Recreation, unleashed


There are situations in which leash laws are appropriate on trails, but I encourage the Jackson Hole task force (“Heard around the West,” HCN, 10/12/15) and others to consider their effect on off-leash recreationists. Places off-leash recreationists can legally engage in their activity are often limited in number, accessibility and quality. For many (perhaps most) of them, on-leash or non-dog recreation is not a substitute.

A recent survey conducted for Oregon’s State Trails Plan provides some perspective. When asked their favorite trail activity, a greater percentage of trail users indicated off-leash walking/running than indicated horseback riding, mountain biking, or on-leash walking/running.  People who engage in off-leash recreation do so more days of the year, more hours per day, and at higher aerobic levels than those who engage in on-leash recreation; this leads to public health benefits.

I encourage everyone wrestling with this issue to find solutions that address diverse citizen interests over the long term, rather than pursuing “easy fixes.”

Kreg Lindberg
Bend, Oregon

High Country News Classifieds