POLK COUNTY - In a significant development for equestrian riders and outdoor enthusiasts in Polk County, the Circuit Court has granted a stay on the July 26, 2023 decision regarding the Stower Seven Lakes Trail, effectively allowing the equestrian season to continue.
On July 26, 2023, the Court entered a Decision and Order that had reversed the approval of the Stower Seven Lakes Trail Master Plan, resulting in the prohibition of horseback riding and snowmobiling on the trail. However, on August 15, 2023, the County filed a motion for reconsideration and relief from the July 26, 2023 Order, filed an appeal from the July 26, 2023 Order and, on August 28, 2023, sought a stay on the order pending the appeal process.
After careful consideration and due process, the Circuit Court held oral arguments on September 28, 2023, and further discussions took place during a hearing on October 2, 2023. During the October 2nd hearing, the Court made a decision to stay the July 26, 2023 Order specifically with respect to equestrians while the County’s motion for reconsideration and relief is pending. The Court has reserved its decision on whether to grant a similar stay for snowmobiles and on the Defendants' motion for a stay pending appeal.
In the drafted Order that is awaiting the Court’s signature, it states, "IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the Court’s July 26, 2023 Order is stayed to the extent it would prevent equestrians from using the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail, pending the Court’s decision on the motion for reconsideration and relief. Equestrians may resume using the Trail consistent with the terms of the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail Master Plan, pending the Court’s decision on the motion for reconsideration and relief."
For more information and updates regarding the Stower Seven Lakes Trail, please visit Polk County’s official website here.