(UPDATE: Dog owners were hitting up other dog owners during soccer matches at Elm Bank on Saturday, May 17, to sign a petition against the No Dog Zone.)
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has put in place a dog ban — effective May 16 — in the garden and upper campus areas of Elm Bank Reservation, the park on the Wellesley/Dover/South Natick line that it calls home. Dogs will still be allowed in the area between the blue and red lines shown on this map, as well as on wooded trails.
MassHort leases the interior 36-acres of Elm Bank from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation. Total acreage of Elm Bank Reservation is 182 acres.
MassHort President Kathy Macdonald says the change to policy is being made to help protect the gardens and the many volunteers who work on them. “We’ve looked at other public gardens and you don’t see dogs all over the place… we decided that we needed a boundary,” she says. Walkers will still have 152 acres at Elm Bank where they can bring their dogs, and new signs have been installed along the roadway to help improve safety for those walking on it, she said.
Here’s the policy:
- *No Dogs are allowed in the gardens and upper campus of Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Elm Bank.
- The No Dog Zone includes the gardens, buildings, and the entire immediate area surrounding them.
- The No Dog Zone area is defined by the area enclosed by the iron fences and from the delivery access road behind the cottage to the crest of the sliding hill.
- Please follow the posted No Dog signs that define the No Dog Zone.
- This policy applies to all dogs with the exception of service dogs.
- To report any incidents, please contact the Mass Hort offices on the second floor of the Education Building.
The remaining DCR property, 146 acres of fields and woodland trails, welcomes dogs on leashes.
It remains to be seen, of course, how the heck this policy will be enforced. The dog leashing rules already in effect have never been enforced as far as we can tell.
But you can get your questions answered Monday, May 19 at Elm Bank during a Q&A session from 8:30-9:30am. Walkers and their dogs have been invited to meet in the Putnam Greenhouse parking lot for donuts, coffee, and biscuits. The DCR area director and ranger, and the Dover dog officer, will be there.