[Fosc] dog fight

Quan, Jean JQuan at oaklandnet.com
Tue Jul 8 14:10:44 PDT 2008

Talked to Kent several times this month, he's the head ranger.  He's
ticketed and warned quite a few including professional dog walkers.  I've
invited him to comment.

From: fosc-bounces at lists.sausalcreek.org
[mailto:fosc-bounces at lists.sausalcreek.org] On Behalf Of Karen Paulsell
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:40 AM
To: FOSC at lists.sausalcreek.org
Subject: Re: [Fosc] dog fight
Another problem with off-leash dogs in Dimond Canyon is the soil erosion and
destruction of understory that occurs when they're off the trails.  In
particular, there are 2 spots where they take shortcuts from the trails to
the creek: near the lower end of Sam's Trail, where it approaches the creek,
and from the Bridgeview switchbacks to the creek. The bare strip below Sam's
Trail is fairly small, but the problem at the Bridgeview switchbacks is
large, and growing. A few years ago, a fence was constructed across the
worst area, but the dogs have detoured around it, so the problem area
continues to grow (and the fence has been vandalized.) As this area erodes,
it will begin to destroy the trail as well.  I believe that the large bare
spot next to the Bridgeview switchbacks may be caused by dogs also --
perhaps with a person lobbing tennis balls down the slope. 

True, most of what's being along the Bridgeview Trail and Sam's Trail is
ivy, but a lot of our outplants at El Centro have also been trashed by dogs,
and some of the bare spots leading down to the creek are also dog-related.
In 2002, almost all the oak understory plantings installed near the El
Centro trailhead was destroyed by dogs chasing the squirrels who were
feasting on the seeds of the cover-crop grass. We built a temporary fence,
and planted prickly plants along the trail edge as a deterrent; the fence
experienced a lot of vandalism, but we did partially succeed in creating a
barrier planting. But dog impacts on our plants continue, particularly in
spots providing access to the creek. 

In the Joaquin Miller Working Group meetings, I've often raised the issue of
off-leash dogs, and the lack of enforcement in both Joaquin Miller and
Dimond Canyon Parks. One of the rangers told me that the last time he gave a
dog walking ticket, the ticketed person complained to Jerry Brown -- who
then personally chewed out the ranger, and he'd issued no tickets since
then. Another ranger told me recently that he normally only warns people,
but occasionally does give tickets. So, it's not a high priority. (Though
certainly, they could easily pay a ranger's salary for a month on dog
ticketing alone!)

The Bridgeview Trail is very popular with the hired dog-walkers, and I've
often seen people with many many dogs. At the last JM Working Group meeting,
there was a discussion of EBRPD's policy anyone walking more than 3 dogs is
required to have a permit; with a permit, the number of dogs-per-person is
limited to 6. Since these people are using public space for income-producing
activities, the fee seems justified. There was support from the group; the
person (Gail McMillon) who manages reservations and permitting for Oakland
Park uses said she will look into it. 

Back when Sue Morgan's education program was in action, dogs created
numerous problems for her group -- kids being muddied or knocked over, badly
scared, not to mention stepping in the poop. I'm sure all school groups and
families in Dimond Canyon have this issue.

All that dog poop and piss is, I'm sure, adding a lot of nitrogen to the
creek. The dogs romp in the creek, stirring up silt and mucking up trout
habitat. Their presence in a large part of the park also impacts other
wildlife (I've seen a study on the impacts of dogs on the presence of birds
in an area, for example.)

Dogs-on-leash signs are destroyed, defaced or ignored, the bike patrol has
no enforcement power so people act contrite or ignorant with very little
change in behavior, fences are only temporarily effective and have been

I'm afraid that only thing that could to really reduce off-leash dog use is
enforcement -- ticketing; I think the tickets are about $200 now. Even if
preceded by increased signage and a ranger giving warnings before
enforcement starts, there will be a lot of angry dog owners if this happens.
If FOSC requests such enforcement, a lot of the anger will spill over onto
us.  Tough call. 

At 09:12 AM 7/8/2008, mjrauz at aol.com wrote:

Some thoughts I had are- Signs are in place and they are defaced and some
were torn down and thrown away by the public. Some dog walkers don't want to
travel up hill to the dog park. El Centro trail is narrower than EBPD fire
trails so dogs walk by each other and sometimes trouble starts. As Brent
mentioned, some people will have excuses for off-leashing it, and the same
is probably the case for picking up poop. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Laurel Kunit <laurelnk at gmail.com>
To: Brent <englund at aol.com>
Cc: Vaughan <baysidebob at sbcglobal.net>; FOSC at lists.sausalcreek.org;
mjrauz at aol.com
Sent: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 8:07 am
Subject: Re: [Fosc] dog fight

I too think that clear, official signage at the trailheads (in both Dimond
Canyon Park and Joaquin Miller Park) would go a long way toward reducing
this problem.  Many people do not understand that these "natural" parks are
indeed part of the City of Oakland park system, and that city leash laws
apply.  People often think that these parks are part of the East Bay
Regional Park system, which allows dogs off-leash on the trails.  Signs
could possibly even direct dog owners to the nearest legal off-leash area.
-Laurie Kunit

On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 12:04 AM, Brent <englund at aol.com> wrote:
I don't think it's a problem of lazy OPD. I saw a ranger on Bridgeview
trail two weeks ago week, walking from Monterey down to Bridgeview Rd.
He says he does the hike a couple times a month. I talked with the same
ranger at Red Boys Pizza last Wednesday night. Â The Oakland Bike Patrol
(who are OPD volunteers) ride through the canyon weekly - 150+ hours in
Dimond and JMP so far this year. Looking through the OBP ride logs and
off leash dogs are reported on almost every ride. Almost without
exception, folks site that there are no signs and they didn't realize
Dimond is a leashed park. There is no sign at the Benevides trail head,
and poor signs at Monterey and Bridgeview. (One women told me the other
day that the sign on Bridgeview said "please" so it was just a
suggestions - go figure :-( .) We would do well to try and increase the
signage and volunteer patrols. For the most part we can expect little
help from an over burdened police department struggling to put officers
on the streets, much less patrol the canyon.

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