Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trailhead vehicle security

I been lucky enough to have never lost anything important from my vehicle when parked at a trailhead. I've lost minor items such as a flashlight but nothing that couldn't easily be replaced. I'm careful not to leave tempting items out in plain view but since I often have a pickup full of camping gear that is left at a trailhead while I hike, I can't hide everything. Many trailheads have signs saying to take all valubles with you but that is hard to do when I've traveled a distance to get to a park to hike in. I have a canopy over my pickup bed but it doesn't offer much security, it is easier to break into than a locked car, and doesn't offer a trunk to hide things in. Of course a thief may not consider camping gear valuable, certainly less so than cameras and similar small items.

Occasionally around Seattle at popular trailheads volunteers camp at the trailhead or nearby during the summer and provide some security. And various law enforcement personnel sometimes include trailheads on their patrol. Having someone watching or coming by often probably reduces theft but this isn't very practical for most trails

I don't know how often people use car alarms at trailheads but in the last couple of years I've twice encountered car alarms going off at trailheads. Both were very annoying because it took about half an hour before I hiked out of hearing range and neither time did the owner appear to stop it. The first time a snowplow caused the alarm to go off, I don't know the cause the second time. Somehow I doubt that an alarm is very useful if you can't get to your car in 1/2 hour and or are out of hearing distance.

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