Pets in the Park

Enjoying Five Rivers Metro Parks with your pets

By Jessie Sullivan

Photo: Shane Sullivan of Kettering walks Newman [left] and Slaw [right]


14 DaytonCityPaper.comMay 12-18, 2015greenFrom hiking with your dog to rid-ing your horse on the bridle trails, Five Riv-ers MetroParks has many options for en-joying nature with your four-legged family members.Riders can explore more than 28 miles of bridle trails available at several Me-troParks, including Carriage Hill, Engle-wood, Possum Creek, Sugarcreek and Twin Creek MetroParks. All bridle trails are des-ignated for horses and their riders only. “For safety, we ask that horse riders stay on the horse trails and people stay on the trails marked for hiking and walking,” says Katherine Berg, Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center manager. “We hope that rid-ers will practice safe riding practices while out on the trails, and we encourage riders to contact the rangers if they witness any unsafe activities.” Horseback riding is a great way to ex-plore the outdoors and discover what each park offers. “MetroParks provides many great oppor-tunities for horse riders,” says avid horse rider Deborah Retman of Clayton. “All the bridle trails have their own charm, so be sure to try them all to find your favorite. Engle-wood and Carriage Hill have great trails for an easier ride, but my husband and I es-pecially enjoy riding at Twin Creek when the weather is warm because we like the many water crossings.” Five Rivers MetroParks also oers nu-merous hiking trails that allow people to unwind. But nature doesn’t just benefit people — dogs love nature, too.Hiking is great exercise for both dogs and people, but a hiking trail isn’t your average walk around the block. To ensure their safe-ty, make sure you and your dog are up to the task. De-pending on your experience and the physical fitness of your dog, you can set out on a casual stroll or take your dog on a backpacking trip. “If you’re looking for a bit of an adventure, go to Twin Creek MetroPark and hike either the orange or yellow loop,” Angie Sheldon, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation program coordi-nator, suggests. “Hiking up and down the hilly terrain is a great way to get exercise for both you and your dog or to train for longer back-packing adventures.” Other trails are great if you’re in the mood for a shorter hike or a casual stroll. Molly Merrill of Kettering enjoys taking her two dogs to the Adirondack Trail at Hills & Dales MetroPark. “Te park is close to my house, and there is convenient parking right o the trail at the Paw Paw shelter,” she says. “Te trail is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing, and it’s an easy enough hike that I can bring both my dogs and my kids.” When you take your pets to the park, it’s campsites, but all of the same rules apply. Visit to apply for a camping permit. Hiking isn’t the only activity you can enjoy with your dog. Biking and kayaking can be great fun, too. Biking with your dog takes some practice, but if you’ve mastered your dog troing alongside you, there are more than 300 miles of recreation trails to en-joy in the Miami Val-ley. You also can take your dog kayaking or canoeing at Eastwood MetroPark or along the beautiful creeks and rivers. Even if your dog is a great swimmer, be prepared and have him or her wear a lifejacket.In addition to every-day, pet-friendly fun, the Midwest Outdoor Experience is an out-door recreation festi-val for your family and your pups. On the first weekend of every October at Eastwood MetroPark, visitors can get active with their dogs in the Zuke’s Bark Zone, join the Ru Run 5K, and let their dogs run free at the o-leash Subaru Pooch Island dog park and swim area. For more information, visit For more about Five Rivers MetroParks, visit important to follow the rules for visiting Five Rivers MetroParks as well as appropri-ate etiquee. You may be asking:Are my dogs allowed at any Me-troPark?No, dogs are not permied on the grounds of Cox Arboretum, Wegerzyn Gar-dens, Aullwood Garden or the farm com-plexes at Carriage Hill and Possum Creek MetroParks. Pets are also not permied in play equipment areas, water features or fountains in any park. Pets are permied in all other MetroParks. My dogs like their free-dom. Are there any Me-troParks where they run of leash?No, dogs need to remain on an 8-foot leash and under control at all times. Leashes keep your dog safe from wildlife and natural hazards, protect other criers and vegetation in the parks, and allow everyone to enjoy the trails — espe-cially those who may not be comfortable around dogs.If my dog poops in the woods and no one is around to see it, does it still ex-ist? Yes, and you should pick it up! Dogs are not wild animals, and their waste is not part of nature. Dog waste may spread harmful parasites and bacteria into water sources, so carry it out of the park in a plastic bag-gie or pack a trowel and bury the waste at least 200 feet from trails, camps or water supplies. Can I take my dog camping?Yes, dogs are permied at all MetroPark

Reach DCP freelance writer Jessie Sullivan at

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