Monday, April 11, 2011

Know of a good place to walk dogs in Oakland County?

Cranes at Addison: By Allison Jagow
I was gratified after writing the post Does anyone use a leash and hearing from so many people who face the same challenge I do — finding a place to walk your dog where other peoples' dogs are actually kept on leash.
Well folks, walking season has finally arrived and this year, I'm determined to create a list of safe places to walk your dog.
By safe, I mean where leash rules are in place and are actually enforced.
I'm happy to report that so far as I can tell, Addison Oaks County Park is one of these places.
Trillium in bloom at Addison: By Allison Jagow
On Friday and again on Sunday, I walked Sensi on the 2.5-mile paved Buhl Lake Trail. Though paved, the path has its hills and valleys to leave you feeling like you have indeed done a little working out.
I was nervous about whether I'd encounter dogs off leashes because the trail goes pretty far out of the main park area. People will often let their dogs "go free" once they feel they've gotten far enough away from the watchful eyes of park employees, but that did not appear to be the case at Addison Oaks.
On Friday, my friend Allison, Sensi and I had the park all to ourselves. It was truly awesome. We saw three park staffers, but that was it. There wasn't another car in the park when we arrived nor when we left.
On Sunday — with the weather absolutely gorgeous — I knew there would be lots of people at the park and I was right.
We encountered a total of four dogs while on our walk. A couple walking two pit bulls had both their dogs on leashes, a third small dog was also on leash for a walk and a fourth dog, a Huskie, was on leash, running beside his owner's bicycle.
I really have to hold myself back from coming off as weird at times and yesterday was one of them. I wanted to holler out to every person I saw walking a dog, "Thank you for having your dog on leash!"
But I didn't. I am, however, so grateful.
Park rules do stipulate that dogs must be kept on 6-foot-leashes at all times. I assume these rules apply to all county parks — dog parks not included.
The thing is, lots of places have leash rules. Whether people follow them is a whole different story.
I think it comes down to enforcement. If a park's staff regularly patrols the park, people are less likely to feel they can get away with "letting their dogs run."
Kudos to Addison Oaks for having the rule and enforcing it. I'm looking forward to lots of walks there this year.
On the other hand, the Bald Mountain hiking trails are losing ground with me. As Brent and I sat around with a couple friends, I asked them, "So, do you usually see dogs loose out there?"
Though the four of us have only been on the trails a handful of times, we were able to come up with more than a dozen run-ins with dogs off leashes.

Now, there's only one thing left to do — gather information on good, leash-friendly walking trails throughout the county. Tell me about those trails where dogs are almost always found off-leash, tell me about the good trails and safety path routes where dogs are almost always on-leash, or just suggest a trail for me and the dog to go try out.
We'll test it out for you and report back.

In the meantime, grab that 6-foot-leash of yours and head out to Addison Oaks for a great dog walk. Maybe I'll see you on the trail!

Addison Trails

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