Is Your Dog a B.A.R.K. Ranger?

Cross Country Ski Area, Trails

By Christina Thayer

As Tahoe Donner’s year round Trail Manager, I have the good fortune to talk to people who are out enjoying the incredible outdoor opportunities available within the Association.  I love hearing about their adventures, athletic pursuits, or sheer gratitude for having access to this incredible corner of Truckee.  I hear it all, including the comments and feedback from our community.  One of the most frequent comments I hear is, “Truckee is so pet-friendly!”  This pet-friendly culture and the access to our local trail system is often the reason given for why people move to the area.  There is no denying that we’re crazy for our pets!

And while we love animals, they come with responsibility and awareness for those who share the trails.  Tahoe Donner provides a multi-user trail system, which translates to mean we share! No one user group, including pet owners, is without guidelines necessary to participate in collaborative care of our trails.

Tahoe Donner is not alone in its attempts to keep the pet-friendly vibe.  The National Park Service recently introduced a new program called B.A.R.K Rangers.  It’s a simple way for dog owners to foster responsible pet ownership within a shared experience with non-pet owners.

B- Bag your dog’s poop and DISPOSE OF IT.  Take it with you.  Plan ahead to carry it out.

A- Always have a leash with you and leash your pet in areas where the rules indicate to do so.  Don’t leave your dog unattended.                

R- Respect wildlife.  Don’t let your pet bark, harass or chase wildlife.

K- Know the rules and where you can go.  Check websites, social media, and official guidelines for an area.  Stay informed and prepare ahead of time by bringing a leash, poop bags, and obey signage.  “Poaching” areas designated as no-dogs allowed or dog-on-leash only zones creates a feeling of disrespectful pet ownership and may jeopardize access for all dogs.

Though this new program isn’t widespread yet, we’d like to help spread the word and foster a sense of pride in Tahoe Donner’s shared trail system.  Through education and responsible dog-ownership we can create a culture of personal ethics, caring, and sharing.  Have your dog become a B.A.R.K. Ranger today!