Despite this summer’s rash of late-night Pokémon Go robberies, in which players were targeted for their cellphones, the city’s nearly 150 miles of trails are pretty safe says Park and Recreation Community Program Coordinator Shana Hamilton.
So what’s the biggest issue? It’s not illegal cutting or people planting marijuana along the trail — something she’s heard about but “never had to deal with” — it’s much closer to home.
“The most common problem is dogs not being on a leash or people not picking up after their dogs. Especially during the summer.”
Increased activity during summer months means that a lot of first-time users or out-of-towners hike the trails without knowing all of the rules. Whether you believe them or not, Hamilton says some offenders claim they don’t know there is a city ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed. That, combined with the loose dogs that have become a major issue throughout the city, makes canines the top-priority problem along the pathways.
Beyond that Hamilton says she deals with basic rules and safety. The mobile game Pokémon Go, for example, has been a double-edged sword for the Park Department. While they encourage users to explore parks and trails using the app, it must be done thoughtfully, and never late at night.
“Just knowing the park curfew is important when you’re trying to be safe on the trails,” Hamilton says.
That’s why the department has been including the curfew hours — 11 p.m.-5 a.m. — as many places as possible, including social media posts. The department also partners with Dallas police to help enforce the curfew and keep crime on the trail to a minimum. Hamilton says officers regularly patrol some of the trails on bicycle.
See the very fun happytrailsdallas.com website for safety tips from local celebs and more.