Parks ban dogs from hiking trails to protect wildlife

You might find it heartwarming to see Rover frolicking in the wilderness, but residents of the backcountry may not share your joy. Hiking with dogs is hugely popular, but some park rangers and biologists worry hikers don’t follow the rules, letting their dogs run riot and hound (heh) wildlife. Pups were recently banned from all but one trail in a Northern California state park, after rangers saw unleashed dogs chasing geese and other birds. And dogs have been prohibited from 42 miles of trails in a California national monument area after some were seen harassing endangered bighorn sheep. “Dogs are a threat to wildlife,” says ranger Bonnie Clarfield, the “dog narc” of the National Park Service who actively tickets scofflaw owners of off-leash pooches. But some hikers think the ire is misplaced. “I have a greater fear of the damage caused by all-terrain vehicles,” says one dog-loving Sierra Club member.