Fort Custer Horse Friends Association’s works to maintain the trails and advocates for equestrians in the park. We love meeting like-minded riders for fun and fellowship.
In 2016 a total of nearly 1500 volunteer hours was spent on diverse projects and purchases for the park including installation of a grill at the trail head, a manure bunker including cement pad and wood surround, purchasing, installing and painting two metal gates at each end of a trail loop that is closed periodically because of flooding, rerouting 2 trails, and installing permanent trail signage.
In the past few years we erected a pavilion at our staging area and installed an outhouse at the special events area where we hold our campouts. Volunteer time is also spent mowing, chain sawing, and setting up the campout area for our special events. We have purchased our own mower and DR and trailers to haul them to and from the park. Volunteers use their own equipment as well.
Future projects include replacing a bridge floor, purchasing picnic tables for a proposed equestrian camp at the trailhead, maintaining footing at the creek crossings and a boundary fence around the staging area water pump. Our funds come from member dues, donations, campout fees and auction, and through former Pfizer employees volunteer grants.
We work with the other groups in the park to maintain trails and bring concerns of the park users to the Park Administration.
We are working toward having equestrian camping at Fort Custer but that is a long-term goal. In the meantime we enjoy what we have - some of the best trails in Michigan!
Our board meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month except December at the Galesburg Library at 4:30PM.
FCHFA sponsors two equestrian campouts - one in May and one in September. The club provides coffee and doughnuts, hotdogs on Friday evening, and a potluck is held Saturday. Another of our long term goals is to have multiple campouts each year.
We have a representative that attends the Michigan Horse Council meetings so that we are aware of horse-related issues in the state as well as events in which our members may want to participate. Board members often attend meetings of other Michigan Equestrian Trail Riding groups to support and learn from them.
The Trail Separation proposal was completed in 2011. This project separated the Moutain Biking trails from the Equestrian trails. FCHFA members have worked to finish 10+ miles of new trails. The DNR put extensive work and money into creating a new Equestrian Trailhead with water well, outhouse, and currently 89 feet of gravelled parking area.
This past year has been full of work outings to clean up the trails that were roughed in by the DNR machinery. We've also put plastic grates and gravel at two creek crossings to make it easier for the horses to cross. We will continue to improve the trails in 2012 and beyond.
FCHFA members often attend DNR events at Fort Custer to assist in evasive plant removal and other projects to help make the Recreation Area better for all of the users.
We welcome new members. Anyone who loves horseback riding in the beautiful outdoors is welcome to join us!