Trail Users Must Keep Dogs Leashed at All Times

Visitors at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area enjoyed a hike along the scenic trails with their dogs last week; visitors are encouraged to enjoy the outdoors with their pets, provided they are leashed at all times.

During the pandemic, Otonabee Conservation is seeing an increase the number of visitors accessing Conservation Areas and trails across the watershed. With this increased use, there has also been an increase in the number of complaints about improper use of these lands.

In particular, Otonabee Conservation reminds visitors that dogs must be on a leash of less than 2 metres long and be in control at all times. Many visitors have well-behaved dogs, however it is not permitted for ANY dog to be off leash at ANY time.

“Having your dog off leash and chasing a squirrel may seem harmless enough, but remember, you are in the home of many wildlife species, some which are listed as Species At Risk,“ Explains Jessie James, Otonabee Conservation’s Manager of Conservation Lands, “Conservation Areas are lands that have been set aside to help protect wildlife; keeping your dog on a leash and on the designated trail are actions that help to keep sensitive ecosystems and species safe.”

Dog owners are also reminded that there are natural risks to your pet that they, and you may not be used to. In nature, hikers and their pets may encounter uneven terrain, encounters with wildlife, an unfamiliarity with surroundings, and possible contact with ticks, poison ivy or other plants that can cause allergic reactions.

“You may own a very well-trained and friendly dog, but not all our visitors are comfortable around dogs,” Continues James, “Please respect our fellow visitors by not allowing your dog to rush up and say hello to everyone – that means, being on leash at all times.”

Dog walkers should always carry and use a bag to clean up after their pet, even if it looks like it is off the trail. Our staff regularly go off trail to inspect trees, assess vegetation, and maintain trails so please respect our staff and the environment by picking up dog waste.

Currently, garbage receptacles are not available at many of our Conservation Areas. Please take dog waste home to discard of it properly.

Along with keeping dogs on a leash, Otonabee Conservation would like to remind visitors that they are required to follow a number of rules, as set out under the Conservation Authorities Act and the Trespass to Properties Act. Please review a full list of Otonabee Conservation’s Day Use Area Terms and Conditions required at Conservation Areas and trials, before visiting.

For more information contact:

Dan Marinigh | CAO | Otonabee Conservation | 705-745-5791 ext. 222