Does it tick you off when you find people walking their dog on Devil’s Lake’s groomed ski trails? That’s the discussion going on right now on the Fans of Devil’s Lake State Park Facebook page when a regular park user posted pictures of people doing just that! Of course, it’s not really a dog problem. The pups don’t know that there is a rule. It’s really a people problem.
The clash between skiers and dog walkers on Steinke Basin was inevitable. There has been a clash between skiers and hikers for years. Once Steinke Basin became an unofficial and often off-leash dog park, then pets (and pet leavings…) entered into the mix. As I said before, it’s not the pups fault, it just makes it more complex.
There are rules. Maybe 10-20 years ago people followed (or enforced) them. A lot has changed in 20 years! Thing is with each new generation, with each first time visitor and an annual growth in overall park users, it becomes more important than ever that we communicate and educate. Visibility and consistency by park authorities to maintain groomed trails and inform park users on site will be required to keep hikers (and their pets…) off of the ski trails. Years of bad habits will take time to correct. We won’t minimize the problem until ALL trail users realize someone is paying attention. This doesn’t mean fines necessarily, it just means contact, communication and education.
So for what’s it’s worth.. DON’T hike on groomed ski trails and DON’T let your dog off-leash on any hiking trails.
– I’m sure that just solved the problem!! 🙂
Disclaimer: And of course, my crazy opinions are my own and often caused by too many hours of isolation in the deep dark woods. My posts certainly don’t represent the opinions of the Wisconsin DNR or any other group, organization or book club.