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Thread: Horses in the Park

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Andersonville, TN
    Posts
    682

    Default

    In my opinion, horses are devastating to trails and should not be allowed. There are some trails that I've been on once and will never step foot again due to the presence of horses. I'm just not a fan. I would have been the only hiking cowboy in the old west.
    Jason

    jasonkelkins at yahoo dot com

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    257

    Default

    JayB,
    Since you replied to my thread directly I feel it only right that I comment on yours. I do find your analogy interesting but lacking in my point.
    I do agree that there are times when people are not following all the rules that impact the park like people fishing with live bait, leaving worm buckets on the banks, and hikers on the trails with dogs. But to that point in the forty years of my hiking and fly fishing in the GSMNP I have never witnessed a Great Dane on the trail and very few live bait fisherman and worm buckets on the banks. I will also admit that I am putting both horses and riders in the same group.
    All of these groups are very small segments of the population of the people enjoying the parks resources. It does seem to me that both the horses and horse riders for being such a small segment of the population seems to leave such a very large negative “foot Print” in the park. For what I have witnessed by the destruction of the trails, waist from the horses and the trash left in the camps it is obvious that this small segment leaves a larger impact than any others.
    William

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Farragut, TN is home
    Posts
    116

    Default domestic animals in the park

    I take issue with the park's attitude about dogs. I searched the internet and visitor center information in an effort to establish an understanding about the restrictions on dogs in the park. Still not satisfied with the results I walked over to the info desk at the Sugarlands visitor center where three officials were standing chatting amongst themselves to seek an "official from the horse's mouth" answer. To make a long story short, if you can believe this, they told me bear attacks on dogs were the reason for the restrictions. Say what? They asserted bears would consider dogs prey and attack them and thus endangering their owners as well. Uh, fellows, bear are hunted with dogs! All bears hunters will tell you bears run from dogs, albeit large dogs to be sure but still, come on.

    Nothing was mentioned about canine urine or feces as foreign bodies. Besides, there are lots of coyotes in the park. I'm doubtfully if the other wild critters there are able to distinguish between them and dogs simply by smelling their excrement. Different diets maybe? Who knows. Anyway....

    Happy ending for me and Ms. Annie. I am about 6 decibels away from being legally deaf in both ears. A service dog can accompany her master anywhere in the park so soon Ms. Annie will have a new role to learn as well as grouse/woodcock/duck hunting.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Maryville Tennessee
    Posts
    229

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    I wish the park would give them about 5 designated trails and 2 campsites and say there you go! that way they can destroy what belongs to them and stay off the hiking trails I think any trails with large drainage systems like Hazel, Deep Creek, Big Creek, Noland, and Forney they shouldn't be allowed on.

    One prime example of their so called fine trail maintenance that the horse groups do is Deep Creek they use huge boards to toss into the mud bogs that the horses create. They become slick and slippery to hikers when wet so it still leaves the hiker in the mud bog during wet conditions.

    They are doing a GREAT JOB! I say ban them all from the park. I know when the new park Superintendent took his job last year a friend of mine sent him a congrats and let him know that he's do just fine as long as he knew how things worked. He told him how his boss is sleeping with the horse lobbyist I tried to find it but couldn't its awesome! as for horses they get a huge NO vote from me!

    As for dogs sorry guys a NO vote from me as well I hiked 700miles on the Appalachian Trail in 2009 and I made it a point to separate myself from people and their barking, usually wet and stinky dogs. No I don't hate dogs I love them one owns me and she is my baby! but I don't even like taking her frontcountry camping she barks at other dogs when they pass and I feel it may disturb others....so she goes to the doggie kennel they treat her well and she likes it there and I know she is safe. I always like hiking in the park and run into people with their dogs and politely tell them are you aware dogs are not allowed on the trails? It's always the same answer Oh no we didn't know that!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bean Blossom, Indiana
    Posts
    362

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    Quote Originally Posted by old east tn boy View Post
    I take issue with the park's attitude about dogs. I searched the internet and visitor center information in an effort to establish an understanding about the restrictions on dogs in the park. Still not satisfied with the results I walked over to the info desk at the Sugarlands visitor center where three officials were standing chatting amongst themselves to seek an "official from the horse's mouth" answer. To make a long story short, if you can believe this, they told me bear attacks on dogs were the reason for the restrictions. Say what? They asserted bears would consider dogs prey and attack them and thus endangering their owners as well. Uh, fellows, bear are hunted with dogs! All bears hunters will tell you bears run from dogs, albeit large dogs to be sure but still, come on.

    Nothing was mentioned about canine urine or feces as foreign bodies. Besides, there are lots of coyotes in the park. I'm doubtfully if the other wild critters there are able to distinguish between them and dogs simply by smelling their excrement. Different diets maybe? Who knows. Anyway....

    Happy ending for me and Ms. Annie. I am about 6 decibels away from being legally deaf in both ears. A service dog can accompany her master anywhere in the park so soon Ms. Annie will have a new role to learn as well as grouse/woodcock/duck hunting.
    That just goes to show you that those people don't get out much. Bears might attack a dog to protect their young, but the reverse...nahhh! They run like **** to get away. As for bears attacking and eating humans, black bears are ominvores. If a human is killed and partially consumed by black bears then something is very wrong ecologically and the bears need to take a dirt nap. As far as the feces, urine thing, that's what I was told. Didn't really believe it. I mean, what are the odds that a wild animal is going to come down the trail looking for the poop bandit, except maybe a coyote, which do have a very nasty scent when rutting. And then again the wild critters can smell things for miles and probably wouldn't even approach the area till the smell went away. And as for mother nature, she is a hek of lot tougher and defiant than some college programmed bureaucrat could ever imagine. She ain't gonna make serious changes because something new pooped in the woods. Just my opinion, subject to change with adequate proof!

    Whitefeather
    ________________________________________
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Posts
    102

    Default Dogs in backcountry

    Most of the dog problems I've observed seem to be more of a people problem than anything else. These include rule violations and dog owners who are just plain inconsiderate of others. If you've ever spent a rainy night in an AT shelter when someone showed up with their wet dog then you already know (vehemently) why dogs are banned in the backcountry.

    Lee

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    Whitefeather--The answer you got has no validity. You made some of the points why, but it goes beyond that. Many of the folks who work at the visitor centers are volunteers, and even those who are full-time Park employees often seem to be woefully lacking in knowledge. More than once I have asked questions at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to which I already knew the answers and knew them in detail. I did so simply to satisfy myself on my unfortunate observations that sometimes the "authority" factor is lacking in authoritative information. Examples of questions I have asked would be the whereabouts of nearby graveyards, info on the history of the immediate area, and if the structures at the pioneer farm were original to that location. I've gotten answers which ranged from precisely correct to so far afield as to be mind-boggling. I think in your case you happened on three folks who needed to group IQs when it came to the subject in hand in order to reach the three -digit level.
    Having said that, there are also some absolutely wonderful folks at visitor centers who know their stuff, are extremely pleasant, and who obviously understand working with people. Still, I detest folks who just make up answers (and that's pretty much what you got) when they don't have a clue.

    I'll chip in on one other thing. A couple of you mentioned cars as being the Park's biggest problem. I don't quite get that unless you are referring to Cades Cove. In that instance, you have a point. Otherwise though, here's only one thruway in the Park and the little gravel side roads such as Parsons Branch and Heintooga/Straight Fork don't get all that much usage. Now a traffic-connected problem which does vex me is loud motorcycles. I have nothing against motorcycles per se, but why in the world do a small percentage of those who ride them feel compelled to have incredibly loud mufflers? There are many places where you can hear them miles away under certain conditions.

    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Waynesville, NC
    Posts
    250

    Default

    In no way am I defending the use of horses, I would much rather walk. But to portray thatthey leave a huge trashy mess in the firepits is a little extreme. Maybe you ran across one that did it, but most of the time since they are packing it in on horses they pack it out. I have seen trash left much more frequent by lazy hikers who would rather leave their trash, clothes, tarps, etc. than pack it out. Just saying the trash argument isn't valid, the horses don't use fire pits.
    Michael Corbin

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maryville
    Posts
    1,108

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    If the park was to ban any one group of individuals because of the trash they generate, I would hope they ban newborns. I understand why noone would want a dirty diaper in their car, but please don't leave them at every pull off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
    A couple of you mentioned cars as being the Park's biggest problem. I don't quite get that........
    What's worse for the environment, a couple dozen horses leaving their presents on the trails, or the thousands upon thousands of cars leaking oil, gas, antifreeze on the roadways? These fluids get washed directly into the streams that I like to fish. I would love to see the park limit the number of automobiles in the park.
    My posts are worthless without pictures

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    Michael--Obviously the horses don't use firepits, but tyhe horse owners do. In my experience they are, collectively, much less responsible than backpackers. Mind you, there are exceptions aplenty on both sides. My point was that, in addition to horseback campers being more prone, in my observation, to leave trash, they also have more trash because they can bring in much more "stuff."
    I've observed this for almost 60 years across most of the Park, and there are enough other comments on this thread to indicate that plenty of others have as well.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

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