Here we go again. Summer has arrived and hikers are hitting their favorite trails in full force. Unfortunately it appears that smash-and-grab car prowling low-lives are out in full force hitting their vehicles—and the Olympic Peninsula is seeing a rash of car break-ins this year. Reports have been coming in of car break-ins at Graves Creek, Whisky Bend, Olympic Adventure Trail, and Lena Lake trailheads.

Now, before anyone starts entertaining Charles Bronson fantasies about avenging justice on the low lives—let’s be realistic here on how we can address this scourge on our trailheads. Our region like much of America is plagued by a drug abuse epidemic that almost always leads junkies to property crimes to feed their habits. Until we as a society care to address this issue, this problem is only going to get worse.

So what can we do now? Absolutely do everything you can do to not make your vehicle a target. Drive a junker to the trailhead if you have one. Absolutely leave nothing of value—including loose change on the dash in the car. Take your registration with you. If you see someone who appears to be sketchy at the trailhead—take notes—photograph the license plates of the perp’s vehicle and go somewhere else.

And maybe it’s time that we as hikers start thinking about employing folks at the most crime prone trailheads to act as lookouts. I’m serious. Someone camps out at the trailhead and folks give that person a donation to watch over the lot through the day and night. It might be something worth thinking about, lest these crimes continue—forcing folks to hike elsewhere. Of course local businesses will feel the sting, perhaps prompting them to think about partnering with some kind of trailhead lookout system. At the very least, we should consider security cameras. Anyhow, the whole situation is maddening and frustrating and the last thing we want to think about when we are trying to escape the craziness of the “civilized world.”

What do you think we should do to address this problem?


Before heading out to hike on the Olympic Peninsula, be sure you have a copy of my Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula (Mountaineers Books) with you. The best selling hiking guide to the Olympics; you’ll find 136 hikes in this book including many trails that are off-the-beaten path!

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