/ Trails and Recreation,

Dog Hikers: Respect the Trail and Follow the Rules

At Conserving Carolina, we love our dogs. But we’re having some real problems with dogs on our trails and we need your help!

If you walk dogs on our trails, we need you to follow two important rules:

1. Keep your dogs on leash.

2. Bag your dog’s poop and carry it out with you.

Note: At many of our trailheads, there are no trash cans and there is no trash collection. You need to take all of your trash, including poop bags, home with you and dispose of it there. 

Here’s WHY that is so important:

RESPECT AND SAFETY: Leashing your dog shows respect for other hikers, who may be afraid of dogs or simply not like to have dogs running around or jumping on them. It prevents dangerous situations, especially if your dog has a less-than-friendly encounter with someone else’s dog. And no one likes to see dog poop or poop bags left behind on the trail! It’s gross.

WILDLIFE HABITAT: Unleashed dogs often chase wild animals and can hurt, kill, stress, or provoke them. When dogs run off leash, they widen the corridor of disturbance, so it’s not just the trail but a much wider swath of forest where wild animals and plants are impacted.

WATER POLLUTION: If your dog is running around without a leash, you might not know where it’s pooping. And if you leave dog poop on the ground, it’s going to get into the water. Pollution from dog poop is a real problem in our streams. It leads to increased levels of pathogens, nutrients, and fecal coliform bacteria, hurting water quality for both people and wildlife.

TRAIL ACCESS: Did you know that many of our trails pass through private property? We need the landowners’ permission to keep them open. We’re also trying to work with landowners and neighbors to expand our trail network. When trail users cause problems—whether that’s problems with dogs or trash or parking—that gets a lot harder.

So, we need your help! Please be respectful. And have a great hike with your dog!

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