Sunday, June 01, 2008

Trail head vandalism

I just returned from a camping and hiking trip to Utah, I will say more about that later. However, I was struck by the amount of vandalism I saw at various trailheads. This isn't confined to Utah, I've seen it in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming also and easily believe it occurs elsewhere. What amazes me is the sheer pointlessness of most of it.

Many trailhead toilets are vandalized in some manner, often with bullet holes through the door. Why shoot a toilet door? Don't you use the toilet? Another common bit was to take the toilet paper and remove it from the roll to throw on the floor. Again, why? I could understand taking the toilet paper but not just using it to make a mess. And once I found a toilet where some idiot had crapped on the floor. I'm fairly sure it was human and I would think it would be more difficult to crap on the floor than in the toilet.

Signs, maps, and brochures at trailheads were also subject to vandalism. Signs might be shot, pulled down and torn up or scribbled over. Brochures were torn up and scattered around. Wooden markers or small metal signs on trees, such as along the Pacific Crest Trail, get removed. I don't know how they get removed, some probably by natural forces but others go missing in the middle of good weather. I've talked to Forest Service crew and Park rangers who think hikers steal the signs for souvenirs or other reasons.

Of course except for the trail signs past the trailhead, all of the above could be done by non-hikers, people just driving to the trailhead for other reasons. In some places I've seen garbage that was unlikely to have come from hikers strewn about the area. I am amazed that people are so stupid not to realize this behavior will cost them, for cleanup costs and repair costs and possibly by limiting access.


At 9/7/08 17:11, Blogger mossymom said...

Last year some Rednecks shot down a tree and it almost hit my jeep. This was at a trail head but not a proper trail head. I try not to worry about my car though. In the winter I only worry about my hot thermos of tea, that is the only valuble thing in my car after the end of a long wet cold hike.


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