I was disappointed to learn of the new on-leash policy for dogs in Noanet Woodlands.
I was disappointed to learn of the new on-leash policy for dogs in Noanet Woodlands. This 595-acre Trustees of the Reservation property in Dover is enjoyed by many, including dog lovers. My home borders the property, and since 1993 my family has enjoyed walking our dogs in this beautiful woodlands. I frequently see friends and their dogs on the property as well as many out-of-town visitors. Mutual respect and friendly greetings between dog walkers and others is a frequent occurrence, and in 25 years I have never witnessed an issue.
The Trustees new on-leash policy was instituted without input from the involved community or membership. No one from the town leadership, except the police chief, was informed of the decision, and no input was received from the residents of Dover, or the town’s Selectmen. The unilateral actions exhibited by the Trustees, and D.A. Hayden, general manager for the Trustees of the Reservations in the Charles River region, demonstrate a complete lack of transparency and insensitivity to the codependency between Dover residents and Noanet Woodlands.
It is a shame that off-leash opportunities for dog owners continue to shrink. Noanet Woodlands is a large property, and certainly a more creative solution could be envisioned. For example, all property east of the ponds could be open to off-leash dog walkers, while all access points and all property west of the ponds could maintain an on-leash policy. Visitors would then have access to both on- and off-leash dog walking opportunities. Crane Beach in Ipswich, managed by the Trustees, has just such a policy. Off-leash dogs are allowed on one area of the beach, and on-leash dogs on the other. Why not in Noanet Woodlands? How about weekends are on-leash when the woodlands are more crowded and off-leash during weekdays? Does there have to be an all-or-nothing solution? Unfortunately, the new rules apply not only to walkers but also bikers, equestrians and skiers, and unless attached to a leash their furry friends will be left at home.
As a Trustee member, dog lover and frequent visitor to Trustee properties, I hope this policy can be revisited. I would urge our Selectmen to meet with the Trustees to revisit this policy and receive appropriate input from the involved community to arrive at a more creative and fair solution.
David A. Cottrell, DMD