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Re: [at-l] hiking,dogs,bootleggers



At 01:53 PM 8/1/99 -0700, bluestreak wrote:
>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.  <..clip..>
 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.   <...clip...>
>               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.

You have multiple issues here, not necessarily all related. First is your
responsibility as a trail maintainer. I am a maintainer in the Adirondacks.
When I find illegal campsites I take steps to discourage future use because
that is part of what I agreed to do when I accepted the role of maintainer.
It's a matter of personal integrity. I can't expect others to follow rules
that I do not.

Your second issue is whether people should hike with dogs. I have no
problem with it as long as the dogs are well behaved (read that 'properly
trained') unfortunately a significant number of dogs I've encountered in
the woods aren't well behaved. Most (85-90%) are but as with anything else
10-15% are enough to spoil everything for the rest of us. As usage of the
woods increases I fully expect to see more restrictions/bans on dogs.
That's sad because, as your friend's well mannered dog demonstrates, that
shouldn't be necessary. A personal observation is that the illmannered dogs
tend to come with people who don't control themselves well either,
sometimes because they don't understand the effect they have on others, and
other times because they don't give a damn.

Third, how do you react? Like you I have no 'authority' to tell people what
to do. Depending on the situation I will suggest, offer advice or warn of
the potential consequences if they encounter a ranger (who does have
authority and a pad of summonses). I don't attempt to intercede if there
appears to be potential for confrontation but if I see the ranger I will
report the situation. I try to do my 'job' quietly, set a good example,
educate if the opportunity presents itself and hope that I'm making a
difference.

Saunterer
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