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America the Beautiful: The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series

A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

The following passes make up the series:

2014 Annual Pass  - Photo by Katherine Hawkins-2012 Share the Experience Photo Contest Grand Prize winner

Annual Pass

  • $80 annual pass
  • Available to everyone.
  • Can be obtained in person at a federal recreation site, or by calling 1-888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747), Ext. 3 (Hours of operation are: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Mountain time), or online. Buy Now
  • Non-transferable.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Interagency Annual Pass

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Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military

  • Available to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members.
  • Must be obtained in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173).

Frequently Asked Questions about the Annual Pass for U.S. Military

America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass

Senior Pass

  • $10 Lifetime pass
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining a Senior Pass through the mail is twenty dollars ($20). Ten ($10) for the Senior Pass and ten ($10) for processing the application. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.
  • Generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Interagency Senior Pass

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Access Pass

Access Pass

  • Free
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining an Access Pass through the mail is ten dollars ($10) for processing the application (the Pass is free). Applicants must provide documentation of permanent disability and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and specialized interpretive services.
  • Generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Interagency Access Pass

2013 Volunteer Pass-Photo by Glen Maki, 2011 Share the Experience Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner

Volunteer Pass

  • Free
  • For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.
  • Contact your local federal recreation site for more information about volunteer opportunities or visit Volunteer.gov.

NOTE: Golden Access and Golden Age Passports are no longer sold. However, these passes will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass.

The five agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program are:

See the site locations that issue these passes.

(Source: nps.gov)

 

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Master your game! Take a swing at one of Georgia’s Golf courses this Spring.

Augusta Classic South golf course

Georgia has more than 150 golf courses, clubs and schools, as well as the Masters Tournament played each year at Augusta National Golf Club. Search more than 200 Georgia courses by visiting ExploreGeorgia.org.

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National Parks and Historic Hotels: a Perfect Pairing

Your National Park experience doesn’t have to end at sundown. Visit a National Park and stay at a historic hotel that combines culture and history with comfortable lodging and exceptional service – nothing short of an extraordinary vacation. Celebrate National Park Week by (April 19-26) enjoying the grandeur of National Parks and charm of Historic Hotels.

 

Death Valley National Park

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The Inn at Furnace Creek (1927)
Death Valley, California

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the Inn has remained an elegant hideaway for more than 85 years and is open from mid-October to mid-May. The Inn features the world’s “lowest golf course,” at 214 feet below sea level. Enjoy fine dining in one of the world’s most remote settings or relax by the spring-fed pool on site. The Inn was designed by prominent Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin and landscape architect Daniel Hull, and built by the Pacific Coast Borax Company of Twenty Mule Team. Death Valley National Park has been designated as the largest International Dark Sky Park, the perfect place for stargazing and exploring the night sky.

BOOK NOW

Grand Canyon National Park

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El Tovar Hotel (1905)
Grand Canyon, Arizona

El Tovar Hotel, a former Harvey House, is considered the premier lodging facility at the Grand Canyon. The hotel has hosted luminaries such as Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Western author Zane Grey, President Bill Clinton, and many others. El Tovar was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987.

BOOK NOW

Yellowstone National Park

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Old Faithful Inn (1905)
Lake Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

This 329-rom rustic-style lodge, with its log and wood shingle exterior, neighbors the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful Inn was designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987. The original part of the Inn, known as the “Old House,” was completed in 1905. Today the Inn is an icon of national park architecture.

BOOK NOW

Zion National Park

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Zion Lodge (1923)
Springdale, Utah

Zion Lodge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Designed in the 1920s by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built by the Union Pacific Railroad, Zion Lodge is the only lodging facility located in Zion National Park. The lodge is open year-round, and offers two dining options: Red Rock Grill, full-service dining in the lodge boasting spectacular views; and Castle Dome Café, a casual, outdoor dining experience that is open seasonally.

BOOK NOW

(Source: Historic Hotels of America)

 

 

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Great American Backyard Campout is June 28

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Great American Backyard Campout® is a part of National Wildlife Federation’s efforts to help inspire Americans to protect wildlife, including a 3-year campaign to get 10 million kids to spend regular outdoor time in nature.

Since 2005, thousands of people from across the nation have participated in the Great American Backyard Campout the fourth Saturday of June in support of Great Outdoors Month. This annual nationwide event is designed to promote the benefits of camping as a way to connect people with nature and support NWF’s efforts to get kids outdoors.

This year’s event is June 28, 2014 and Georgia State Parks is encouraging Georgians to look at the state parks as an extension of their own backyard.

More than 40 parks are beckoning people outside – tell campfire stories, play in the dirt and sleep under the stars. Whether a first-time camper or an experienced backpacker, Georgia State Parks have a campsite for every taste and interest.

Georgia State Parks has more than 2,400 campsites, including tent-only areas, RV pull-thru sites, primitive camping and group camping areas. Backcountry camping starts at $6 and modern campsites with many amenities range from $24-$30 per night. Prices vary depending upon the park, amenities and season.

For details, go to GeorgiaStateParks.org/campsites   http://gastateparks.org/campsites

 

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Easter Eggstravagaza at The Rock Ranch

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A free, outdoor egg hunt will be held Saturday, April 12 from 11 am-2pm at The Rock Ranch, Truett Cathy’s 1500-acre property in Upson County, Georgia.

This event, appropriately called The Easter Eggstravaganza, will feature 40,000 plastic prize-filled eggs. Staff and volunteers will spend hours hiding eggs by hand for the event. Age-specific egg hunts will begin at staggered times at different location across the ranch. Groups include: toddlers under 2 years old, ages 2 and 3, ages 4 to 6, ages 7 to 12 and ages 13 and older. There is no charge for the Easter Egg Hunt and participants should bring their own baskets. Baskets and other items will also be sold in the gift shop.

Egg hunts begin at 12:45 p.m., but make sure to come early to join in the Easter festivities. The fun begins at 11 am. with story time at the log cabin with Harvey Wilson, a local author of Christian children’s books and longtime friend of The Rock Ranch. There will be photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny beginning at 11 am. Guests are encouraged to bring their own cameras. The Easter Story will be presented at 12:30 pm by PJ Flores, pastor of elementary and fusion (pre-teens) at Mable White Baptist Church in Macon, GA. This event is a collaborative effort with local businesses participating by sponsoring cases of prize-filled plastic eggs. The title sponsor is Zoe Pediatrics of Thomaston, GA.

The Rock Ranch “Cow-A-Bunga” Zip Lines will be open for guests who are not too chicken. These amazing attractions transport guests, at a treetop level, across the corn field and over ponds at speeds of up to 35 mph. A single guest may ride the fast lines for $8 or the long lines for $12.75. The 50 ft. tall rock climbing wall is $5. The Rock Ranch will have three concessions locations open featuring their new menus! Options include Chick-fil-A sandwiches, cup-o-ribs, roasted corn, sausage on a stick, turkey legs, roast beef sundaes, ½ pound hot dogs, chicken salad croissants, kids meals, kettle corn and drinks.

The Rock Ranch U-Pick area and Farm Market and Gifts location (open Monday through Saturday May 22 to November 22) will be open during this event. The Farm Market offers honey from the hives on the ranch, homegrown, steroid-free, antibiotic -free beef, fresh fruit, garden vegetables and their famous homemade strawberry Ice Dream. Families may pick and purchase any early strawberries before or after the egg hunt, while supplies last.

For more about The Rock Ranch, visit http://www.therockranch.com/.
 

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Grand Lucayan, Bahamas Offers a Weekend of Easter Fun for the Whole Family

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Families searching for a warm weather getaway over the Easter break need look no further than Grand Lucayan, Bahamas. The resort will host a robust schedule of activities complemented by budget-friendly Spring Fever rates (starting at $125 per night), offering the perfect combination of fun and affordable.

Grand Lucayan’s Easter activities schedule (available April 18-20) is full of holiday fun including Easter egg hunts, sand castle building, scavenger hunts, movie nights, and family relay races. As part of the resort’s Spring Fever promotion, guests who book their trip by April 15 will also enjoy rates starting at $125 per night, free meals for children ages 12 and under with a paying adult, 20% off spa services at the resort’s Senses Spa, 15% off golf fees, and late check-out.

On the dining front, the international buffet-style Willy Broadleaf’s, will offer an April 18 Good Friday Menu featuring Conch Chowder; Fried Plantains; Black Eyed Peas and Rice; Whole Fried Snapper; and a carving station of Baked Pork Loin with Apple Ginger Sauce. The Good Friday Buffet will be served from 6 to 10 p.m. and is $23 for adults and $12 for children ages 5 to 12.

On Sunday, April 20, guests can indulge in an Easter Buffet at Willy Broadleaf’s, featuring holiday favorites including Mushroom Bisque with Truffle Cream; Risotto with Sliced Garlic Pesto Sauce and Mixed Vegetables; Roasted Lamb with Marsala Rosemary Sauce; Cornish Game Hen with Raisin Sauce; and Brochette of Seafood with Citrus Sauce. The meal will end on a sweet note with a selection of Easter themed desserts including Red Velvet Cake and Bahamian Guava Duff. The Easter Sunday Buffet is $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 5 to 12, served from 12 to 4 p.m.

For more information on Grand Lucayan, Bahamas or to make reservations visit www.grandlucayan.com or call (877) 434-2996.

 

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Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival Expects to Double in Size This Year

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The musical highlight of the Dogwood Arts Festival will once again rock Knoxville over a three-day span from April 4-6.  Moving to a new stage on Jackson Avenue in Knoxville’s Old City, built solely for this budding concert series, Rhythm N’ Blooms will showcase more than 86 musical performances, five spoken word jams, and six workshops – featuring blue-grass and jazz to Americana and folk music, and everything in between.

The weekend-long music festival will move through venues along Jackson Avenue, and culminate at the Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum on Sunday, April 6 with nearly 20,000 concertgoers expected over the three-day event.

Produced by Dogwood Arts, in partnership with Attack Monkey Productions, organizers have seen the event double in size and scope year over year, and Attack Monkey’s owner, Chyna Brackeen thinks 2014 will prove no different.  “What I love – absolutely love – about Rhythm N’ Blooms is that it is a live performer’s festival,” says Brackeen, who hand-picked each member of the line-up.  “These acts, even the ones you may not be familiar with, are coming to Knoxville to put on a show.  Period.  And I have no doubt you’ll discover your new favorite band or artist at Rhythm N’ Blooms.”

Rhythm N’ Blooms combines live music with art and nature in ways that no other concert series does.  For example, a live art competition, the Sharpie Art Door Slam, will take place on Friday night, April 4 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  During the musical performances taking place at the Jackson Avenue Viaduct Stage, a juried group of sketch artists will have two hours to create a masterpiece using predominately Sharpie markers and a series of reclaimed doors, donated by Knoxville developer, Dewhirst Properties.  The door installation will become a piece of art on Jackson Avenue on display during Rhythm N’ Blooms.

New this year, Rhythm N’ Blooms will host music at venues along historic Jackson Ave. on Friday and Saturday. The Village located in the parking lot across from The Standard will also have entertainment for everyone of all ages with festivities such as slack lines, climbing walls, artist merchandise and buskers, an artful guitar auction, food trucks and more.

The natural beauty and blooms of the city’s dogwood trees will be on display Sunday morning, as bike riders take the nature trail from Downtown to the Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum, where they will enjoy a day of live music in one of Knoxville’s most bucolic settings.

Festival goers will be able to purchase a pass for one day of the concert series or for the entire festival. Each pass holder will have access to the Rhythm N’ Blooms trolleys which will take them from venue to venue.

The Rhythm N’ Blooms Guitar Design Contest is back! Sponsored by Knox County Schools and Epiphone, Knox County high school students will submit their own artful guitar designs and a finalist will be chosen from each participating high school. The finalists will have their designed instruments be displayed on Friday and Saturday in The Village and on Sunday at the Botanical Garden & Arboretum. Prizes will go to Best-of-Show, Second place and Third place. Each of the guitars on display will then be auctioned to the public to benefit Dogwood Arts.

Rhythm N’ Blooms will host Musician’s Corner on Saturday, April 5 at Boyd’s Jig & Reel at 101 S. Central St.  Musician’s Corner is free and open to the public and will include workshops, exhibits, and demonstrations as well as festival and artist merchandise for sale.

Workshop Schedule:

          1:00 – 2:00 p.m.                 Carrie Rodriguez – Fiddle Workshop

          2:15 – 3:15 p.m.                 Dom Flemmons – Rhythm Workshop

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.                 Langhorne Slim and Cruz Contreras with moderation by Steve Wildsmith – Songwriting Workshop

4:45 – 5:45 p.m.                 Knoxville Entrepreneur Center – Music Business Workshop

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.                 Ben Sollee – Cello Workshop

7:15 – 8:15 p.m.                 Mutlu – Vocal Workshop

 

*Workshops will be filled on a first come, first serve basis

Tickets for the music festival are on sale now; single day passes are $30.00, while the three-day pass is $60.00.  “There is tremendous value with the three-day pass, when you consider you can see all of the acts for approximately $0.50 per concert,” adds Brackeen.  VIP passes are also available for $125.  Visit the festival’s website to purchase Day, Festival, and VIP tickets, www.rhythmnbloomsfest.com/tickets and in person at the Knoxville Visitor Center for Festival passes only. For a full list of the 2014 Rhythm N’ Blooms artists, go to www.rhythmnnbloomsfest.com.

Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate our region’s arts, culture, and natural beauty. For more information on Dogwood Arts, visitwww.dogwoodarts.com or call (865) 637-4561.

 

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DNR Launches Interactive Map of Recreational Lands

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has unveiled an interactive map that identifies DNR-managed lands and outdoor recreation opportunities. The “Georgia Outdoor Map” includes state parks, wildlife management areas, public fishing areas, boat ramps, and historic sites. Users are able to search by category to find locations where they can camp, hunt, hike, fish or explore history.

“We are proud to offer this new resource to Georgia’s citizens and visitors,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “We are blessed here in Georgia with a state that is rich in both natural and cultural resources. I want to encourage Georgians to use this interactive tool to find new places to explore.”

The “Georgia Outdoor Map” can be visited using any device with a web browser including desktops, phones and tablets. By checking criteria fields, users can find recreational opportunities, directions, handicap accessibility, telephone numbers and website links for more details. The tool also offers a “near me” function to help users determine which recreational opportunities are closest to them.

“With this web-based tool, users can easily see what types of outdoor recreation are available in all parts of the state,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “The map includes all DNR properties open for public use, from the smallest historic site to the largest wildlife management area. It’s a quick way to find boat ramps, campgrounds, archery ranges and other places for enjoying the great outdoors.”

To view the free, interactive map, visit www.georgiaoutdoormap.com.

 

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The 2014 Dogwood Arts Festival set to celebrate the natural canvas of the East Tennessee region

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For more than 50 years, Knoxville has blossomed with the Dogwood Arts Festival, a celebration of the natural and cultural beauty of East Tennessee.  Throughout the month of April, this vibrant festival promotes the history and future of the region’s arts by featuring an exciting, fresh blend of gardens and trails, music, theater, crafts, film, dance, and culinary, literary and visual arts.

A contagious sense of pride fills the air as locals and visitors walk, run, and bike the nationally-recognized Dogwood Trails. As the featured trail, Sequoyah Hills’ Talahi Park will be adorned with lights to celebrate its 60th anniversary.  For those ready to experience the natural canvas of the region, the festival encourages guests to bring their bicycles to ride through the Dogwood Trails during Bikes & Blooms on April 26-27.

The renewed excitement will be felt as the festival’s Rhythm N’ Blooms, set April 4-6 on downtown’s hip and emerging Jackson Ave., infuses Knoxville with a unique variety of musical flavors.  From well-known, leading artists to locally-revered, emerging performers, festival goers will fall in love with the music and the community around them.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to interact in studios and around town, as artists of all ages showcase their work throughout Knoxville during Dogwood Art DeTour on April 12-13.  Further events to highlight the month-long celebration include the Market Square Art Fair, NEXUS 2014, Open Gardens, Walking Trails, A Very Special Arts Festival, Regional Fine Art Exhibition, Art in Public Places Knoxville, Chalk Walk, and the East Tennessee Art Educator and Student Art Exhibitions, which will feature the work of local K-12 school students and their teachers.

Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate our region’s arts, culture, and natural beauty.  For more information on Dogwood Arts, visitwww.dogwoodarts.com or call (865) 637-4561.

 

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The Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association to host open house at Rabun Arena; visitors are welcome to ride!

PasoFinoHorse_DrillTeam

Photo Credit: Cheri Prill
Descendants of the Conquistadors’ horses, Paso Fino Horses reflect their Spanish heritage in their beauty, strength and proud carriage.The versatile Paso Fino Horse excels at barrels, trail riding, pole-bending, working cattle and much more.

Have you ever wanted to experience the smooth ride of a gaited horse? Now’s your chance to take a free ride on a Paso Fino and enjoy watching these elegant but hard-working horses in action.

The Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association (GPFHA) announced that the non-profit organization is hosting an open house at Rabun Arena in Tiger, GA, on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The open house is open to the public and free to spectators. The schedule is available at the association’s website, www.gpfha.org.

The annual spring Open House and Clinic is growing in popularity each year, with 30 horses participating in last year’s event. This year the Open House allows plenty of time for visitors to drop in and even take a free “demo ride” to see just how smooth the celebrated Paso Fino gait can be.

Well-known Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA) trainer Shaw Laney will hold a clinic for Paso Fino riders/owners, followed by a series of “fun classes” for the clinic attendees to practice their new skills. Paso Fino games on horseback round out the schedule and are always a crowd-pleaser. Activities begin at 9:30 am and spectators are welcome at no charge.

Athletic, Beautiful, and Easy to Ride

The Paso Fino horse, an ancient Spanish breed whose ancestors were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus, is known for its very smooth gait. Paso Finos have an evenly spaced gait that results in an extremely comfortable ride.

“Their smooth ride has made the Paso Fino a popular mount for endurance riding and working cattle,” said GPFHA president, Katie Lynam. “They are a very versatile breed used for barrel racing, team penning, pole bending, and trail riding. They tend to be easy keepers, have a wonderful temperament, and enjoy the company of people. Paso Finos are a great choice for people with bad backs who otherwise may not be able to ride.”

The Paso Fino’s unique gaits mean much more than a comfortable ride to some. “Many people who were told they could never ride a horse again because of injury or adverse health have found they can ride Paso Finos,” said Lynam.

“We encourage folks to drop in at our open house and visit our website, www.gpfha.org, to learn more about the breed,” Lynam added. “We will have many Paso Fino owners available to answer questions and tell you more about the breed. It’s our way of sharing the enjoyment we get from these special horses.”

About the Paso Fino Horse

As the first horses introduced to the Americas, the ancestors of the Paso Fino were brought to the New World by the Conquistadors, where they served as foundation stock for remount stations across South and Central America. Descendants of the Pura Raza Española (the “Pure Spanish Horse,” known in America as the Andalusian), the Barb and the now-extinct Spanish Jennet, Paso Finos are among some of the most beautiful and intelligent horses in the world. With their graceful arched necks, flowing manes and large, soft eyes, these horses will truly steal your heart.

Paso Finos were used as plantation and ranch horses in Puerto Rico, Colombia and other Latin American countries, to be ridden comfortably for hours at a time without tiring. Paso Finos can walk, canter, and gallop as other horses do, but their preferred way of going is their own four-beat lateral gait. The evenly spaced pattern is evident from birth and does not have to be taught to the horse, although training can refine and enhance it for the show ring.

As a breed, the Paso Fino was virtually unknown in the United States until American servicemen, stationed in Puerto Rico during World War II, discovered and began importing these beautiful and intelligent animals. Six decades later, Paso Finos have increased in numbers here and around the world, competing at the local, regional, national, and international levels and winning more fans along the way.

The Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association

GPFHA is a statewide (and beyond) group of horse owners and enthusiasts, professional trainers, breeders, trail riders, and show competitors. This diverse group has one thing in common: the love of the Paso Fino horse. Members regularly participate in local parades, horse events and breed demonstrations around the state. Activities are listed on the calendar of events at their website, www.gpfha.org.

As a group, GPFHA members introduce more people to the world of the Paso Fino horse each year. GPFHA is there to encourage and inform any and all who are interested in this wonderful breed. It’s all about the Paso Fino, family and friends!

For more information visit www.gpfha.org – Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association  or www.pfha.org – Paso Fino Horse Association .

 

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