37 forum posts
Anyone know what the penalty is if a ranger catches you with your dog in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountain National Park? I find the reasoning behind why dogs are not allowed in the park to be unfounded. The reasonings I have heard are that:
A)They may chase animals
B)They may get loose and become a feral pest
C)They spread a predator scent that can freak out the deer and bears
D)They can spread disease to coyotes
The first of these two can be easily avoided if you use a leash. C, seems like total crap to me because I don't see how the dogs scent can be any different from coyotes or the wolves that used to naturally dwell in the area (albeit a while back now for the wolves). D is the only reasonable concern, but realistically the smokies are not that isolated from the surrounding areas where dogs are allowed and the animals of the park are not confined to the park, therefore disease migration is inevitable either way. Not to mention if the dog is properly vaccinated there should be minimal viral transmissions and that leaves a few strains of bacterial infections that are possible to spread, none of which are life threatening to a healthy animal as to my knowledge.
If the park were truly concerned about animals impacting the environment then they wouldn't allow horses. Horses crap all over the trails, they eat native vegetation, they spread disease, and they destroy the trails and cause severe erosion(hooved mammals aren't even native to this continent). I understand why people like to bring them, and their historical significance. But dammit, if they can bring their horses, I am going to bring my dog.