HIKING -- A reader who frequently hikes out of the Painted Rocks trailhead along the Little Spokane River just emailed and said he was surprised last week to see two new signs indicating that dogs are not allowed on the trails.
"This absolutely shocked me," he said. "I’m not a dog owner, but it seems that barring dogs from state recreational areas is going a bit too far. Yes, they probably do crap along the way, but so do the abundance of coyotes in the area.
On the otherhand, he added, "I’m sure that they may harass some wild animals too if given the chance. So could easily see (Riverside State Park) not wanting dogs in nesting areas.
Then he asks: "Is this something completely new?
The rule prohibiting dogs dates back to the original designation of the Little Spokane River as a natural area. The rule was mentioned in my original late 1980s version of the guidebook, "100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest."
I have a friend who took her Lab into the area against the rules 10 years ago and paid dearly for it: rattlesnake bite. Dog survived.
I think the original rule had a lot to do with the now defunct heron rookery. I love dogs, but it's reasonable for some areas to be dog-free.