About Us | RSVP Policy | Healthy Dog Policy | Assistant Organizers | Hike Leaders
Trail Rating System | Trail Dog Safety | Trail Dog Hiking Gear Reviews | Contact
NoVA Trail Dogs sets RSVP limits for a number of reasons you can see below. However the most important thing for you to understand is that we do set them and we ask that you respect them. Appeals along the lines of, “But how hard can it be to add just one more person?!?!” are inappropriate. If an event organizer felt comfortable with, or a trail could handle, a larger group they would have planned it that way. At some point they have to draw a line for everyone’s safety and enjoyment, and their own comfort at being the leader of such a group.
As responsible dog owners it is our duty to make sure that everyone we encounter on a trail has a pleasant experience. We're out there for our own enjoyment, but at the same time we want to make sure our presence isn't a nuisance to other users of the trail. Too many dogs on trail can make it difficult for others to pass our group, clogs the trail, and creates traffic backups. Now imagine if those hikers also have dogs of their own. Further, imagine if it is an off-leash hike and a huge gaggle of dogs comes running at you!! When dogs become a nuisance in public, they are often banned. It is very important to us that our dogs, and our group, leave a positive impression on the folks we meet. We want our dogs to enjoy hiking trails with us for many years to come.
Logistics and Safety
In addition, each of our organizers has their own comfort level to consider when taking on a group of folks and their pups on an adventure. Hikes in places like Rock Creek Park, the National Monuments, or an Arboretum with plenty of parking and cell phone reception are conducive to large groups that may break into smaller self-organized groups walking at their own pace and ending without too much concern about accountability.
Other hikes however are not quite so forgiving. A hike / backpack through the back country of George Washington National Forrest, with narrow trails, confusing blazes, minimal parking, minimal tent space, no cell reception, limited water, and hours from the nearest services require a smaller more ordered group with stricter accountability.
Between those two extremes is everything in-between and only the individual event organizer can or should decide what they and the trail / campground can accommodate.
ability to enjoy such events is also dictated by the above considerations and the number of permitted attendees. At some point a huge group traipsing through the woods just becomes cumbersome and detrimental to your enjoyment of the quiet beauty around you.
At an organizer's discretion, the Waitlist tool may be turned on for events. Meetup does track the date and time each member joins the Waitlist and will move people over to a Yes if a spot becomes available in order of RSVP. Keep in mind that if you RSVP +1, but only a single spot opens up, Meetup will skip you and go to the next person in line unless two spots open up together.
If there is enough interest, I may ask for a 2nd organizer, or a well-known member, to volunteer to lead a 2nd group the same day. Getting that is not guaranteed. Depending on the trail we'll either stagger our start times or we'll hike opposite directions. Your Organizers will try to give as much notice as possible when we're planning to do this.
Adding to your RSVP
If you would like to add a person to your RSVP, and there are no spots left, contact the event organizer immediately. They can work with you (and around Meetup.com waitlist mechanics) to get you a spot if one opens vice Meetup automatically giving it to a member on the waitlist. If a spot does not open please keep in mind the no-show, drop-out, and walk-on policies and change your RSVP at least 24 hours before the event starts.
No showsAnyone who RSVPs 'Yes' but does not show up to an event three times will be banned from RSVPing or removed altogether from the group.
It's just unfair to other members who could have come but didn't because someone didn't think the event important enough to show up when they committed to it.
If you change your RSVP within 24 hours of the event, not providing enough time for another member to have your spot, you will be considered a Drop Out. Repeated Drop Outs may get you banned from RSVP'ing or removed altogether from the group.
Unless otherwise indicated by an event organizer, walk-ons are not allowed
. Bringing a person who is not included in your RSVP also counts as a walk-on and is also not allowed. It is not fair to the organizers, other attendees, and those who adhered to the waitlist. Walk-On infractions will be noted in your profile as an RSVP violation and a second occurrence will result in your removal from the group.