Letter to the Editor – Dog Walkers Welcome

Peter R. Paden
Executive Director, Columbia Land Conservancy

I write to clarify the policy of the Columbia Land Conservancy regarding the presence of dogs at our Public Conservation Areas: Dogs are welcome, so long as they are on a leash and owners remove their waste from the site.

CLC manages ten Public Conservation Areas throughout the county so that people can enjoy the extraordinarily rich and diverse outdoor world that surrounds us. These areas are quiet and peaceful. They provide an opportunity for exercise, relaxation, and outdoor education. They ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live and how much land they own, has access to beautiful natural lands.

Recent complaints by a neighbor have led some, including the Greenport Town Board, to suggest that we should ban dogs from the Greenport Conservation Area. In considering the issue, we have spoken with numerous visitors to our sites, stepped up notice and enforcement of our leash rules, and conducted on-the-ground research. We believe the majority of people are complying with our rules. We have seen no evidence that the current situation poses a threat or a nuisance to the public. Banning dogs altogether would deprive a large number of people of a pleasurable and important outdoor experience.

I encourage anyone who suspects our current policy poses a danger to spend a few hours at one of our Public Conservation Areas. I’m pretty confident it will be the most tranquil moment of your day. More information on our Public Conservation Areas and our dog policies can be found at clctrust.org/dogs.

2 Responses to Letter to the Editor – Dog Walkers Welcome

  1. bob yates says:

    tough issue all around, no doubt.

    i run at various clc properties. using ooms as an example, i find that most dogs are off leash, owners are blissfully unaware and there is a fair amt of “waste”, sometimes in “large mounds” directly in the trail.

    i am a dog lover, and just had to put my 11 yr old husky down about 6 months ago. i would love it if everyone seemlessly got along and there were no issues, but to me, the core issue is this:

    other peoples(non dog users) experiences are sometimes compromised by off leash dogs and “large mounds” not being picked up. you, the dog owner are there to have a great time, awesome, we all are. when your pitt bull charges at me looking mean, it compromises my time there, when i step in “stuff” i am “less happy” about my time at the clc property.

    when you are raging out, screaming at your off leash dog because it is chasing me and won’t come to you, on a sunday morning, while other dogs partially freak out, and i am there doing my own thing makes my experience less fun. again, we are all there to have a splendid time.

    always a difficuly situatuion to manage, but mostly because some people are unaware of the thought that others are not enjoying themselves, they think, “hey, i am taking my dog out, let him run great place, good stuff”

    what is most likely going to happen, is that someone is going to get attacked/bitten/frightened and there is going to be police involvement. as soon as this happens, no more dogs at clc properties. period.

    it is the way the world works, it seems. my 2 pennies anyway…

    • Michael Chameides says:

      Bob, I hope your prediction about someone being bit is wrong. Thanks for the feedback about your experience at our public conservation areas. It is helpful to get reports from our constituents.

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