History of the Marina Equestrian Center
In 1994 the Marina Equestrian Association, a non profit organization, grew out of the military family organization operating the Fort Ord Stables. Faced with the loss of their Army sponsor for the land, and the potential loss of the facility to Military and Civil Service Families regularly assigned to the Monterey peninsula, MEA approached the City of Marina in April of 1994 to sponsor their application to continue to operate on the (then) 34 acre property where the Fort Ord recreational stables operated since about 1965. Horses of the 11th Cavalry "Blackhawk" unit occupied the site for the decades before.
Responding to the concerns of City and community activists, the City of Marina requested that the National Park Service deed the land to the City under the Federal Lands to Parks Program, with the aim of protecting and preserving the Ft Ord stables and neighboring amateur-radio station. The Marina Equestrian Center parcel is now a public park and recreational area. The park offers unique access to the extensive trail systems of the 7,200-acre Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recreational lands. The MEA provides boarding of horses and other programs to citizens of Marina and the Monterey Peninsula. Since 2000, MEA has operated this park and recreational resource through volunteer labor and management.
Over time, acreage of the Facility dwindled to the 14 acres now occupied by the Equestrian Center and the City made various uses of other portions.The stable footprint now occupies 14 acres. MEA has operated a successful stable for horse-owning members of the community willing to provide their own labor and skills to offset the normal commercial costs of operating a stable. This has allowed for a unique recreational opportunity for working-class families to experience horse ownership and make use of easy access to the extensive Fort Ord and BLM Trails.
MEA offers a variety of programs that benefit Monterey County community, which includes riding lessons, therapeutic riding, riding clinics, annual Open House and orientation to BLM lands for regional riders. The park is available for public use, whether for picnicking, dog walking, arena use, renting the historic buildings or trail parking that offers safe parking, water, restrooms and convenient access to public lands.
The Center is active as an emergency evacuation site for horses and livestock and members are registered with local rescue missions to assist with transportation of horses from endangered locations during natural distasters. Members also participate in the Monterey Bay Bicycle and Equestrian Assistance Team (BETA), to provide visitor assistance, emergency response and patrol on the trails of the BLM.