Photo: Rock Meadow Conservation land
It’s spring. You and your canine have been cooped up for … how long? The temperature outside is going up and the sun is warm. With all of Belmont’s parks closed, the destination of choice for Fido and you to go for a romp has become town conservation land including Rock Meadow and Lone Tree Hill. For many owners, it’s been the first chance to allow their pets to stretch their four legs for a month.
And that’s been a problem in the eyes of the town official who manage the land and who see after residents’ health. Off-leash dogs have become a nuisance for several reasons as their owners are congregating along the trails during this time of social distancing.
And they are now putting their collective feet down. In coordination with the Belmont Conservation Commission, Belmont Board of Health, Belmont Police and Belmont Animal Control, the town is placing all visitors at Rock Meadow and Lone Tree Hill Conservation Land and Trails on notice that there are expectations of responsible behavior throughout the properties.
“We are all a part of this community and we are asking for everyone’s help and cooperation so we can keep our treasured trails open and safe for everyone,” read the notice released this week.
First and foremost, DOGS MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES. Off-Leash dogs are not permitted in Belmont. Going forward, this bylaw will be strictly enforced with fines issued with a fine up to $500.
Then there is the issue of DOG WASTE. Officials remind owners to pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s waste and anything else you bring with you. If there is no trash barrel or if the barrel is full, please take it home. Do not leave bagged waste on the property. You can be fined up to $500 if you don’t pick up after your poochie.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE IF YOU ARE SICK. Rules relating to self-isolation for those who might be sick with the coronavirus applies even when in the great outdoors.
Relating to the previous statement, MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING; keep you and your dog at least 6-feet away from other trail users and do not cluster in groups as that may prevent others from getting around you outside a safe six-foot distance.
And lastly, IF A PARKING AREA IS CROWDED, SO ARE THE TRAILS. Residents should visit another Conservation area if the parking lot is full or come back at a time when it is less crowded. Do not park in front of Conservation Land gates or along Mill Street. This will be monitored by Belmont Police.
“Once again, WE are all part of this community and we are asking for everyone’s help! If you see a walker violating these rules, please kindly remind them,” read the email.