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Dogs On The Foreshore Trail


  • No dogs on the foreshore trail May 1-June 30 (prime breeding season)
  • No dogs on Christmas Island at any time year round
  • Dogs allowed on trail with a leash for the remainder of year July 1-April30

Why are dogs required to be on leash?

Welcome to Salmon Arm’s popular Foreshore Trail. We hope you enjoy your visit. There are a few things you should know that may improve your experience here.

History of the Foreshore Trail

The trail itself is owned and maintained by the City of Salmon Arm. All habitat on the lake side of the trail is owned by the Nature Trust of BC (NTBC), an organization dedicated to conserving BC’s biodiversity through securement, restoration and management of ecologically significant lands. The Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society (SABNES) is a charitable organization entrusted by NTBC to protect the habitat and its wildlife. As stewards of this precious wetland habitat, volunteers work hard to offset the significant disturbance that is a direct result of its presence within an urban setting. All funding for the maintenance and protection of the foreshore wetlands come from charitable resources, not tax dollars.

How We Can Work Together

Many dog walkers who visit nature reserves with their pets are unaware of the negative impacts on wildlife. Understanding those impacts will help you appreciate the existing rules which include staying on marked paths and keeping dogs on leads no more than 2 meters (6 feet) in length. 

  • Wildlife perceive dogs as predators, even when dogs are non-aggressive. The presence of dogs causes wildlife to move away, temporarily or permanently. Animals become less active during the day to avoid dog interactions. Furthermore, the scent of dogs repels wildlife and the effects remain days after the dogs are gone. Scientific studies have proven dog walking leads to a huge reduction in both biodiversity and overall population of wild animals. 
  • The presence of dogs causes a stress response in wildlife. Repeated stress causes long-term impacts including reduced reproduction and growth, suppressed immune system and increased vulnerability to disease and parasites. This is especially important during breeding season. Scientific evidence shows that people with dogs are much more stressful to wildlife than people alone. Off leash dogs are worse and off-trail impacts are worse still.
  • Loose dogs elicit flushing behaviour and can even kill wildlife. Even if an animal escapes from a dog attack, they waste large amounts of energy fleeing, often leaving them exhausted and vulnerable. Dogs off leash are also more likely to transmit diseases, one example being canine distemper, a deadly virus known to be responsible for the increased mortality of many wild species. Allowing dogs to chase wild animals is against the law. (See federal and provincial Wildlife Acts.) 
  • Dog waste pollutes water, transmitting harmful parasites and bacteria to people and to wildlife. Though 95% of dog owners claim they pick up after their dogs, research nationwide reveals the actual percent is less than 50%.

Over the course of a single day, the cumulative impact of dogs on the Foreshore Trail is significant. During the two most intense months of breeding season (May 1st to June 30th) dogs are banned completely for all the above reasons. Local biologists agree this two-month period should be much longer. In many natural areas of BC, conservation managers have banned dogs permanently. 

Unfortunately, we have seen a recent uptick in violations along with corresponding pressure to ban dogs from the Foreshore Trail permanently. As a result, you may see increased patrolling by bylaw officers and volunteers, in addition to video surveillance on NTBC property. 

Please keep your dog on a leash and stay on the main trail. Christmas Island and the boardwalk at the beaver pond (i.e. Eric Christmas Memorial Boardwalk) are off limits to dogs all year. All habitat on the lake side of the trail is legally protected and off-limits to pedestrians. Only volunteers who are conducting conservation work are allowed to venture off the trail. 

A walk along the Foreshore Trail can be a positive experience for nature lovers. It is our hope that dog owners will engage in environmentally respectful behaviours here. If you would prefer to let your dog run free, there are numerous trails throughout the city where that is permitted. Visit shuswaptrails.org to find dog free run trails. 

Thank you for your cooperation.