Country Road Take Me Home

Perhaps you are planning a few jaunts out to the countryside or mountainous regions this summer. Both provide great opportunities to explore new walks! Here are a few tips about walking with dogs in the country that I learned when I moved here 3 years ago.

You know the song that goes "this land is my land, this land is your land..." well, that's not really true in a lot of rural areas. We have to walk almost a mile on gravel until we get to a chip-sealed road. 

 It is over a mile after that until we see anything paved. In my community, the gravel parts are private roads. The county doesn't maintain them and this is because they are technically just easements through someone's property. 

I'm no lawyer, but an easement is usually there for property owners and their guests to have legal ingress and egress to their land. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that when you're strolling down a country lane there is a chance you are walking on a private road that is actually just someone's property. Unlike a public road, maintained by the county or city, it is probably maintained by the property owners and they probably consider it 'their road'. You may see signs along the road that indicate private property, or you may not. 

Shortly after moving here, I made the mistake of stopping to pick blackberries along the side of a private road and was quickly informed by the owner of that property that I was stealing her berries! Not a great way to meet the neighbors! I'm not trying to discourage you, but it is important to know for the following reasons:
  1. Just because you are out in the country does not mean you can get away with leaving dog poop - no matter how tall the grass is! This may be someone's personal property and just like people in the city or suburbs, most people don't like encountering a stranger's dog poop on their property.
  2. Keep your dog leashed and on the road. Again, this ties back to the fact that a lot of these roads can be private and therefore it could be awkward and potentially even dangerous to let your dog wander. Stay on the road and all should be well.
  3. Another reason to keep your precious pup leashed is that it is not uncommon for dogs to be left to freely wander the countryside all day long. The other day, I encountered 4 off-leash dogs just wandering the gravel roads (together). Although you can't prevent stray dogs from approaching you, if you keep your dog leashed you can change course more quickly and prevent your dog from approaching the furry friends (some of whom aren't friendly) that seem to have free reign.
There are a lot of great reasons to get out and explore the back roads of the countryside. The scenery is great, you encounter different flora and fauna, you see all sorts of neat wild animals and you can enjoy the peace of relatively quiet roads. I hope you get out and enjoy some summer adventures! Do you have any tips for walking with your dog in the country? If so, please share!


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