A horse rider hands off a cellphone to another rider as they head out on a trail at Lord Hill Park in Snohomish on June 16. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A horse rider hands off a cellphone to another rider as they head out on a trail at Lord Hill Park in Snohomish on June 16. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

County parks department launches online horse survey

Future equestrian features are riding on public input.

SNOHOMISH — Local horse enthusiasts have a chance to say yea or neigh.

Snohomish County launched its first-ever horse count earlier this month. Park planners are conducting the online survey to learn what kinds of new amenities that equestrians would like to see built in the coming years. That could include arenas, trails or additional trailer parking.

“Horse-based recreation is important in our county,” principal county parks planner Sharon Swan said. “We want to better serve the horse community and would like public participation in identifying what the biggest needs are.”

The Horses Count Survey is available online, through July 31, at www.surveymonkey.com/r/horsescount.

It has attracted more than 1,000 responses so far, said Shannon Hays, a spokeswoman for the county parks department.

Helpful information might include styles of ridership, preferred trail surfaces and camping options. The survey also should help the county gauge how many horses are in the county and where they live, though it’s not intended as a census. Increasing urbanization in south Snohomish County is thought to have pushed more horse owners to new pastures, farther north.

“We’d love to hear more from north county,” Hays said. “When we’re planning for a park, we plan about six years out. There are some spaces we have, where we want to know how we should turn them into a park. Does that mean trails? Does that mean an arena? What would equestrians like to see?”

Catherine Collins (top) leads Janet Berkow and Cindy Kinney (right) as they take their horses through the trails at Lord Hill Park in Snohomish on June 16. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Catherine Collins (top) leads Janet Berkow and Cindy Kinney (right) as they take their horses through the trails at Lord Hill Park in Snohomish on June 16. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

They’re looking for input from horse owners as well as people who like to ride, but may not have a steed of their own.

Horses have been a big part of the conversation about plans for Lord Hill Regional Park, between Snohomish and Monroe. The county also is looking for advice about the Centennial and Whitehorse trails. The Paradise Valley Conservation Area and, for different reasons, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, also are popular equestrian destinations.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund @heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Survey

Find Snohomish County’s Horses Count Survey is available online, through July 31, at www.surveymonkey.com/r/horsescount.

More info: 425-388-6621

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