Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org.