ARE DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BLUFF TRAIL?
Dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are not running at large.
Dogs should be leashed for four important reasons:
2. dogs pose a risk to vulnerable flora and fauna species and the Bluff Trail is located within a area designated for wilderness protection,
3. because dogs can be injured by porcupine, coyote, and other animals in the area, as well as possibly being injured by hunting and trapping practices, and
4. for the comfort and enjoyment of other users. WRWEO has received numerous complaints about either overly friendly or aggressive dogs. People have complained about dogs that jump on them, damage their clothing, and eat their food. We have also had reports of people being bitten. Having dogs off leash acts as a barrier to those who are not comfortable with dogs because of personal or cultural reasons.
Best Practice in an Ideal Leave No Trace World:
Do not bring dogs to protected wilderness areas.
A Good Compromise to Reduce Harm and Minimize Impacts:
Keep dogs on leash. Pick up and carry out dog feces. Ensure that dogs stay on the trail and boardwalk and do not damage ground nests and sensitive flora such as carnivorous Pitcher Plants.
Harmful Practices which Damage the Wilderness:
Dogs travelling off leash can destroy sensitive flora, disturb wildlife, and bother other trail users. Uncollected dog feces, or worse: plastic bags containing dog feces, left on the trail or in the bushes pose a real problem both to the enjoyment of the wilderness for other hikers, and to the sensitive ecology of the area.
For off-leash recreation use designated off-leash areas such as: Sandy Lake Park (Bedford); Hemlock Ravine Park; Fort Needham Memorial Park; Point Pleasant Park; Shubie Park; and, Dartmouth Common.
To assist you in removing dog feces from the trail there is a bag dispenser mounted on a tree as you leave the Bluff Trail Parking Lot to access the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea (BLT) Trail. There are garbage containers located in the parking lot and on the BLT trail at Cranberry Lake just west of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail head. There are no garbage containers located on the Bluff Trail and dog owners should be prepared to carry dog waste off the trail to the public garbage containers. Given the length of the Bluff Trail, this may mean carrying dog waste for several kilometres.
Because of the growing number of users on the trail, it is important that dog feces be collected immediately and carried with you. Please do not leave dog feces (or bags containing it) on the trail or in the trees to be collected later. There is no way for other trail users to distinguish between dog bags waiting to be retrieved and those which have been completely abandoned. The presence of litter and garbage along the trail has a negative impact on the experience for other users and for maintaining good wilderness stewardship practices within this protected wilderness area.
Thank you for your assistance in maintaining The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail in accordance with Leave No Trace (LNT) practices. Your cooperation and LNT skills will help ensure the survival of this protected Wilderness Area and all the life within it.
Information on pets and how to keep them safe in the wilderness is available from the province here: https://novascotia.ca/natr/wildlife/sustainable/pdf/PetOwners.pdf