ARE DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BLUFF TRAIL?
Dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are not running at large.
WRWEO suggests that dogs should be leashed for three important reasons. First, The Bluff Trail is not a designated off-leash area and is governed by Halifax By-Law A-700. Second, because The Bluff Trail is located in a protected wilderness area and dogs can harm vulnerable flora and fauna species. Finally, because dogs can be injured by porcupine, coyote, and other animals in the area.
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. Do not allow dogs to run at large.
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.
Although the Bluff Wilderness Hiking trail sits entirely within the boundaries of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, it remains subject to the Municipal By-Law A-700 Respecting Animals and Responsible Pet Ownership. According to By-Law A-700, since the Bluff Trail is not considered a “designated off leash area”, rules about dogs “running at large” will apply. Similarly, the requirement for dog owners to immediately remove defecation also applies. For off leash recreation use designated off-leash park 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 between the parking lot and the Bluff Trail. 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. Some dog owners may prefer to bury dog waste in “cat holes” 15-25 cm deep and at least 50 metres away from any trail, or water source. Plastic bags should not be buried with dog waste.
Because of the growing number of users on the trail, it is important that dog feces be collected immediately and buried or 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 and 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 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.