The Slocan Valley Rail Trail Society (SVRTS) has introduced a new feature for users of the 50-km-long Slocan Valley Rail Trail.
The lend-a-leash program is intended to help ensure that dog owners have a leash available when they take their pet for a stroll on the Rail Trail. At three locations — the Crescent Valley, Passmore and Winlaw Trailheads — there will be a supply of leashes available to borrow and be returned when done.
The idea was brought to the society’s board when they were discussing dogs on the trail. With increasing usage of the trail, the SVRTS has been receiving feedback from some trail users who have felt threatened by uncontrolled dogs.
The society’s policy is that dog owners must control their pets when approaching others.
“Your dog may be quite friendly, but not everyone is comfortable with dogs,” says Helene Dostaler, SVRTS chair .
“We have introduced this program to make it easier for everyone to have an enjoyable experience on our Rail Trail and to help reduce confrontational situations.”
The program is the first of its kind in Canada. A similar program has successfully been in place since 2014 in Bozeman, Montana.
To compliment the lend-a-leash program, the society has posted new signage along the trail to remind users about proper dog behaviour. Besides leashing up when meeting others, dog owners must ensure that their pets don’t stray onto adjoining private property. They are also being reminded to clean up after their pets.
The SVRTS has been instrumental in creating and managing the Slocan Valley Rail Trail since 2001, in partnership with the provincial government. For more information on the society, visit their Facebook page or their website slocanvalleyrailtrail.ca.