Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, is seeing an increase in visitors to its Erickson Fields Preserve, at 164 West St. in Rockport, and is changing its policy regarding dogs and leashes to ensure the health and safety of everyone who visits the Preserve.

The 1.4-mile trail that loops through field and forest was designed to be an easy walking trail wide enough to accommodate groups. MCHT staff regularly see families with young children, running groups, and dog walkers on the trail year-round. The trails help meet the community’s need for outdoor recreation, especially during this time when the CDC recommends gathering outdoors to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, there have recently been reported instances of unfriendly dogs off-leash, so MCHT is changing its policy and are now requiring dogs to be leashed at all times. Keeping pets leashed will also help ensure safe social distancing recommended by the CDC.

Erickson Fields and other Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves remain open for safe use. Up-to-date information including guidelines for safely getting outside are available on MCHT’s website at mcht.org/covid-19-update.