Tales From The Trails:

To Leash or Not to Leash?

This year Metro's Central Enhancement grant is funding our efforts to raise awareness around the impact of off-leash dogs on the environment. Park goers who encounter our community outreach volunteers and pledge to keep their dog on-leash in Forest Park take home a free I <3 Forest Park leash for their dog to flaunt on trail.

Whenever we broach the subject of off-leash dogs in Forest Park, nearly everyone mentions an unpleasant experience they've had with an unleashed dog. This impulse seems to be true for dog owners and non-dog owners, leashers and non-leashers. But what rarely ever gets mentioned is the impact of off-leash dogs on the environment. If that's because people don't know the impacts, we want to change that. Below are some fun fact about dogs, Portland Parks, and the environment. But first, take a look how cute...   



Fun Facts about Forests, Parks, and Fido

  1. Portland is home to 33 dog parks offering off-leash opportunities. (That's more per capita than any other city in the US!)
  2. Dogs that are off-leash and off-trail can stress wildlife to the point of malnutrition and even death.  
  3. Forest Park is home to over 115 species of native birds, many of which make their nests on the ground. (Please, don't trample the babies.) 
  4. Dogs that go off-trail poop off-trail. Dog waste is a major polluter of urban watersheds, which is bad news for people and wildlife. Portland's amphibians, like the Pacific Giant Salamander and Red Legged Frog, depend on Forest Park watersheds for survival. 
  5. Seeds of some invasive plants like to hitch rides on dogs venturing off trail and then spread deeper into other parts of the forest.
  6. Did we mention it's the law to leash your dog (and scoop its poop) in Forest Park? Violators can be fined $150 per dog.

Remember, you and your dog can help protect Forest Park while appreciating it. To all the dog owners out there reading, thank you for leashing your dog!

Todd Janssen from Go Beyond Racing, plus one more cute dog, looking good, doing the right thing

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