EPIC’s Advocacy, Trailblazing

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EPIC was incorporated and received its tax exempt 501(c)3 status in July 2006. Two significant equestrian land protection efforts that led to the establishment of EPIC include the protection of Callithea Farm, a 100-acre boarding stable adjacent to county and federal parkland in Potomac and the acquisition and protection of over 2,500 acres in the Boyds area through agricultural easements.

Since its inception, EPIC has kept watch over pivotal decisions regarding equestrian land use primarily aimed at enhancing horse conservation interests and increasing equestrian trail access and connectivity. We continue to promote responsible stewardship of equestrian and farm properties (particularly in the 93,000 acre Agricultural Reserve).

EPIC has played a key role in policy and zoning decisions regarding land use, trail access and equestrian interests in Montgomery county. We’ve provided testimony at planning board, county council and Maryland legislature meetings.

Some of EPIC’s accomplishments include:

  • Achieving a moratorium on the use of sand mound septic systems (sand mounds are a faster alternative to conventional septic systems for developers);
  • Providing representation on the county council’s Agricultural Issues Task Force which provided recommendations to the council on management of the Agricultural Reserve;
  • Testifying in support of the protection of Thompson Farm in the county’s Legacy Open Space program;
  • Conducting a Montgomery County Equestrian Survey in 2008;
  • Provided funding for Woodstock Equestrian Park;
  • Participating in the county’s zoning rewrite process regarding required equestrian regulations.
  • Sending periodic action alert membership emails in support of local equestrian and conservation interests;
  • Creating resources for documentation of public use easements;
  • Establishing trail easements and parkland dedications that can accommodate trails.

New Trails:

  • September 2007—Established the first phase of the Dry Seneca Creek Phase I and hosted a trail ride in Poolesville.
  • May 2008—Debuted the Dry Seneca Creek Phase II trail and hosted a trail ride.
  • November 2008—Opened the Breezy Loop trail and hosted a ride in Boyds.
  • June 2009—Expanded the Breezy Loop to include the Turtle Trail and hosted a benefit trail ride with proceeds benefiting Great and Small and Circle of Hope therapeutic riding programs.
  • 2010—Expended the Breezy Loop to include the Little Bucklodge Branch Creek Trail and hosted a trail ride in Boyds
  • 2011—Hosted a guided trail ride at Woodstock Equestrian Park

Meetings and Events:

  • October 2006—Community gathering at the historic Comus Inn with informative presentations from the Montgomery County Soil Conservation District and Montgomery County Economic Development Office. The forum was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and exchange information about equine farm management.
  • July 2007 through 2011—EPIC is one of the lead sponsors and beneficiaries of the annual Green Cup Polo Challenge. The event is hosted by the Capitol Polo Club in Poolesville and is aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues.
  • 2007 and Ongoing—sponsorship of five community meetings on equestrian issues attended by equestrians and others from throughout the county.
  • March 2008—EPIC’s first annual meeting at the Seneca Lodge in Germantown.
  • March 2011—Hosted Bombproofing Clinic with Sgt. Rick Pelicano as a benefit for EPIC
  • November 2011—Hosted used tack sale
  • December 2011—Partnered with Hilary Moore Dressage for An EPIC Day of Holiday Shopping in Germantown

Grants Funding and Community Sponsorships:

  • September 2008—Recipient of $3,000 Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit Grant to help facilitate the implementation of the updated Montgomery County Equestrian Survey.
  • June 2009—EPIC hosted a benefit trail ride for Circle of Hope and Great and Small therapeutic riding programs.
  • June 2009—EPIC sponsored the Alex Hartner Memorial Jumper Show at Canterbury Farm in Boyds (proceeds benefit an equestrian scholarship at the Butler Montessori School).
  • June 2009—EPIC placed an advertisement in a Capitol Region Pony Club Show Jumping Rally program at Loch Moy Farm.
  • May 2010—Placed an advertisement in the Potomac Hunt Races program in Poolesville, had prime banner placement on a steeplechase jump at the finish line and staffed a booth
  • May 2011—Placed an advertisement in the Potomac Hunt Races program in Poolesville, had prime banner placement on a steeplechase jump at the finish line and staffed a booth
  • 2011—Made a $500 donation to the Frederick County Equine Alliance
  • January 2012—Received $2,000 grant from the Maryland Horse Industry Board for the expansion of the Breezy Loop Trail system in Boyds

Administrative:

  • July 2006 and Ongoing—EPIC amassed a network of affiliates including equestrian groups, businesses, and stables.
  • 2006 and Ongoing—Establishment of a mechanism to receive and maintain easements.
  • 2007 and Ongoing—EPIC launched its website back in 2007 and has recently revamped the entire site. It’s a great resource of information on equestrian issues, events, activities, area maps and more.
  • 2008 and ongoing—EPIC continues to apply GPS technology to map its trails, including Dry Seneca and the Breezy Loop rides to facilitate increased trail access.
  • 2008 and Ongoing—Publication of EPIC’s quarterly newsletter.