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Why no pets in the Canyonlands ?
December 20, 2012 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Why aren't pets allowed in the Canyonlands and Moab areas ?

I know that almost all national parks have restrictions on pets, and generally, its that they have to be leashed and on trails.

However, in researching a trip out west next year, I've found that pets aren't even allowed in the cars.

For example : White Rim Trail
Pets are also not permitted, even in vehicles.
It's cool and all - I'm certain there is a good rationale. And, I'm not some super pet nazi that has to bring Finlay the Vizsla (see profile) to everything everywhere every-time. But this stood out as unusually pet restrictive, and despite my google-fu, I couldn't find a stated reason for the addition restrictions.

As a second bonus question - I have a Tacoma 4x4 with a OME lift, a Roof Top Tent, and a desire to get off the pavement and away from things.

My dogs will be with me, and I'll have at least 2-3 days in the Moab/Canyonlands/Grand Canyon area. Give me some suggestions on things to do, see, or camp at. The more remote the better.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My understanding is that people were leaving their pets in vehicles and baking them. Some tahoe ski resorts have similar rules now too.
posted by fshgrl at 7:45 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just guessing, but when I went through Canyonlands years ago, the area had extensive cryptobiotic soils, which the park system is very concerned about protecting and preserving, and something to do with that may be the reason that pets aren't allowed. Even if you're driving around in your car, doggie may have to get out and relieve themselves once in a while, and that may upset some fragile balance, especially if lots of people end up doing it.
posted by LionIndex at 7:48 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most US National Parks do not allow dogs on trails, you might be thinking of National Forests, more of which allow leashed dogs on trails.

For Canyonlands, I suspect two reasons: 1) pets kept in vehicles still need to get out to do their business and not all pet owners are diligent about cleaning up, and 2) for much of the year, the climate in that area isn't safe for pets to be left unattended in cars.
posted by jamaro at 7:49 PM on December 20, 2012


It's possible the heat is an issue, but Death Valley allows pets. Not on trails, and they can't be left unattended in cars.

Here's the actual text from the Canyonlands NPS site about pets:

Activities with pets are very limited at Canyonlands. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or anywhere in the backcountry. Pets may not accompany groups traveling by four-wheel-drive vehicle, mountain bike or boat.

Pets may accompany visitors in the developed campgrounds, and may be walked in the park along paved roads. Pets may also accompany visitors traversing the Potash/Shafer Canyon road between Moab and the Island in the Sky. Pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle.


So, it looks like pets are allowed, but only in developed areas.
posted by LionIndex at 8:01 PM on December 20, 2012


It almost never rains there, so pet droppings won't get washed away, and will accumulate. Which is unsightly, to say the least.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:26 PM on December 20, 2012


My wife and I like to backpack with our dogs and have found some great alternatives to Canyonlands that feature nearly identical terrain, but are not National Parks. Our all-time favorite is the Sundance Trail down into Dark Canyon, in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, which requires a 4X4 to reach the trailhead. I believe there are parts of the same canyon that you can actually drive into as well.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:24 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most likely to keep from contaminating the cryptobiotic soils.

As for where to get the eff away from things, there are a number of roads that head south-ish from Utah 12 (which runs from Capitol Reef to Bryce). Also, Natural Bridges and that area. Very remote, very dark sky.
posted by notsnot at 9:27 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


LionIndex is absolutely right about the fragility of cryptobiotic soils. In such regions, you literally kill the ground just by walking on it. So, not great areas to bring dogs. For this reason among others, please be sure to do some good research before hiking into remote desert areas with them.

It'd be a long drive to get there from southern Utah, but unless things have changed in recent years, you can bring your dogs to Havasupai. You don't even need to leash them. I did that hike with a couple of friends who brought their dog several years ago. It worked out just fine. But she was a very well-behaved dog, and she was closely supervised.

However, you should be aware that attitudes toward dogs may be quite different than what you're used to there. Rez dogs are not pets, and have almost certainly never been to a vet. Also, while getting to and somewhat beyond Supai Village would pose no major difficulties, it's a rare dog that can traverse the way down the cliff to Mooney Falls.

I don't really know that much about the Utah side of things, but Zion might be worth checking out. Also, depending on the time of year you'll be travelling, the north rim of the Grand Canyon may offer quite a bit without ever dropping down into the canyon.
posted by perspicio at 9:31 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are some BLM campgrounds near Moab that possibly have different policies about pets.

On first glance, the Moab field office page doesn't seem to have any pet information posted, but you could contact them and find out.
posted by weston at 10:31 PM on December 20, 2012


Note that backpackers in this part of the country are sometimes asked to carry out their own, human poop and/or toilet paper in special sanitary packs, as the rock surfaces are too tough to dig a cathole in and decomposition occurs very slowly.

Since some dog owners don't pick up after their dogs, the park service may be concerned about the slow buildup of dog poop over time - dog poop which will take a long, long time to decompose, and dog poop which will be extremely visible to other visitors, due to the paucity of vegetation.

Additionally, as others have noted, there are concerns about dogs running wild across cryptobiotic soils and the heat inside a locked car.
posted by scrambles at 4:08 PM on December 21, 2012


Note that backpackers in this part of the country are sometimes asked to carry out their own, human poop and/or toilet paper in special sanitary packs, as the rock surfaces are too tough to dig a cathole in and decomposition occurs very slowly.

That's generally good practice everywhere - and something I do as part of a "Leave No Trace" philosophy. The luggable loo is a huge improvement, let me tell you, to pooping over a log.

LionIndex is absolutely right about the fragility of cryptobiotic soils. In such regions, you literally kill the ground just by walking on it. So, not great areas to bring dogs. For this reason among others, please be sure to do some good research before hiking into remote desert areas with them.

This is sort of what I was thinking, but couldn't find anything definitive. Yeah, this is part of my research - I love travelling with my dogs, but some places aren't very appropriate for them.

Our all-time favorite is the Sundance Trail down into Dark Canyon, in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, which requires a 4X4 to reach the trailhead. I believe there are parts of the same canyon that you can actually drive into as well.

It'd be a long drive to get there from southern Utah, but unless things have changed in recent years, you can bring your dogs to Havasupai. You don't even need to leash them. I did that hike with a couple of friends who brought their dog several years ago. It worked out just fine. But she was a very well-behaved dog, and she was closely supervised.

These are great suggestions. I'll look into it. I'll be down in the Havasupai area a little later in that week, so I'll add that to the list. Sundance was on my short list already. This trip is going to be fun as hell. I'm already stoked.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:12 PM on January 3, 2013


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