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Secretary Dunn helps celebrate Ridley Creek State Park’s new equestrian arena
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn last week joined Bureau of State Park officials and equestrian enthusiasts in dedicating a new indoor equestrian arena that will extend riding opportunities at Ridley Creek State Park, near Media, Delaware County.

“Regardless of season or weather, this carefully constructed building will permit and encourage year-round services and a more consistent revenue stream,” Dunn said. “We know equestrian enthusiasts take their pursuits very seriously, just as we know Ellie and Tom Chidester, owners and operators of Hidden Valley Farm, have put their heart and dedication into developing a premiere concession that operates a full-service equestrian center here at Ridley Creek.”

Ridley Creek State Park's new indoor equestrian arena was dedicated Sept. 2 by DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn (third from left); state Sen. Dominic Pileggi (sixth from left); and many friends and supporters.

Hailing the building as the “ultimate in private public partnerships,” the secretary noted the indoor arena has created an increase in visitor services at the park and strengthened a partnership between concessionaire and park. Under a long-term lease agreement, the Chidesters have operated Hidden Valley Farms of New Town Square at Ridley Creek State Park since 1999.

ADA accessible, the new DCNR-designed facility can accommodate Girl Scout and Boy Scout gatherings; programs for inner-city groups; and a variety of horse training and instruction. “Having this facility built has been so exciting for my husband and I—from groundbreaking day to today’s grand opening,” said Ellie Chidester of Hidden Valley Farm. “To tell you the truth, we are overwhelmed by it all. It is something that we have dreamed about for the past 10 years.”

The secretary noted that, just as the equestrian facilities are an integral point of Ridley Creek State Park, horseback riding and equestrian trails are engrained in both state park and state forest public use across the state. The arena was built by King Construction at a cost of $600,000.

Longtime boarder Tom Buchannan gives a riding demonstration in the newly dedicated indoor equestrian arena at Ridley Creek State Park, Delaware County.

“DCNR’s 2.2 million acres of state forestland have almost unlimited opportunities for horseback riding, which has become a rapidly growing activity,” Dunn said. ”In addition to 1.9 million acres available for cross-country riding, 12 state forests maintain over 3,000 miles of shared-use trails that can be explored on horseback, and more than 30 state parks have designated horseback riding areas.”

Details on Ridley Creek and Pennsylvania’s other 119 state parks can be found here.

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September 9, 2015

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