Guidance for Dog Walkers
Dogs are allowed on all of our properties on-leash. Dogs are allowed off-leash, maximum 2 dogs per handler, on all of our 45 trailed nature preserves with the exception of three preserves: Trout Brook Valley (please see note below), the Newman Poses preserve in Westport, and the north half of the Stonebridge Waterfowl preserve in Weston. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the south side of Stonebridge. We restricted dogs to leashes on the north side of Stonebridge because dogs were chasing nesting ducks and other waterfowl. With regards to Newman Poses, there is significant ground nesting bird habitat on this nature preserve and the town of Westport and the CT DEEP recommended that dogs be leashed.
At the completion of the 2012 Wildlife Study conducted in Trout Brook Valley, new trail use policies were created to protect and preserve the abundant but fragile wildlife diversity that exists. These new policies affect the existing 21-mile trail system at TBV used by hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog walkers, birders, and others who enjoy the preserve. With the exception of the Crow Hill section's Blue/White trail, dogs must now be leashed at all times throughout the TBV preserve.
Off-leash dog walking (maximum 2 dogs per handler) is allowed only on a two-mile trail loop in the Crow Hill section of TBV accessible by four public parking areas in Easton. This trail is indicated by Blue/White trail markers. Elsewhere in TBV dogs are required to be leashed and always under their owner's control and to remain on designated trails.
Why should you leash your dog?
- When dogs swim in vernal pools and wetlands in springtime they destroy the hatching egg masses of salamanders and frogs. This problem is compounded after numerous dogs do the same thing on a hot weekend. If the eggs dont hatch, we have a reduced salamander and frog population and the interconnected web of life suffers.
- Off-leash dogs, intentionally or not, disrupt habitat, trample wildflowers and saplings, and drive off, stress and kill animals, birds and their young.
- Ground nesting birds can be chased from their nests by free-running dogs either on purpose or inadvertently. If it happens often, the birds wont return to the nest and reproduction cycles are interrupted, reducing wildlife.
- Off leash dogs jump on children and others. They can also bite visitors and other dogs. This has happened numerous times on our property.
- Scoop your poop. Dog poop is a source of Nonpoint pollution and its gross to step in. The fecal coliform bacteria found in dog poop may wash into our streams and wetlands. Failure to pick up dog waste in the Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area may result in a $50 fine from the town of Weston.
- Failure to keep your dog leashed in the leash only area of the Trout Brook Valley Conservation area in Weston will result in expulsion from property by the Trout Brook Valley Ranger and/or a $75 fine from the town of Weston.
Aspetuck Land Trust does not prohibit dogs in any of our preserves. We are unique among Land Trusts and conservation groups, many of which either prohibit dogs or require them to be on leashes. We hope you enjoy your walk in the woods with your dog. Dog walking on conserved lands is both a joy and a privilege. To maintain this privilege we ask all dog owners to control their pets at all times. Please follow these rules:
- Dogs must stay on trails so as not to disturb flora and fauna habitat (also helps to lessen ticks).
- Owner must remove dog waste from trails (bring a baggie).
- Dogs need to be next to owner and under voice and sight control at all times.
- Dogs must yield to horses.
- Dogs must not jump on other hikers especially children.
- Dogs must not run into neighboring properties.
- Biking with off leash dogs is not permitted.
Some of our members enjoy walking their dogs at the following preserves: Haskins Preserve in Westport; Poindexter Preserve in Easton; Honey Hill, Elisabeth Moore, Taylor Woods & Tall Pines Preserves in Weston; and Harwood Preserve and Brett Woods in Fairfield (Town-owned).
Please read the Stamford Advocate article on dogs in North Mianus Park.
For an interesting video on voice & site control policies in Boulder, Colorado, please click here.
Other Local Land Trusts:
Centennial Watershed State Forest (Aquarion Water Company, CT DEEP and The Nature Conservancy)
Includes Saugatuck and Aspetuck Trails, the Reeve Biggers Trail, Firehouse Trail and sections of the Little River North Trail
Pets are not allowed in Centennial Watershed State Forest
Connecticut Audubon Society
Pets are not allowed on Audubon properties.
Lucius Pond Ordway/ Devils Den & Katharine Ordway Preserves (The Nature Conservancy)
203-226-4991 (press 4 for visitor information)
Pets are not allowed on these Nature Conservancy preserves.
Pinchbeck Trail (Redding Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy)
TNC: 203-226-4991 (press 4 for visitor information)
Redding Conservation: 203-938-2185
Pets are not allowed.
Redding Land Trust
Town of Redding
Dogs and other pets are permitted on open space land, provided that they are under the control of their owners and/or keepers at all times. [§306-5]
However, dogs must now be leashed in areas where the public congregates in Topstone Park. See the new Leash Ordinance on the Town website.
Wilton Land Conservation Trust