NO DOGS ALLOWED.
For dog lovers, those words posted in parks and recreation areas or along hiking and biking trails ruin the fun of outdoor recreation. Keeping your four-footed friend on a leash is one thing.
Not being allowed to bring him or her along to share a brisk hike or a mountain-park picnic is a shame.
Cheer up. Not only are there parks in Northern Nevada and Northern California where dogs can run free, there are recreation areas, beaches, and trails that welcome your pets. You dont
have to guess which places accommodate them; Several books can guide you.
Reno resident Sherril Steele-Carlin wrote A Bark in the Park (Cruden Bay, $12.95) a couple years ago when she learned the publisher didnt have a
Reno-area book in its series about best places to walk dogs. She didnt have a dog at the time, but had owned dogs and had friends who were dog lovers. She remembered her favorite places for walking her pets, so she started by picking the best
of the places she knew to write about, then went on the road to check out even more.
It was really fun, she said. Some favorite places we had to leave out because you cant take dogs even on leashes.
Pets play a much more important role in our
lives and people acknowledge that role more. I think more things will be created
to cater specifically to people who own dogs. I would like to see more venues
for cat owners, too. I think that will probably happen.
A Bark in the Park lists
Steele-Carlins 40 best places in Northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area
where dog lovers can take their pets, from the off-leash dog park at Rancho
San Rafael Park in northwest Reno (her No. 1 dog-friendly place in the Renoarea)
to the Virginia City cemeteries walking paths.
Steele-Carlin explains the restrictions at each place, its dog friendliness and traffic, location, and any bonuses, such as festivals at downtown Renos Idlewild Park and the
migratory bird habitat at Washoe Lake State Park. In the second half of the book, she lists 40 more hiking areas and parks that allow dogs. Theres a list of parks where dogs areunwelcome. Shes thankful
the list is relatively short.
Steele-Carlin also details specific dog parks and dog beaches, neat things to look for on hikes, dog-related special events in the area, as well as a couple of top 10 lists.
The Dog Lovers Guide to Lake Tahoe revised edition (Timbercreek Publishing, $11.95), by Susie Denison covers lodging, hiking, and ski trails,
fishing spots and mountain biking areas that welcome dogs from Truckee to South Lake Tahoe. Theres even a mention of restaurants that, while they wont welcome your dog indoors at tableside, will let diners dogs lounge under an
outside table or a nearby play area. Some even offer free doggie treats.
Denison lists doggie services available in the area from pet shops to veterinarians, kennels, and dog sitters. She fills out the illustrated book with information on wilderness and other
permits and licenses, area dog laws, and even some poetry about our canine friends.
Thom Gabrukiewicz started looking for dog-friendly trails in Northern California after his dog, Scully, cut her pads on rough terrain while hiking. When he had to carry the 50-pound Australian Shepherd/chow mix eight miles
on top of his pack, he knew it was time to research the best trails for dogs.
The result, Best Hikes with Dogs Bay Area and Beyond (The Mountaineer Books, $16.95).
With illustrations and maps, Gabrukiewicz
lists 75 trails that welcome dogs from the Mount Shasta area to the San Francisco
Bay and east to Sacramento and Californias Gold Country. For each trail,
he lists round-trip mileage and hiking time, elevation, water availability,
pertinent maps, and telephone numbers, along withdirections
For all three books, check local bookstores (such as Sundance at 1155 W. Fourth St., Ste. 106, 786-1188) or online services such as amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.
Susan Skorupa is a feature writer for the Reno Gazette-Journal covering
local arts and literature.