"Sadly, I also noticed that many of the shelters and campsites had more trash than I'm used to seeing in NH. At Antlers camp, not 40 feet from where that sunrise photo was composed, was a fire ring with half burned trash in it."
Jeez, that's still a huge bummer. I guess you could make the point that there are more caretakers (AMC, large crowds of concerned hikers, etc.) in NH than in far northern Maine, but... that's just ridiculous.
I've seen more than my fair share of trash at shelters, too... once it was a ton of trail magic left at a shelter by some folks who obviously weren't thinking of how the hot dog packages, soda cans, ketchup bottles, etc. were going to get out of there. Good intentions, just poorly thought-out. I think the burnt trash in a fire ring is also with good intentions, but once again-- poorly thought out. Which is why it's good to catch the people in the act and tell them why it's a bad idea, rather than scold after the fact.