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Harassment on the city trails

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I need to get something off my chest. It has to do with the city of San Luis Obispo. Specifically, I believe, with the Parks and Recreation Department. Twice now when I've taken a hike on one of the many fantastic trails here I have been accosted by city representatives about my dog. This seems to be a recent thing. The first time was on the Bishop Peak trail. As I drove up, I noticed that some guy was taking pictures of people with their dogs standing by their cars. Then he walked up to us while we were still in our vehicle and did the same thing. I asked him what it was about and he told us that we'd better keep our dog on a leash. I asked who he was, and he just laughed and quickly walked away. An inquiry told me that he may have been a "SLO City Steward."

The second time was on one of the Irish Hills trails. I was at the end of one of them sitting on a bench enjoying the views when two guys with SLO City Ranger uniforms approached. One guy, the younger, seemed friendly enough, but the other, an older guy, was rude from the get-go. When they approached, my dog began to bark at him. He's a very friendly dog, but he could sense this guy's aggressive behavior. He told me to put my dog on a leash (I let him off sometimes to go to the bathroom). I looked for it in my backpack. I told him that I did have him on it, but when I didn't produce it immediately he piped up and said, "something tells me that your dog wasn't on a leash at all." Just then, I pulled it out of my pocket. The guy's demeanor was confrontational the whole time, telling me that we had to leave because the trail was closed. We did see signs on the way about the closure, but the one we were on was not closed. So we left.

A word of advice to the city: You seriously need to talk to your people about their hyper-officious PR, because if you're trying to piss people off with harassment and discourage them into not hiking you're going about it all right.

Ron Ray

San Luis Obispo

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