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[at-l] hiking,dogs,bootleggers



Hello all, I had an experiance this weekend hiking that I would like to share & get some feedback on. I am a volunteer trail maintainer and have adopted a trail in the Whites of NH. There are 2 bootleg campsites (read illegal/unauthorized by the WMNF Forest Service) on this trail. I have been discussing with the section leader the feasability of filling them in and eliminating them. I am resisting because I think as long as these two sites exist it is likely that they will get used as opposed to making a new one & impacting a larger area. Also it is likely that if I fill them in someone will just go in & clear them again.I am also biased in that I would rather camp off trail myself as to stay at an AMC run tentsite or shelter.Also this trail is just off the AT & offers that alternative to thruhikers if they know about it.
                  However this Saturday I was doing some traill maintenance and as I approached one of the sites I was greeted by two large unrestrained  growling,barking dogs who followed me menacingly & would not leave me alone. I aproached the tent on the site & found no one around. I finally got far enough away from the site that the dogs turned and went back. I met several other hikers on the trail who were also harrased and visibly upset. Keep in mind that I have no authority to tell these people to move or to restrain there animals.
           I have had many encounters on the trail with people & dogs. I find that most of the dogs are not really under the control of their owners and are roaming rather freely to approach other hikers. I have nothing against dogs at all, but I don't want one approaching me uninvited either.
               Anyway on my way back down the trail I found that the campers had gone but left quite a mess including unburied feces from both man & beast (a good argument to filter water). It made me think more about the value of filling these sites in and making a strong effort to keep them that way.
                 What do you in the group think? Fill them in or leave them? Why? What do you do when aprroached by an unrestrained dog especially one that seems threatening? Do you just accept it as part of the hiking experiance,does it bother you at all and if it does how do you handle it?
                  I regularly hike with a friend who has a dog. This dog hiked the AT with him in 92.He has trained the dog to stay behind him on the trail at all times & he never approaches other hikers.

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the bluestreak
New Hampshire


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