This is a popular low-traffic route for pedestrians and cyclists to access the Intercity commercial district and so it seems reasonable to try and separate this traffic from the off-leash dogs in the park.
However, on one occasion when I followed the directions on the sign, while walking through the park, I was joined by an aggressive dog who didn't read the sign. This dog's owner/master/human companion was on the other side of the fence. As the human became concerned and began to raise his voice while trying to call the dog, the dog perceived me as a greater threat. I was lucky that the dog didn't bite, but it did nip, bark and growl as I walked, as calmly as possible, to the end of the fence where the snarling beast was reunited with its human.
As I continued on my walk, it occurred to me that the dog owner and all of the other dog walkers are themselves "pedestrians." Why don't all the humans walk on that side of the fence. Because that would be ridiculous, right?!
The fence is ridiculous! I can't believe that the city payed good money to build this thing.
If anyone asks why I now always walk on the "Dog" side of the fence (I still cycle on the other side during the summer) I am prepared to introduce them to my invisible (and possibly imaginary) dog, Harvey. If they get to walk on the "Dog" side of the fence then so do I. Otherwise all dogs should be required to pass a reading and comprehension test before entering the park.
Now that the snow is melting, a smelly dog-poop-soup is beginning to form. Irresponsible people who don't pick up after their dogs (yes, even if your dog does their business well off the main path you are still responsible for picking it up dummy) ruin it for everybody.
I like the idea of dog-parks. I think that everyone benefits from urban dogs that are well socialized and that play well with others: humans and assorted four-legged creatures. But I do have some ambivalent feelings about the city providing these types of parks. A large proportion of people, especially in Thunder Bay, drive to work, drive to shop, drive or are driven to school, drive to church; and now a growing number of people drive somewhere to take their dogs for a walk. This is happening at the same time that people are worried about the safety of their urban neighbourhoods and many families that can afford it, move to the suburbs and exurbs to avoid the perceived dangers of "the city." (Never mind, that a longer commute exposes your family to a much a greater danger of death or life changing trauma, compared to personal dangers related to crime - but that's another story.) It would be beneficial for people to walk with their dogs, in their neighbourhoods. This type of activity and 'eyes on the street' have proven to be key components of safe vibrant communities. Plus they wouldn't be taking up space on the road or in the drive-thru at the donut shop on their way to the dog park. This would benefit every driver who actually needs to get somewhere.