Lehigh Valley

Horses clean up Jacobsburg State Park trails

NAZARETH, Pa. - Liam and Ella are two Percheron horses who typically do carriage rides and weddings for Bethlehem Carriage Company.

"They're usually very clean. It's spring or as people call it mud season because when horses are outside they get muddy," said President of the Lehigh Valley Horse Council, Kathy Grube.

And muddy is what Korie Kalavoda and her two horses got Thursday as they were called into action to clear Jacobsburg State Park of downed trees.

"They all started their life as Amish work horses so they're used to heavier work, doing the carriage work with rides in Bethlehem around Christmas time," Kalavoda, owner of Bethlehem Carriage Company and Lehigh Valley Trail Rides said.

Usually, a maintenance crew takes care of the park but the trails are too narrow for heavy machinery.

So Kalavoda connected the horses to a hitch, which picks up the trees as they walk, and the Percherons maneuvered their way through the park to clear the logs.

Grube says using horses in environmentally sensitive areas is more effective.

"The horses are the easiest way. They have the most muscle," she said.

After a couple months off, Liam and Ella admittedly weren't in the best shape but they got the job done.

Now hikers, bikers and horseback riders can once again ride freely through the park.

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