Guidance for Dog Walkers

 

Dogs are allowed on all of our properties on-leash. Dogs are allowed off-leash, maximum 2 dogs per handler, on all of our 45 trailed nature preserves with the exception of three preserves: Trout Brook Valley (please see note below), the Newman Poses preserve in Westport, and the Stonebridge Waterfowl preserve in Weston. We restricted dogs to leashes on Stonebridge because dogs were chasing nesting ducks and other waterfowl. With regards to Newman Poses, there is significant ground nesting bird habitat on this nature preserve and the town of Westport and the CT DEEP recommended that dogs be leashed.

At the completion of the 2012 Wildlife Study conducted in Trout Brook Valley, new trail use policies were created to protect and preserve the abundant but fragile wildlife diversity that exists. These new policies affect the existing 21-mile trail system at TBV used by hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog walkers, birders, and others who enjoy the preserve.  With the exception of the Crow Hill section's Blue/White trail, dogs must now be leashed at all times throughout the TBV preserve.  

Off-leash dog walking (maximum 2 dogs per handler) is allowed only on a two-mile trail loop in the Crow Hill section of TBV accessible by four public parking areas in Easton.  This trail is indicated by Blue/White trail markers.  Elsewhere in TBV dogs are required to be leashed and always under their owner's control and to remain on designated trails.   

Why should you leash your dog?

  1. Know and follow the regulations posted at the open spaces you plan to visit. Call ahead or visit the web sites of the respective preserves in advance of your visit to find out specific regulations.  
  2. If you walk your dog off leash but cant depend on the dog to always come to you quickly on command, keep your dog on leash until you create a better re-call habit for your dog. You should always make yourself more entertaining and interesting than any distraction. Training with treats, extra affection, games all can make it fun for the dog to listen and obey.
  3.  Avoid situations where an on leash dog interacts with an off leash dog. There is a tendency for a dog on a leash to be more reactive. If your dog is off leash and is near a leashed dog, the most courteous thing to do is leash your dog until past the distraction.
  4.  Know your dogs limitations and behavior triggers. Be aware of them and use your best judgment before taking your dog off leash.
  5.  If a dog is in conflict with another dog and aggressive behavior is present or seems possible, it is your responsibility to protect and control your dog.
  6.  Leave no trace.  Many land trusts have policies which require pet owners to pick up and remove their waste.  Regrettably, some visitors leave their pet waste in the woods or on the trail or even in bags left behind in the woods or in the parking areas.  The town of Weston recently passed an ordinance requiring owners to pick up their dog waste under penalty of a $50 fine.  

Aspetuck Land Trust does not prohibit dogs in any of our preserves. We are unique among Land Trusts and conservation groups, many of which either prohibit dogs or require them to be on leashes. We hope you enjoy your walk in the woods with your dog. Dog walking on conserved lands is both a joy and a privilege.  To maintain this privilege we ask all dog owners to control their pets at all times.  Please follow these rules:

  • Dogs must stay on trails so as not to disturb flora and fauna habitat (also helps to lessen ticks).
  • Owner must remove dog waste from trails (bring a baggie).
  • Dogs need to be next to owner and under voice and sight control at all times.
  • Dogs must yield to horses.
  • Dogs must not jump on other hikers especially children.
  • Dogs must not run into neighboring properties.  
  • Biking with off leash dogs is not permitted.

Some of our members enjoy walking their dogs at the following preserves: Haskins Preserve in Westport; Poindexter Preserve in Easton; Honey Hill, Elisabeth Moore, Taylor Woods & Tall Pines Preserves in Weston; and Harwood Preserve and Brett Woods in Fairfield (Town-owned).

  • In the Trout Brook Valley orchard area, dogs are prohibited from April 15 August 15 to protect ground nesting birds.

Please read the Stamford Advocate article on dogs in North Mianus Park.

For an interesting video on voice & site control policies in Boulder, Colorado, please click here.

If you have any further questions or comments, please contact David at   dbrant@aspetucklandtrust.org.