No go for canines: Dogs banned from Grouse Mountain park trail
Ban will enhance visitor experience and protect trail, says parks manager
The Metro Vancouver board voted to ban dogs from a B.C. Mountaineering Club (BCMC) trail adjacent to the Grouse Grind as part of its 20-year plan to upgrade Grouse Mountain Regional Park.
Jeff Fitzpatrick, Metro Vancouver's regional parks manager for the west area, says the dog ban will enhance visitor experience.
"We've been looking at a vision for the park over the next 20 years and what it's going to look like to manage the ecology of the park and also how to welcome folks into the park and keep people safe," Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said since dogs are not allowed on the Grouse Grind or on the mountain's gondola, the BCMC trail had became a default trail for dog owners.
"It's a narrow trail and there's some quite deep sections that folks have to navigate," Fitzpatrick said.
"There can be some challenges with dogs on the trail that can disturb other park visitors as they're trying to navigate the steeper sections or the more scrambly sections of the trail if they are off-leash."
Fitzpatrick said dogs will still be permitted on the Baden Powell trail, which he described as a much wider, gradual trail with better sight lines.
Ban 'unfortunate,' says club VP
Chris Ludwig, the current vice-president and incoming president of the BCMC, says he understands the reasoning behind the ban, but called it unfortunate.
"You're going to get anomalies of people who just don't like following the rules or don't like being told what to do," Ludwig said. "That kind of wrecks it for everybody."
Ludwig says such a ban could be difficult to enforce.
"They don't have the manpower to go out there and be monitoring all the hikers in terms of whether they are leashing their dogs and cleaning up after their dogs," he said.
He says education and cultivating a sense of community and group ownership in a trail can be a better way of dealing with the problems associated with dogs on the trail.
"What has worked for us at least in the trails and areas we maintain is education and to give a public a sense of ownership over these areas," he said.
"As long as we're trying to use common sense about it and respect one another, I think that will go a long way."
Fitzpatrick says the dog ban on the trail is already in effect.
With files from BC Today