There may be some tails added to the trails at the Larch Hills Ski area this winter.
Larch Hills Nordic Society members will be voting over the next few weeks on a proposal to re-designate one of the ski trails to allow for dogs. This would be on a one-year trial basis.
The current proposal would re-desginate a one-kilometre, out-and-back trail known as “Sunshine” to allow for dogs.
The voting will take place online at the club’s website www.skilarchhills.com.
While the club had initially hoped to create an entirely new trail to accommodate skiers, snowshoers and their canine companions, the constraints of private land meant looking at re-designating an already existing trail.
The club created a committee to review the issue in 2010 in response to the growing number of skiers who wanted to be able to exercise their dogs while cross country skiing.
While there is a canine area, it is not groomed and skiers must break their own trail. In the case of the proposed trail, ski tracks would be set and maintained.
Peter Molnar, club president, says there are pros and cons to the proposal, which is why a vote was deemed to be the best course of action.
Some skiers are concerned about the potential for skier-dog interactions, possibly resulting in collisions or injuries to people or animals on the trails. Owner’s abilities to control their pets is a worry, as is users not picking up after their dogs.
Others are supportive of the plan, noting many other ski areas in B.C. do allow dogs on designated trails. This also helps attract both dog-loving locals and visitors to the ski area.
“Not establishing a dog friendly trail at this point could result in more people deciding to ignore the dog prohibition on the Larch Hills ski trials which could create conflict with skiers encountering dogs on many trails,” says Hermann Bruns, spokesperson for the committee.
Rules for the proposed trail include keeping dogs under control, only allowing them off leash on the designated trail, limiting skiers to two dogs each and cleaning up after their pet.
Molnar says the club hopes to have the voting results by their Dec. 6 club meeting, so, if successful, the multi-use trail could be implemented this season.