Hemlock Ravine Park off-leash dog friendly trail

Hemlock Ravine Park: We Broke the Rules Again. And We Didn’t Even Mean to This Time.

We were looking forward to our first dogventure at Hemlock Ravine Park.  This park is a Bedford institution, and we had heard there were off-leash areas. Plus, the weather last Sunday was nothing short of incredible. 

Hemlock Ravine Park off-leash dog friendly trailHemlock Ravine Park off-leash dog friendly trail

At first, we were pretty impressed. The park is big and picturesque. The crushed gravel trails wind their way around the wooded ravines. And after about fifteen minutes of walking, we were greeted by one of our favourite sights:

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Awesome. Dallas spent the next twenty minutes bounding through the woods in a state of pure doggy bliss.

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… And then we came to the end of the supposed off-leash area. On one side of the sign, we saw the usual “You are leaving a dogs off leash area”.  And on the other side, we saw this:

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Huh? The off-leash area is only an off-leash area during certain times of the day (9 to 11am and 5 to 8pm)? We looked at our watches. 2pm. The horror! Unbeknownst to us, we had just put Dallas at risk of being immediately seized and destroyed!

A few comments about the time restriction.

1. If you’re going to have time restrictions, it’s probably a good idea to put a sign at every entrance to the off-leash zone. And maybe also add this information to the park map at the entrance. We had no idea about the rule until we reached the end of the trail. (Using the below map as a reference, the off-leash trail is the red one, called Governor’s Loop. We started at the “top” end and finished at the “bottom” end.)

In the meantime, if you want to disobey the rules and plead ignorance, now you know what to do.  But I have a duty to advise you that ignorance of the law is not a defence.

2. My second thought is, why? Why restrict off-leash usage to certain times of day? You might be thinking, well that seems fair because gives everyone a chance to use the trail..!

I would have to disagree. This is a big park. There are lots of trails. If being around dogs being dogs is not your thing, it would be easy to avoid that area.

Or pick a trail that is even easier to avoid as the off-leash zone, but make it off-leash all day.

While we enjoyed our afternoon at Hemlock Ravine Park, we probably won’t be back… And maybe that’s just what they intended.

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Here’s to #fetchfriday, the glorious weekend ahead, and exactly two weeks until Christmas!

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