Take It Out or Leave It Out

The green spaces of Lantzville are attracting visitors from all over. Numerous trails make these green areas so accessible and seem to extol the ambience of Mother Nature. But we need to be very careful to assure that our use of these spaces does not harm or alter the values we come to enjoy.

Spring is a particularly beautiful time when splashes of colour draw our attention along the trails, to the sides of trails and beyond. There’s maples and dogwoods, salmon berries and broom. But, also with growing frequency, there are colours from other sources. There are whites, and browns, black, purple, and aquamarine. These can be found on the trail, beside the trails, and worst of all, hanging up in the blackberry bushes. These are small plastic bags with a little knot at the top. It takes no imagination at all to realize they contain doggie poops. But why?

I totally support rules that require people to pick up after their dogs’ messes in city parks. In fact, these parks often help by having dispensers for bags, and also, they have trash cans for disposal of the bagged wastes. A recently developed trail along the E&N tracks has baggie dispensers, and trash cans at either end. Here it is really important for people to pick up after their dogs. Otherwise it would become an obstacle course to avoid the doggie deposits. But notice the important part: take the wastes with you. Deposit them in trash cans or take them home to dispose.

I can understand why people transfer these good environmental practices to the trails of Lantzville. Doggie poops on the trails can be a real eyesore and annoyance.

But have these people observed that the amounts of poops on the trails are much fewer than you might surmise, given the number of dogs using those trails? Mother Nature has a way of getting rid of the faecal matter. In some cases it is removed by slugs or by insects. Rain dissolves them and they assimilate into the soil. So why put the poops in a bag? That just delays the rate of composting the poops. And why leave these messy plastic bags to advertise the fact your dog has pooped here.

Visitors, please notice there are no trash cans at the beginning of most of our trails. So I understand you don’t have a convenient place to leave them. So if you feel compelled to bag the wastes, please also feel compelled to remove them to your residence. Otherwise, don’t scoop them into a bad and dump them right there on the trail that you supposedly are trying to keep clean. If you feel compelled to do something, sweep the poops off the trail with a stick or a clump of bush or grass.

If you don’t want to remove your dogs’ wastes, then don’t bag them.


Posted in A View from the Outside, June 2015

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