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Feb 23, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park, California: Dogs are not allowed off leash or unaccompanied in Joshua Tree National Park. In Joshua Tree, dogs are confined to roads and campgrounds and may not go on trails or into the backcountry.  These restrictions are commonly found at almost all National Parks and across the board in most other parks, with a few exceptions. These restrictions are nothing new, since the National Park Service has had dog restrictions since the 1920s and 1930s.  

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Joshua Tree National Park has its share of impacts associated with unrestrained dogs. In 2002 dogs from the local community attacked and killed bighorn sheep and desert tortoises have been found with chew marks on them from. Even if a dog is on leash it can still have an impact on wildlife, due to their threatening presence. Wildlife is use to fleeing or being put on alert when a member of the canine family is in the area. According to the National Park Service, wildlife will become use to a human or horse being present in its’ territory, but not a dog. Wildlife are especially vulnerable during mating season, when they are with their young, harsh environmental conditions, and when in rut.

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According to R.A. MacArthur et al. (1999), which studied how bighorn sheep reacted to a human approaching them from a roadside, a ridge, and with a dog from the road indicated that the presence of a dog resulted in the most significant reaction from the sheep. Fleeing and milling where strongest in the presence of the dog. In Dr. Steve Herrero’s study titled, Bear Attack, the presence of a dog near a female bear and her cub increased the likely hood of an attack to the dog and the dog owner. Dogs not only pose a threat to wildlife, but also other domesticated animals. The National Parks service has certain areas where horses are allowed for both visitors use and use by either the park or the concessioners using it. The presence of an unpredictable dog can spook horses leading to injury to potentially the rider, horse, the dog, and the owner. Not to mention that even humans don’t always like dogs and can be scared when they are confronted with a dog that they are either not expecting or is not on leash.

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As sweet and as lovable as some dogs can be, their owners can be the exception. Unfortunately, even if there are rules and regulations in place by the land management agency, that is no guarantee that people will always follow the policies. In a study done by the Angeles National Forest in California, researches found that even on trails where dogs are allowed if they are leashed, 90% of the dogs were off leash. Dog waste is another issue were dog owners ignore the rules and regulations. On the popular Sanitas Valley Trail in Boulder, Colorado, 1,492 piles of dog feces were found in one month despite the rule to pick up after your pet. 

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Last but definitely not least, dogs can transmit diseases to wildlife and people through their waste if it is not properly disposed of. Parvovirus is not only present in domesticated dogs, but can be transmitted to other canines as well. In Glacier National Park, Montana, parvovirus was spread from dogs to wolf-pup populations leading to death amongst the wolves.  

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace!

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.

References

Tom Chester “Effects of Dogs on Wildlife, 2003.

Feb 22, 2015

Hueco Tanks State Park, TX: Just off the beaten path and east of El Paso is the beautiful and interesting Hueco Tanks State Park. Upon our first visit we discovered a fascinating history and culture in a geologically unique area. So get ready for 7 awesome things you didn’t know about Hueco Tanks State Park.

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Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Facebook

1. Hueco is not the same as Waco – In this case, “hueco,” still pronounced “whey-coe,” is a natural rock basin where rainwater collects. These cracks and pockets hold rainwater for days even weeks depending on the location and size. The park gets it name from the thousands of these present on-site. In the desert environment, these pools made life possible for the Native Americans who lived here.

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Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Website

2.This park is home to thousands of pictographs. – Throughout the past 10,000 years the Hueco Tanks area has been home to many people. Clues about their past and stories about their lifestyles are left on the walls in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs. A multitude of images appear including animals, figures with large eyes, and an incredibly large amount of masks. In fact, it is one of the largest groupings in North America.

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Image Source: Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site Facebook

3.The infamous boulders are millions of years old. –  Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, the park consists of three mountains. These mountains were formed around 35 million years ago. Their formation is the result of a mass of hot magma pushed upward and then cooled under a layer of limestone. Since then, the forms have changed and altered as the limestone wears down from wind and rain, creating the sculpted rock that is there today.

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4.World-class bouldering can be accessed throughout the park. - While you need a guide to access some areas in the park, North Mountain is self guided with only 70 permits giving out daily. The park is also home to the Hueco Rock Rodeo, which just held its 22nd bouldering competition attracting professionals including Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson.

5.Throughout the years over 200 species of birds have been recorded at Hueco Tanks. –Around 44 species may breed here, including the prairie falcon, burrowing owl, white-throated swift, ash-throated flycatcher, blue grosbeak and Scott’s oriole. Many wading birds, waterfowl and shorebirds stop at the park during migration periods. Migratory songbirds spend time here in the spring and fall. More than 20 sparrow species overwinter at Hueco Tanks.

6.Conflict happens. With avid birders, hikers, and climbers all sharing such a special place, conflict is bound to happen. Throughout the years park staff and visitors from various recreation communities have not always seen eye to eye. However, groups like the Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition, Access Fund, and American Alpine Club have all worked within the area to help all users learn how to enjoy the park responsibly.

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7.YOU can make a difference at Hueco Tanks State Park. Pictographs, petroglyphs, artifacts, and the living organisms in the huecos are all part of the spirit of Hueco Tanks. Protecting them is largely in the hands of the visitors. The Climbers of Hueco Tanks Co. has establish a climbing coalition to help climbers care for their climbs while also preserving and caring for the park. Their ethics for the park can be found online. Also check with park information and stay up to date on park closures. And as always, remember to leave no trace!

Until next time,

Court and Nick
 

Leave No Trace’s Courtney and Nick Bierschbach are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.

 

Feb 19, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park, CA: The Subaru Legacy Winter Getaway event is being held amongst the backdrop of Joshua trees, granite cliffs, and endless sunshine this week. Subaru is hosting journalists to come and learn what it is like to be a Subaru owner. Driving down desert roads, rock climbing, and visiting beautiful national parks is all apart of what Subaru owners love. The one thing missing was a dog in the back of each car for the participants! The Subaru Legacy was featured during this lifestyle campaign for the journalists to drive and experience.

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Journalists from all over the country came to Joshua Tree National Park to test out the Legacy and live the Subaru lifestyle. The participants got to go climbing with a local guide company and test themselves on the cliffs. As Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers we were on site to explain the important partnership Subaru has in supporting Leave No Trace and lead participants on a hike. As we hiked through the desert, we loved seeing the excitement on the participants’ faces as they took pictures of the rocks, Joshua trees, and the climbers scaling the cliffs all around us.

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As Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers we get to have this experience year round. We camp over 200 nights a year out of our Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, visit national parks, and climb/paddle all over the country. We love meeting other Subaru owners and hearing what they love most about their Subaru. Some people tell us how confident they feel driving it, how reliable they are, how easy to maintain they can be, but the most common conversations we have with Subaru owners is where their Subaru brings them. Driving over snowy mountain passes to go skiing, using their Subaru to get tot the put-in for paddling, or exploring a backcountry road to find the crag they want to climb at. Subaru fits in wells as are title sponsor for the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers program because of how responsible they are as a company.    

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace!

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.

Feb 17, 2015

San Diego, CA: Read the Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Impact in the Outdoors!

1.     Prepare for your trip.

a.     Bring the ten essentials.

b.     Research the weather.

c.      Know the rules and regulations of the area you are traveling in.

d.     Obtain any permits or reservations needed for the area your traveling to.

2.     Stay in the middle of the trail. Even if the trail is muddy, just hike through the mud. By hiking through the mud you won’t erode the sides of the trail or crush vegetation on the side of the trail. Wear boots and if you need them bring along gaiters. If you are not hiking on a trail, hike on durable surfaces.

3.     Pack out your trash.

a.     Carry a trash bag on every hike.

b.     Consider packing out other trash that you find. 

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4.     Control your dog.

a.     Pick up after your dog

b.     Don’t let your dog chase wildlife

c.      Don’t let your dog impact other visitors.

5.     Bury or pack out your solid human waste.

a.     Bring along trowel, toilet paper, and a zip lock bag (for packing out the used toilet paper).

b.     Know the rules and regulations of the area you are camping.

c.      Carry along human waste disposal bag if it’s required.

d.     For solid human waste go 200 feet and for liquid human waste go 100 feet from trail, waters, and other campsites.

6.     Leaving your mark is overrated. Take pictures instead of taking items or marking on trees, rocks, or other surfaces.

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7.     Enjoy your campfire responsibly.

a.     Research if fires are allowed.

b.     Don’t build fires next to boulders or under rock overhangs.

c.      Consider using an established fire ring, mound fire, or a fire pan.

d.     Use the four D’s for fire wood collection.

       i.     Dead- Only use dead wood.

       ii.     Down- Don’t break branches off of trees.

       iii.     Dinky- Wood no bigger than your forearm.

       iv.     Distant- Go far from your camp to collect wood.

8.     Keep wildlife wild.

a.     Secure your food and trash from wildlife.

b.     Stay a safe distance from wildlife.

c.      Research what types of animals are in the area you are traveling and what requirements are expected (Ex. Are bear hang or bear canisters required).

9.     Use the yield triangle and keep your noise level down so you don’t bother other visitors.

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10. Teach others about Leave No Trace!

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace!

Pat and TJ

Leave No Trace’s Patrick and Theresa Beezley are part of the 2015 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, and Smartwool.

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