Polk equestrians oppose ‘mega horse park’

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, February 25, 2010

Polk County was over-represented at the N.C. Horse Council (NCHC) Equine Caucus held last Monday at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher. The Western N.C. caucus was held to hear from equestrians in a 26-county region, but Polk representatives numbered 29 out of the 36 participants. The caucus was the third forum held by the NCHC to discuss the 2009 N.C. Equine Industry Study. Polk representatives at the meeting included county commissioner Ray Gasperson, and county economic development officers Kipp McIntyre, Lynn Sprague, Ambrose Mills, Dave Herbert and Libbie Johnson. Gasperson went on record as vehemently opposing the Indsutry Study recommendation that the state pursue a mega horse park. Johnson said Polk also opposes the recommendation that the state develop horse racing facilities. “We want land protection, open trails, investment in equine health research and resources, investment in existing equestrian facilities, like Harmon Field and FENCE, and programs to promote youth activities,” Johnson said Tuesday. The NCHC was invited to and reportedly will hold its next meeting in Polk County. At the meeting, NCHC director Sue Grey urged all equestrians in Western North Carolina to join the horse council so that it can carry more influence with legislators in Raleigh.

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