I recently took my 13 year old daughter on an extremely busy trail system (Stuart Lake TH to Colchuck Lake in the Alpine Wilderness in WA state). Posted in about a zillion places is “no dogs permitted” as the trail starts. On the way back to the TH we ran into a man and his beautiful husky dog (approximately 1 mile into the trail). We passed and I didn’t say anything despite being extremely dismayed that he was breaking the regulation.
This particular trail system is in danger of going to a day hike lottery permit system (per a conversation I had at the Ranger Station) because it is so busy so seeing someone give more evidence to support a permit dayhike lottery was extremely frustrating. Likewise, as I’m trying to teach my daughter LNT principles and the importance of following regulations even if we don’t understand or agree with them on all trails we use, and running into this guy, although a valuable lesson for my daughter, also equally frustrating.
Which begs the question, what do you do when you see someone breaking Trail Regulations? I didn’t say anything. As a mom with my kid next to me I wasn’t going to risk a confrontation with a stranger in the wilderness. I did tell the rangers when we got back into town.
that's a tough one, for sure. On the one hand, I don't want to risk an ugly confrontation ( or worse), but on the other hand, letting someone know they're breaking the rules can be important. We can't just overlook these things.
If it were me, I'd try to gently instruct an offender, not scold them or confront them angrily. That's not always possible...
Totally have been there before, I came across a group who had a fire during a strict no burn (large forest fires were put out the week before). I calmly approached them and let them know that we were in a no burn area, and they put out their fire with no questions asked. I know this is totally not the normal response, but it all comes down to preserving the land for future generations and being courteous to all others. Just a simple “hey, I didn’t know you could bring dogs on this trail might get the conversation going.” Kill’em with kindness then get the conversation started.