A quick comment on the cross-country skiing photo on the front page of Sunday’s Red Deer LIFE newspaper.
It was great to see skiers enjoying the excellent snow conditions at River Bend, but the dogs appear to be off leash in a city park that is clearly signed: “Dogs on Leash — Perimeter Trail Only.”
Members of the community and River Bend staff have been working together to bring River Bend Recreation Area back up to its mid 1990s glory days as a vibrant cross-country ski destination.
As skiers, it is our responsibility to follow the rules down at River Bend. At one time there were even signs at River Bend asking people to not walk on the River Bend trails when there was sufficient snow cover and that no dogs were allowed considering there is a off-leash dog walking park a short walk up river at Three Mile Bend.
Now walkers prevail, often with dogs, and often off leash as the photo clearly shows. As a result, the hours of trail grooming and track-setting done by River Bend staff and community volunteers is trampled by walkers, off-leash dogs and, in some cases, even careless skiers.
Here is a comparison that non-skiers might understand. You would not be happy if I walked over your curling ice sheet or your freshly flooded hockey rink with my gritty outdoor shoes, so please walk to the side of the ski track and keep your dogs on leash or better still take them to some other park. It is a respect thing.
A dart to the staff photographer who has published a photo that gives folks the impression that dogs off leash at River Bend is OK. Hopefully, one of Red Deer’s bylaw officers does not see this picture as the dog owners are clearly identified in the photo caption.