A scene at the Slocan Valley Rail Trail. Photo Peter Vella

A scene at the Slocan Valley Rail Trail. Photo Peter Vella

LETTER: Leash your dogs on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail

From reader Peter Vella

I have lived adjacent to the wonderful Slocan Valley Rail Trail for six years. I have walked, cycled, and cross country skied the trail to the tune of hundreds of kilometres. I brag about it to friends.

Today was my first longer hike of 2022. On route I had three encounters with dogs accompanied by humans. The first dog was on a leash and a pleasant salutation took place between myself and the dog’s owner.

The second dog was unleashed and ran at me barking. I mentioned that to the dog’s owner there was a trail users’ policy that dogs should be on a leash or restrained. She laughed at this and walked away.

The next encounter involved three dogs that were accompanied by a person on a bicycle. The dogs started running at me from 60 meters away with no intervention from their owner. They surrounded me barking and snarling. I grabbed a stick and made loud noises.The cyclist rode by and never made eye contact. In time the dogs left to follow the bicycle. I returned home early.

These three encounters are typical of the range of my experience.

One cannot expect the good people that administer and maintain the trail to survey its entire 50 kilometres enforcing (not so much a rule as) common consideration. I walk the trail for reasons of fitness and relaxation. These walks are now the opposite of relaxation. And so I have decided not to walk or cycle my favourite trail anymore. This makes me sad beyond words.

I feel the responsibility to say, “If you, or anyone with you (especially a child) would normally walk around an off-leash dog park instead of through it, then I suggest you do not walk or cycle on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail.”

Peter Vella

Slocan Valley