Hi folks, another lone venturer looking for mostly civil discourse and perhaps understanding. I'm not going to go into the trail work issue, as I attend trail advocacy meetings side by with Backcountry Horsemen, many whom I am on a first name basis, and they've come to me for advice on access issues.I have also experienced first hand working with BCH folks on trail clearing and some big projects. I'm also not going to address the right away/spooking thing - trail horses are pretty solid in my community, and overall we all get along.
I do want to offer some comment/discussion on the horse poop issue. I can deal with a few apples here and there scattered along the trail, but from what I've seen, there is a disregard for common courtesy about piles of poop seem to be the norm - One, in the backcountry in Idaho. There's a beautiful lake that is a trail destination for all users: horses, hikers, bikers. It is a nationally recommended trail. It is complete with a sandy beach that is a lovely lunch spot, place to kick back, have a swim or enjoy the view. This is not solitude: on any given day you'll have many different users: hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, fisherman and horses. On my last ride there, a group of horsemen were just leaving, and one of the critters left a huge steaming pile, right in the middle of this empty, lovely beach that is obviously being used by many visitors. We had planned a swim and lunch, and now we have sit around and look at it? The horsemen came back from their trip around the lake, and I bluntly asked them if they could clean it up so everyone else could enjoy the beach, and was basically laughed at. "it's only poop". Sure, just one steaming pile in a well visited , heavily used area. One rider DID come back to sheepishly clean it up, which was greatly appreciated. I got the impression they had snuck away from the group to do it.Lets face it folks, would you want to have lunch at a beach with a steaming pile of ANY kind of poo right in the middle?I am quite sorry to say this experience left a very negative impression.
Poop is, like most have said, biodegradable. Maybe even the fastest breaking-down poop I've ever seen. It's life. Dogs poop on trails too, and it stinks more but nobody makes a fuss over it..
They don't have dog do bags on your trail systems? They are very common around here. Dog do is stinky, and full of pathogens. In my community, there are simple laws and requirements to clean up after dogs on trails. Like I said, I don't mind a few apples, but to compare to dog do is silly.
if you are really roughing it obviously even people have to leave some some where
Leave No Trace ethics teach that you leave your human poop buried 6" in the soil and 200' away from a water source, and that you pack out the paper. If you've ever camped somewhere were humans leave piles with TP roses, under the stump 15 feet from the firepit, you'd agree that it is pretty disgusting.
From a horse persons view. I don't think we should clean out our trailers at the trail head. I think it's very incourtious to leave a pile of horse manure/straw/woodshavings etc at the parking area. If my horses crap on the black top at the trail head, I carry a manure fork in the trailer and fling the road apples off into the brush. These areas of concentrated use, should be kept clean.
. Your mentality is uncommon. I tent camp at a place where the horse users routinely shovel out their trailers right into the camp sites. We've learned over the years to bring shovels and other tools to clean the sites so that we can set up tents and walk around.
It is refreshing to hear that not everyone is habituated to horse poo as something innocuous.
As far as poop goes, when I am on the trails and my horse decides to fertilize the land, I dismount and push it off of the trail with my boot. It's just something I've been taught since the beginning. I suppose if I was a hiker or biker and I didn't appreciate horses and all that comes with them I'd be a little upset to run into poop too. But at the same time, that's what comes with riding/hiking in the middle of a national park. It's NATURE.
Again, THANK YOU but you need to know that mountain bikers are not permitted on trails in any National Park, or congressionally mandated Wilderness Areas in the USA.
Thanks, lets keep moving forward..