In October 1998, Clemson University hosted The National Symposium on Horse Trails in Forest Ecosystems: the first attempt to create a concerted effort at focusing on trails issues in a natural resource conservation policy context.

Following the National Symposium, Clemson University Forestry Professor Gene W. Wood was instrumental in the creation of the Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference (SETC), which was first held in 2000 at Clemson University. For the next 12 years SETC was an annual conference, with groups from individual southeastern states assuming the responsibilities of developing and hosting each year's conference. After SETC2012 in Lexington KY, it was decided to change the conference name to the NATIONAL Equestrian Trails Conference (NETC) to better reflect both the aspirations and audience of the conference. NETC2013 was held in Rock Hill, SC, and after NETC2013 a permanent board was appointed to facilitate continuity and assist in ongoing conference responsibilities. NETC2016 marks the first conference since 2013.

And while NETC2016 will convene over fifteen years since Dr. Wood's inaugural event, his words written in 2000 when he laid out the new conference's purpose and ambitions remain true to this day:

The purpose of the Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference (SETC) is to bring together people who are concerned about the future of the natural and cultural heritage of the trail experience from the back of a horse. The use of saddle and pack stock on trails in wildlands is coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism by natural resource management agencies and non-government organizations that focus on wildland preservation. Some of these criticisms are deserved; others are the products of misperceptions.
SETC will strive for equestrian self-evaluation, learning and the development of a conservation force that will influence land-use policies at local, state, regional and national levels. It will offer a forum for meaningful communication between natural resource management agencies and trail equestrians. In this forum, everyone will learn from everyone else. The ultimate goal is to have opinions that are based on the best available information to become the platform for trail policy development.

Those wishing to learn more about NETC history can find documents from past conferences below:

2000 SETC Archive
2001 SETC Archive
2002 SETC Archive
2003 SETC Archive
2004 SETC Archive
2005 SETC Archive
2006 SETC Archive
2007 SETC Archive
2008 SETC Archive
2009 SETC Archive
2010 SETC Archive



Jacque Alexander
Buffalo River BCHA

Candace Bourne
Volunteer and Trail Worker

Ashley Burns
Kentucky Back
Country Horsemen

Ken Carpenter
Trail Rider

Roy Cornett
Back Country Horsemen
of America

Erin Glassman
Kansas State Trails
Advocates Coordinator

Jan Hancock
American Trails
Advisory Board

Deirdre Lightsey
Back Country
Horsemen of NC

Russell Martin
Missouri BCHA

Joanne Mitchell
Volunteer and Trail Worker

Yvette Rollins
Indiana BCHA

Bill Steele
SC Horsemen's Council