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Compliance dips for dogs on Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail

Trail monitoring to continue, vast majority of users follow the rules
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Steven St. Denis his daughter Kiara and dog Destiny enjoy an early morning bike ride on the foreshore trail on Sunday, Oct. 2. (File photo)

Restrictions on dogs using Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail will continue, as will monitoring for compliance.

City council supported monitoring of the trail for a third year after receiving the Foreshore Trail Dog Monitoring Program report for 2017.

Presented by the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s Phil McIntyre-Paul and Salmon Arm Nature Bay Enhancement Society (SABNES) president Janet Aitken, the report states during the surveillance period between June 22 and Aug. 18, 48 dogs with trail users were observed.

Of these, only nine were non-compliant – one was found off-leash and seven were on leashes greater than two metres. Three additional incidents of dogs off trails were noted, while eight incidents of feces deposits were observed. All of this adds up to a slip in compliance from the previous year.

“So there was eight incidents of feces which is kind of entertaining when you think about it because it seems like not a lot, but when you compare it to the previous survey from the year before… I don’t think there was any noted feces on the trail,” said McIntyre-Paul, adding the overall compliance rate of 81 per cent represents a drop from the agreed upon threshold of 97 per cent. “That’s not a big slip but it’s a little slip and it’s enough to kind of go, OK, so maybe we need to just remind people or do something.”

In addition, students involved in the monitoring program also reported incidents where they found dogs on leash that were soaking wet. Also, signs of dog footprints were found off the trail and around the hummocks – mounds of earth created to provide habitat for nesting birds, reptiles, small and larger mammals.

Recommendations from the report include the continuation of the monitoring program, including student summer surveys, continuing the spring closure through the April 15 to June 15 critical nesting period and the reconvening of a monitoring working group. The report also suggests the placement of simple barriers, which McIntyre-Paul described as, “a chain and a couple of pins saying please keep your dog out of the wetlands.”

Coun. Ken Jamieson noted how during debate in 2015 to allow dogs on the trail, “there were some hard feelings and we lost a couple of people from SABNES.” Asked for the group’s thoughts on what has happened since, Aitken said things have gone far more positive than expected. But she credited that to the close monitoring of the trail.

“I know people are really trying to keep their dogs on leashes,” said Aitken.

“You’re always going to have the odd person that is choosing not to do that and on a hot summer day the dog needs a drink… Having said that, I would love to see it continue to be monitored because if we’re not watching, I think people will take advantage and there will be more non-compliance.”

Council supported the recommendations of the report with funding already in the budget for related expenses.


@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

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