Letter: Dirty trails
I've been hiking this beautiful, iconic landmark trail for many years. In March of 2014 it had become so riddled with dog piles I decided I had to do something about it. Even though there are numerous signs posted by the National Forest that you are required to pick up after your dog and keep it on a leash some dog owners refuse to do so. Really people, waste bags are even provided. This public trail is not your dog's toilet. In one year I have cleaned up 430 piles of dog waste. Dog owners who do not pick up are disrespectful and are abusing their privilege to use this trail. They spoil the trail for others. Dog owners who won't pick up after their dogs should leave their dogs at home.
Every time I hike I find 5 to 15 piles that were not there the last time I hiked. The only critter waste that should be on this trail is from wild animals. Leaving dog fecal waste right on the trail or within a leash length pollutes the trail, the ground and ends up in our water supply when it rains. One gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal bacteria and carries dangerous pathogens. It also takes over a year for it to decompose.
Other local hikers, runners and our many thousands of out of state visitors must play hop scotch around the dog piles. Thank you to all the responsible dog owners who carry bags and do pick up after their dogs. Many hikers have thanked me for caring about this trail. I also pick up litter. I often find, orange peels, discarded chewing gum, foil wrappers from granola bars, empty water bottles, tissues and cigarette butts.
Please keep this trail clean.