Monday’s City Council meeting explored the prospect of amending the management plan for the Montini Open Space Preserve, to allow leashed dogs on the narrow trail that winds from the west edge of the Vallejo State Historic Park to the First Street West border of the 98-acre property.
It’s an enticing prospect for dog lovers and, we have come to believe, a bad idea. The reason, ironically, has much in common with the prospect of a citywide ban on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers – an ordinance approved by a 3-2 council majority that night – and the question of where your rights cross mine.
There is no question that our canine companions need and deserve more open space in which to romp and range. Proponents of a dog-accessible preserve point to the new, 1,000-acre Taylor Mountain Regional Park in Santa Rosa, with four miles of trails, on all of which leashed dogs are allowed. Taylor Mountain, we have to assume, is home to at least as much wildlife per-acre as the Montini Preserve and apparently Regional Park authorities weren’t concerned with the impact of dogs on the integrity of habitat for undomesticated creatures.
Well and good.
But Taylor Mountain’s very size, and the extensive reach of its trail system, would appear to help minimize, distribute and absorb the presence of dogs in a way the 98 acres and minimal 1-mile trail of Montini can’t.