Due to increased development in this area and the popularity of the FETA trail system, we have received a growing number of inquiries related to trail access and permanent trail protection. Some purchasers have been surprised after closing. To avoid disappointed expectations, prospective purchasers, sellers, developers and realtors are advised that:
1. FETA trails are entirely on private property. Many miles of trails are permanently protected by riding easements, and we are working to protect the remainder. However, your trail access protection is entirely dependent upon the location of the property in question. Trails not protected by permanent easement may be closed by landowners. This happens rarely, but is a risk.
2. FETA landowners have a long standing rule that “if you want to ride on my trails, you have to let me ride on yours” if they adjoin FETA trails (present or future). This reciprocity requirement has worked fairly and equitably for years, and helped enormously in preserving FETA trails. If you are purchasing in an “Equestrian Development”, be sure that the covenants of the development permit access to their trails by FETA. If FETA system trails are in the area now or expand to the area in the future and can “hook up” to those trails, riding by FETA members must be permitted or landowners in that development will lose their ability to join the FETA system. This is a matter of fundamental fairness, and cannot be waived. Even if it is not in an area where FETA may expand trails, “exclusive” landowner only trails may result in your exclusion from riding on neighboring trails. So make sure that your development’s covenants will permit future access by other equestrian users, including FETA.
3. Many ads use the FETA name as a marketing tool for property nowhere near the trails or with long dangerous hacks on busy roads. For your protection, you should ask the seller and realtor for a written representation that if you purchase this property you are and will remain eligible to join FETA and specifying the location of the nearest trail access.
4. To avoid confusion and disappointment, we suggest that you work with an experienced equestrian realtor who knows the trail systems and equestrian areas.
Thank you for your interest and support of the historic and unique FETA Trails. We are happy to provide factual information about the location of FETA trails and access.
Information for Polk County, NC area Realtors:
The Foothills Equestrian Trails Association (FETA) horseback riding trails are located in the
original Hunting Country of Polk County on legacy trails going back to the Cherokee, the
Westward Expansion of the 1800s and the establishment of foxhunting in the 1940s. These
trails are unique and reflect our history and character. FETA works hard to preserve this legacy
to ensure our open space and quality of life. We want realtors to have the correct information
should you have a buyer interested in the trails or represent a seller with FETA trails.
• The FETA trails are entirely on private property, and are not a park or public land. They may
not be used by the public for any reason without the permission of the landowner.
• You must be a Riding Member of FETA to ride FETA trails, including on FENCE property.
• Riding Members must be a resident or landowner of, or board their horse in, Polk County,
NC, or Landrum or Campobello, SC.
• FETA trails are for Members to horseback ride or carriage drive only when they are open (no
hiking, no dog walking, no bikes, etc.).
• FETA trails are on private land hosted by generous landowners, who can walk their dogs, hike
or do whatever they want on them.
• Not all horse farms have direct access to FETA trails. Agents and Buyers should contact FETA
to confirm access to trails before represent or purchasing property.
• Landowners with FETA trail easements have protected trails. Listing agents should contact
FETA or check public records to see if property has a FETA easement.
• All members sign a liability release form to protect landowners. Landowners are also
protected by the North Carolina Recreational Use Statute and insurance.
For complete information about the trails and important contacts go to www.fetatrails.org or
contact the president via the website. We look forward to working with you.
For further information, please contact FETA president.