As posted in The Daily Record:
The Ohio Horseman’s Council recently named Wooster Resident Tom Bahl its 2017 “Gibby” award winner for contributions to the building, maintenance and preservation of bridle trails in Ohio.
Bahl, a long-time member of the Wayne County Chapter of OHC, received the coveted award for his countless hours and years of support in the maintenance and ongoing improvements to horse trails at the historic Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas and Mohican Memorial State Forest in Loudonville. The award was presented before a large crowd of fellow OHC members, family and representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at a ceremony held at Barkcamp State Park in Belmont County.
The “Gibby” award is named after the developer of the bridle trails at Barkcamp. In the early 1980s, Wilbur “Gibby” Gibson worked with ODNR and numerous volunteers and land owners to establish a bridle trail system and horseman’s campground in the park. Barkcamp State Park is a popular riding destination for horseback riders. Likewise, the same commitment by Bahl to work with land managers at Malabar Farm State Park and Mohican Memorial State Forest is reflective of the volunteer commitment to make Ohio’s bridle trails a destination for all equestrians. Bahl said “I am honored to receive this recognition, but I must say there are many volunteers from the Wayne County chapter of OHC who share this with me. If not for their cooperation in working together, we would not have the scenic and popular trails to ride at Malabar and Mohican.”
Bahl took ownership and responsibility for maintaining the trails at Malabar and over the years, developed a relationship with park management allowing him to spearhead efforts to improve and establish new trails, rerouting trails where erosion took place and making improvements to the horseman’s campground. In addition to Malabar, he spends a majority of his time working on the trails within Mohican accomplishing preservation efforts such as utilizing the water bars technique to direct the flow of water off the trails, clearing deadfall and making repairs to trails where footing may be an issue for horse and rider.