Trailhead Theft & Vandalism

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    • #81325
      Bob Martin

        Several years ago I returned to the trailhead from a hike to Lost Lake on Nason Ridge only to find that my Ford pickup had been broken into. The wing window had been jimmied and the tools I had stashed behind my seat were all taken. At least the thieves didn’t slash the tires or worse. In all my years of hiking, that was the only time I’ve ever had a problem at a trailhead so I consider myself lucky.

        Question: Has the vandalism at trailheads increased in recent years, gone down, or remained about the same? Do you have any recommendations for leaving vehicles at trailheads? (My friend always left an open box of 30.06 cartridges in plain sight on the front seat).

      • #85201

          I’ve had plenty of problems at the trailheads along the Mountain Loop Highway. I’ve been told there is a regular band of thieves that prowl cars. Had little luck with the Snohomish County Sheriff.

        • #85202
          Brian Curtis

            Overall, I’ve been really lucky. We got broken into at the Suiattle trailhead when I was a kid. That was back in the seventies some time. The only time I’ve been broken into since then was by a bear.

            I drove up to the Dingford Creek TH one morning and found three vehicles with one tire slashed each and all had been broken into. One had broken glass on their open glove compartment so leaving it open didn’t help.

            Every so often the thefts get really bad, then they catch the culprits and things slow down a bit until someone else starts working the trailheads.

          • #85203

              As an outsider (CA), it is interesting to read about this. I suppose I’ve been very lucky over the years, considering the huge number of trips (>>100) I’ve done, mostly in California, but a few in Montana. To my knowledge my vehicle has not been vandalized at a trailhead. However, I do remember two stories. In the early 80’s I remember hearing how the trailhead to the legendary Papoose Lake in the Trinity Alps (NW California) was real dicey owing to frequent vandalism. On the same trip that I heard this report (on the shores of trailless Maneaten Lake in the Marble Mtns. of NW California), I returned to a trailhead to find the battery in my old beater dead. With nobody around and being many miles from any help my buddy and I considered opening up someone’s hood (not many interior latches in those days) and “borrowing” someone’s battery so we could take my car to town then charge my dead battery and then drive back to return the battery . We wisely decided against that scheme. What we didn’t know was that the sheriffs office had staked out that trailhead because of frequent theft and vandalism that had occurred there. In any case, someone did come along eventually and give us a ride into town (like a dummy I didn’t have jumper cables in the car and we had to snag someone to give us a ride back up there and jump the car).

              Other than those two Klamath Mtn. stories, I haven’t heard of anyone else I’ve talked to having any problems with vandalism or theft at a trailhead, so I can’t say whether down here in CA things have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same. I think the worst thing to happen to my car at a trailhead (other than a dead battery) would be some minor under-the-hood damage caused by a marmot on one trip, and the building of a small nest under the hood by some mouse or something–I didn’t know about the nest material until it started to smoke. Oh, and then there’s some pine sap that just won’t come off…

            • #85204
              Brian Curtis

                Vandalism from 4-footed critters is something I’ve experienced. My Explorer got mauled in Idaho. Here are some photos.

              • #85205
                bob pfeifer

                  OK Brian, did your scale (pinned to your lapel) handle that hog of a fish?

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