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Science & NatureNatureReminder from MVCA: Leashed dogs benefit all visitors

Reminder from MVCA: Leashed dogs benefit all visitors

Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) is pleased to welcome responsible pet owners and their dogs to all of our conservation areas. As per the Conservation Authorities Act R. R. O. 1990, Regulation 100, Section 10. (2)., dogs are required to be kept on leash at conservation areas unless there is a designated off-leash section. There are many important reasons why this regulation is in place and we hope that by breaking them down, cooperation and compliance will increase.

Respect for others: People often visit conservation areas to reap the physical and mental health benefits of stepping into nature. Dogs off-leash can hinder that experience. Some people may be allergic to dogs or have fears due to past trauma. As well-behaved as your dog may be, there’s no telling how they will react to strangers. An over-excited dog may knock someone off balance, unintentionally hurting them.

Other dogs and wildlife: Some dogs are afraid of other dogs and don’t react well when approached. An off-leash dog could wander into another animal’s territory provoking a fight. A leash prevents them from engaging with predators like porcupines, bears, coyotes, skunks, etc. It can also reduce the risk of your pet coming into contact with ticks while hiking in high tick areas.

Conservation and protection: Your best friend can become nature’s enemy if allowed to run free. Dogs that leave trails can destroy the homes of ground-nesting birds, create stress on small mammals, destroy plants and could transfer invasive species.

Keeping your dog on a leash and cleaning up after it will ensure a pleasurable experience for all visitors. Additionally, all site users are asked to keep the following in mind:

  • Respect all the rules, stay on marked trails and do not climb or otherwise bypass fencing, for your own safety and the environmental health of the areas
  • Stay on marked trail routes. There are many rare and sensitive plants and small animals that could easily be damaged or hurt if you leave the trails
  • Share the trails with other users
  • No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trails
  • Park only in designated parking areas
  • Alcohol is not permitted at any time
  • Pack out what you pack in. Please leave our natural areas clean
  • Protect and avoid disturbing local wildlife
  • MVCA Conservation Areas and trail systems are open from dawn to dusk
  • Trails can be closed at certain times of year depending on conditions such as ice or mud. Be sure to check the alerts online for possible closures or service disruptions.

MVCA was established in 1968 by area municipalities to protect and manage shared watershed resources for mutual benefit. Today, MVCA is governed by a Board consisting of 17 members appointed by area municipalities, and delivers services in accordance with the Conservation Authorities Act. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.




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