Due large group size, we cannot accommodate free running dogs, or retractable leashes.
This includes retractable leashes with length locks, as we all know the locks can be removed at anytime, with owners arguing the correct length should be greater than 6 feet.
Many parks require a fixed 6 foot leash, and not a retractable leash with a lock for this very reason. The 6 foot rule is set by the park, not left to the dog owner’s discretion which is effectively no rule.
All dog owners so far have refused to use 6 foot fixed leashes 100% of the time and stay 6 feet from other hikers, instead advocating “dog freedom”. Or, agreeing to, but unleashing the dog soon after starting the hike.
I have seen hikers get tangled up in retractable leashes many times. Also, I slipped and almost fell to my death on a single track trail due to a free running dog when I stepped on the leash, with the owner nowhere in sight. This was after the owner had been told twice to keep the dog on a leash and hold the leash.
We are a hiker first, second and last group, and not a dog first group.
On narrow single track trails one misstep can mean death for a hiker.
So dogs are not allowed for hiker safety.
Forced into being the dog owner police is not an enjoyable hike for any hike leader. Hike leaders also want to have a fun stress free experience.