Mounted Patrol Unit still on the Trail, Thanks to Friends Group

-By Dan Murphy

The Boston Park Ranger Mounted Patrol Unit will continue to patrol the Emerald Necklace through the end of fiscal 2011, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Boston Parks Rangers.

Julia H. Donahue, who co-chairs the Friends with Cokie Perry, said the group raised the necessary $155,000 by the April 30 cut-off date to continue the program, which was cut from the city’s budget for fiscal 2010. Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit Emerald Necklace Conservancy spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign to save the Mounted Unit last year before turning the reins over to the Friends group. Today, the Conservancy is temporarily acting as the Friends’ fiduciary agent while the fledgling organization, which was formed last summer, seeks nonprofit status.

Donahue expressed her gratitude to the Friends’ countless benefactors, including Babak Bina, who gave the group use of his Washington Street restaurant BiNA Osteria for a gathering last week.

Following the recent coup, fundraising for fiscal 2012 is already underway. “Now, we have to start it all over again,” Donahue said.

Among the group’s upcoming fundraising activities is a horse exhibition in Hamilton, Mass., on Aug. 25 that serves as a prelude to the annual equestrian event that takes place in the town in September, Donahue said

Established by the Boston Parks Department and the Boston Police Department in 1982, the Mounted Unit currently includes six horses and provides public assistance and security in the nine Emerald Necklace parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park – as well as neighborhood parks, cemeteries and playgrounds, according to the Friends group.

For more information on Friends of the Boston Parks Rangers, visit www.savebostonshorses.org or call Julia H. Donahue at 617-585-4534.

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