Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does FETA own the trails? All FETA trails are owned by private landowners. Some trails are protected by equestrian trail easements to FETA but remain privately held. Landowners have ultimate control over the use of their trails and may themselves use them as they wish.Q: How big is the FETA trail system?
That is the $64,000 question! It is very hard to estimate the total mileage of the FETA trail system. The trail system encompasses all of Old Hunting Country (used by the Tryon Hounds from the 1920's to the 1950's) and New Hunting Country (used for fox hunting until the 1980's) as well as surrounding areas. It encompasses approximately 15 square miles bounded (for identification purposes) approximately by Highway 108 to the North, Highway 14 to the South, Highway 176 to the West and Highway 9 to the East. The system is estimated to comprise approximately 125-150 miles of trails.
Q: What is FETA's role?
FETA was formed by area riders and landowners to protect and preserve the trails, and establish collective guidelines for equestrian use. Landowners depend on FETA to ensure that riders have submitted medical information and release/wavier and rules agreements they need for legal protection, and to collect the dues that pay the bills for some of the trail maintenance and insurance. FETA does not sponsor or coordinate trail riding or other activities on the trails.
Q: Who manages FETA?
FETA's By-Laws establish the broad policy rules concerning the trail association. FETA is managed by a Board of Directors with 12-14 members on staggered three year terms. The Board submits a slate of candidates for the open positions based on volunteer efforts and interests of members. Additionally, the Board likes to have good representation from the larger landowners. Seven of the twelve to fourteen Board members must be landowner members. The open Board seats are voted on by the Landowners at the Annual Meeting, usually held in early fall.
Q: Who makes the rules?
The Board establishes the rules and reviews them annually for the coming membership year. Most current rules are the result of landowner complaints about conduct on their trails. Landowners are not, however, required to observe FETA rules on their own trails. Landowners may also waive a rule for their own trail in specific instances. For example, a landowner might give a neighbor permission to use a gravel lane on his land to access River Road when the trails are closed or they may permit a neighbor to bring their dogs on trail rides. The landowner may not want everyone riding on the wet trails or bringing unfamiliar dogs but may permit a limited exception. This is their sole right as a landowner.
Exceptions to the rules are not common or encouraged as they make general rules enforcement very difficult. Most such exceptions are between friends and neighbors for limited reasons. Most Landowner Members, particularly out of town and non-riding Landowners, do not want to be asked to waive the rules which have been established for their benefit.
FETA's relationship with landowners depends on riders obeying the rules. Rules violators jeopardize the entire trail system, and are treated seriously. Rules violations are dealt with by the Board of Directors in their discretion, which may include termination of your FETA membership. Please help us show our gratitude to our generous landowners by reading and following rules.
Q: Who can join FETA?
Due to the popularity of the FETA trail system, the FETA Board was forced to introduce membership restrictions beginning in 2001. Currently, only residents, landowners or persons boarding horses in Polk County, Landrum and Campobello are eligible to join FETA as riding members. Persons boarding horses in this area, unless grandfathered as members prior to 2001, lose their membership eligibility if they move their horse from the area.
Q: What is FETA's budget?
Your board carefully manages your dues and donations. Annual revenues are approximately $55,000. Approximately 46% of revenues go to trail maintenance and construction, another 42% for insurance to cover Landowners and the remaining balance to membership expenses (saddle tags, printing, membership materials, postage), the annual meeting and legal fees for easements. We gladly accept donations since we are committed to keeping membership fees low.
Q: Who maintains the trails?
Although FETA and landowners try to keep the trails clear, members ride at their own risk. Neither FETA nor the Landowners represent that the trails will be in a safe condition due to weather, man-made or natural obstruction, surface conditions, neglect or any other reason. The association and landowners expressly disclaim a duty to maintain the trails in a safe condition. Report any trail problems promptly so that we can schedule the work to be done. Turn around time depends on something getting reported, scheduled, and prioritized. Even if you think someone else must have reported it go ahead and report, multiple reports are always better than no reports. Give the trail name if known, if you are not sure describe the location. If you have your smart phone with you, take a photo of the problem and send it to Trailmaster@fetatrails.org. Indicate if the trail is blocked or if you can ride through. Remember, you can't leave a trail to go around something, it violates your membership rules. Describe the problem. Is it a tree (how big around), washout, overhanging limbs, etc.? Give the date and approximate time you found the obstruction, so we can determine if we cleared it before your report came in. Report problems by emailing Trailmaster@fetatrails.org
Q. Are the trails always open?
No. Trails are closed when weather conditions would make riding damaging to the trails. Trails are also closed when extreme weather has resulted in known hazardous conditions which have not been fixed. Members are required to obey trail status rules. Trail status should be checked by calling the FETA answering machine at be 828-859-0133. .
Q. What happens if a member violates the rules or a person rides without being a member?
Persons violating FETA rules are given one warning and put on probationary status. Additional violations may result in the termination of membership at the discretion of the Board. In addition, any FETA landowner may prohibit any member from using his or her property for cause, which is a matter between the landowner and the member.
Persons riding on the trails without FETA membership or specific landowner permission are trespassers and are subject to criminal trespass charges as well as liability for damages resulting from their trespass.
Q: Is there a map?
No. For privacy and security reasons, large landowner members do not want maps publicly distributed. If you are a new member or want to explore unknown trail areas please contact Trailmaster@fetatrails.org for information. For a detailed description of FETA Parking areas go to the bottom of this page and download the PDF.
Q: Are the trails permanent?
Many miles of trails are protected by trail use easements to FETA or conservation organizations, and additional easements are being sought. FETA also has a "reciprocity rule" which provides that landowners wishing to ride other people's trails must make their trails available for riding, and that developers who develop property with private or FETA trails must make them available to FETA or their buyers will not be eligible to join FETA.
Q: Can I volunteer?
Absolutely!! We need volunteers for trail liaisons to monitor trails, trail stewards to help with rules enforcement, newsletter contributors, hospitality and mailings.
Q: Can I bring a guest? Yes, members may bring a guest but guests must fill out a release and carry a Coggins. Read number 5 of the Rules Agreement carefully for full details. Membership Rules, Forms, Guest Release
To volunteer, contact the president email@example.com.