Something to think about… Be True To Dover has heard from many concerned equestrians about the proposal to develop the rail bed.
Dover is known throughout New England for its equestrian heritage. Amelia Peabody, a beloved horsewoman, was instrumental in donating and preserving hundreds of acres of land in Dover for use by residents and equestrians. In describing Dover, the Town website refers to “… miles of shady trails and woods for walking, cross-country skiing, birding and horseback riding…” Horses are part of the everyday life of Dover and fabric of the community. One can see horses when driving about town. Residents keep horses in backyard barns, on large farms or at one of the several equine boarding facilities, which are part of the Dover scene. Dover’s equestrian life is enjoyed by children and adults of all ages.
The Norfolk Hunt Club (norfolkhunt.com), founded in 1895 and located in Dover since 1903, is one of the oldest registered Fox Hunts in the United States. The Club’s location on Centre Street is home to the Norfolk Hunt kennels, “the oldest foxhunting kennels in America still in current use.” Members of the Norfolk Hunt Club work to preserve and protect Dover’s trail system, volunteering thousands of man-hours and financial resources to keep open space available for equestrian and passive recreational use. Many Dover residents enjoy watching the hunt come through on Tuesdays and Saturdays and also attend Polo In The Country at the Norfolk Hunt Steeplechase Course each September.
Equestrians regularly use the extensive trail system intersecting and surrounding the abandoned rail bed. Horse owners have told Be True To Dover, if the rail bed is developed, the equestrian community will be forever changed. Horses will not be allowed on the developed trail, access will be limited and the century-old tradition of foxhunting will be interrupted. If the equestrian lifestyle is impacted, many jobs and businesses – hay, feed, tack, veterinary, farm maintenance – will also feel the impact.
Riders have also contacted Be True To Dover to express their concerns about being safe on the bridle trails if large numbers of out of town visitors, children, strollers and bicycles are traveling along the developed rail bed. Riders are also dismayed the bucolic conserved woodland would be disturbed. Many cite the fact Wylde Woods was named for the family of Peter Wylde, a gold medal winning Olympic equestrian from Dover.
We urge you to think about the WHOLE picture. Consider our community’s equestrian heritage and vibrant equestrian atmosphere. The developed rail bed presents too many risks to the future of the equestrian community. We live in Dover to enjoy the rural, peaceful environment our town provides.
BE TRUE TO DOVER. VOTE NO ON ARTICLE 18!