Ever since it opened to the public in October 2020, the Granby Land Trust’s Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve has been, well, wildly popular with Granby residents, as well as with visitors from out of town, and even from out of state.
As its very name indicates, this property is dedicated to the preservation of wild plants and animals, some of which are quite rare in Granby. Consequently, certain rules are in place to make it possible for people to enjoy visiting Dismal Brook without intruding unduly on the wildlife or on one another. One of these rules concerns the presence of dogs. Visitors are welcome to bring along their pets, provided these are kept on leash at all times. This is essential for the following reasons:
• While it welcomes visitors, Dismal Brook is still private property. Like any other property owner, the Granby Land Trust is entitled to set the rules that visitors must observe. I would not let my dogs run loose on your property without your permission, and the same goes for the Granby Land Trust’s various properties.
• Not everyone likes dogs, and some people are, to a greater or lesser degree, afraid of them. Common courtesy dictates therefore that your dog be kept leashed.
• Not all dogs like other dogs; a leashed dog is especially likely to respond with fear or anger in the presence of an unleashed dog.
• There are wild animals in Dismal Brook that can pose a serious hazard to free-roaming dogs. They include black bears, coyotes, and porcupines. A she-bear with cubs or a coyote with pups in a nearby den may react aggressively towards a dog running free in their proximity. A dog encountering a porcupine and receiving a muzzle-full of quills will put up a howl of pain you’ll not soon forget.
• Finally, there is a reason that is not intuitively obvious. No matter how well-trained and gentle your dog may be, it can unintentionally bring harm, even death, to ground-nesting birds such as wood thrushes, ovenbirds, and woodcocks. This is the result of something biologists refer to as “scent-vectored predation.” This is just a fancy way of saying that your very polite dog can trot over to a nest, sniff around and depart, leaving the nest seemingly unharmed—except for the scent trail it creates that will guide a fox, coyote, skunk, weasel, or raccoon straight to the nest, with lethal results. Over the years, I have been gratified by the positive response of visitors to whom I have explained this subtle danger to wildlife that even a friendly dog can represent.
The leash rule is clearly posted on Granby Land Trust properties open to the public, including not only Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve, but the Godard, Seth and Lucy Holcombe, and Katon-Ensor Preserves, as well as the Mary Edwards Property. Please observe it during your visit to our properties. Your fellow visitors and the wildlife will thank you.