Monday, August 16, 2010

Creekside Walk Croaks?

Well, my daughter and I were walking the trail to Burlington through Hendry Valley along Grindstone Creek and we were surprised to find this sign (above) - well, "not recommended" for hiking isn't saying "closed to hiking" - plus the fineprint saying repairs would not happen "until summer when the creek and grounds are it its driest" led us to continue on our trek, it being mid August and all.

Yet we quickly realized that not many others are ignoring the posted warning, since the trail was very narrowed by the overgrowth of life as it goes on in the woods - and we had to brush past a constant supply of greenery, some of which we found was likely poison ivy, so we wait now to see how our bodies deal with it.

We made it through and the path was much better as we approaced Unsworth drive and on into Hidden Valley. Funny thing was, I was just checking out the Royal Botanical Gardens own mapping of their trails, including this one, earlier today. Maybe the mapping site could include updates when there are problems with the trail.

I'm itching to tell them...
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Warren Park Loses Leash Free

The local daily reports that Warren Park's leash-free status is gone by the end of the year.
City council decided to revoke the Dundas park's designation as a leash-free park and instead convert a developing area north of Governor's Road into a leash-free zone.
The park near Tally Ho Drive, which is on-leash during the summer, will cease to be a leash-free area in about four months once its replacement, Delottinville Park, is ready, said the city's director of environmental services, Craig Murdoch.
The opposing sides in this tug-of-war over the use of the park for free-running dogs has not always been polite.

To me, it has always made sense to have this park protected since it is in an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) with hiking trails linked to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area where dogs are to be on-leash.

As city staff reported, "Through the action of the dogs, the park is in a degraded state and the natural environment has been impaired." 

It also makes sense to me to have leash-free parks with fences to segregate the dogs from the rest of park users who may not be comfortable with unknown dogs of all sizes approaching them at any speed.

I also suspect that there will always be a minority of dog-owners who ignore the rules, and operate on the assumption that their dog would never cause a problem. However, as any dog behaviourist will tell you, there are no guarantees and any dog is capable of causing harm.

But I also suspect that most dog-owners will respect the new by-law and work to ensure proper amenities for their pets.Hikers in the area will be more secure in their walks knowing that they will not be accosted by dogs whose owners are not in proximity to control them.

View Leash Free Dog Park Issues, Dundas ON in a larger map

Two other parks in Dundas (Chegwin and Littlejohn) are up for review, neither of which has fencing, and one (Chegwin) next to a creek that feeds into Spencer Creek, and a paved trail linking to the Spencer Creek Trail and to Governor's Road, so a review seems to be in order.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

talking shit

 A correspondent to this blog is getting annoyed at what he sees at an abundance of horse manure being left on the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail in Dundas Valley:
Basically we have private horse riding private businesses making use of public space, churning up the path with their hoofs, leaving potholes and shit all over the place, and basically taking over the public space, while making money off of it.  This does not include the one bicycle rack that was ripped out of its moorings at the Trail Centre by a wild horse.

When I get to the Brant county section of the trail, I notice that they have scoop signs, which are sort of ambiguous, but at least it is something.  I get this shit in my mountain (bike) tires and have to clean it out with water.

The shit sometimes is deposited between the two barriers at the crossings, so one would only have about four square feet to work your trick bike.

 Well, on my ride out there last Saturday I found two piles of horse droppings on the trail, about a kilometre in each direction from the Trail Centre. I will admit, I was a bit shy about taking pictures of poop, but, all in a day's blogging. I have a photo of the second pile, but I hope this one will suffice as a a sort of synecdoche of shit.

A little further on down the trail, just east of the Trail Centre I found this scat, which I will guess is perhaps Coyote poop, which would make leaving it behind a bit more legitimate, being wild and all.

The correspondent (I'll call him CCRider) took my advice and called to complain at the Hamilton Conservation Authority, but he was not pleased with the response. The administrator, according to CCRider
implied that horse riders are the most important clients of the trail, and the real problem is dogs, not horses
I am not sure where to go from here: I do enjoy seeing the horses, though they can be skittish, therefore potentially dangerous around other trail users. I wish the riders would, as I seem to recall was required from an earlier trail etiquette brochure (i failed to find it on the new HCA web site),  push the poop to the side of the trail at least.

What do you think? Is horse poop a problem on the Dundas Trails? Use the comment section to have your say.