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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Trail use thoughts

  • Author: Meghan Johnson
    | Opinion
  • Updated: February 25
  • Published February 25

Tighter leash laws may not be the answer to co-recreation! I love dogs, have two myself and am often out and about recreating with them — biking, hiking or skiing — but mindful of my fellow recreators. Since COVID-19 began, I have experienced increased traffic on both city and Chugach mountain trails.

I appreciate folks’ desire to get outside and enjoy what Anchorage has to offer, as I do so daily. However, we might be stepping on each other a bit, and the new proposed increased leash law may not be our answer to a happy coexistence.

More bikes are on trails where there used to be only walkers/hikers and skiers. Bikes generally move faster, and this can startle dogs and people and cause both to react in ways that could be dangerous for all involved — physically and emotionally. I’m not sure exactly what the solution is, but feel that tighter leash laws are not the answer.

As a dog owner who has one dog that needs to be on-leash and one who is under voice command, I take extra time to find places for my one to safely run free, away from others, in enclosed areas. But all too often, I am walking with my dogs, on leash, where bikes often whiz by with no warning. Thank you to those who say “on left” or “on right.”

Instead of putting most of the eggs in one basket with more strict leash laws, could we find a way to each share the responsibility to keep us all — two-legged and four-legged — safe and happy to recreate together? This means we may all have to give and take a bit to coexist, such as paths for walk/hike or ski only, paved paths with leash laws but non-paved no-leash areas — but dogs under voice command — or directional-use trails, etc.

I have faith we can figure out how to coexist. I’m just not sure tightening up leash laws will solve the problem.

— Meghan Johnson


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