I just spent a week over in England for work with a couple of days tacked on for site seeing. What I was most impressed by was their complete openness and acceptance of dogs; in their pubs, in their national parks, on leash and off.
This got me thinking about the Grand Adventure. I fully accept that dogs must be well behaved and on leash. What I’m having a difficult time with is accepting how limited I’m going to be within the Park system. I can count on less than one hand the number of trails in each park I will be able to take Perry on. As a single woman traveling Perry is not only my companion but my warning bell for all things that are amiss. Why are we, lovers of the outdoors, punished?
I’ve heard the arguments about people wanting to not have to deal with dog poop on the trails. Let me tell you, humans leave way more trash behind (water bottles, candy wrappers, etc) than any damage a dog could do. Most hikers and outdoor lovers that I know find amusement and comfort in seeing mans best friend on the trail. True, given the limited staffing of the DOI I could risk taking him on the trails and hope I didn’t get caught, but not only is that risky but it’s disrespectful of the institution that I love.
I wish there was a way that we could convince the Park Service to give out a limited number of “Dog Passes” like they do backcountry passes as a trial to demonstrate that we could open up the trails to our 4 legged family members. If you screw up (dog off leash, not picking up after yourself, harassing animals) then you loose your pass forever.
I just don’t understand why we as a nation can’t seem to be like the Brits. Maybe John Muir was a dog hater….