CLIFTON PARK: Off the leash, but in control

Clifton Park has dropped the leash but tightened rules for users of Kinns Road Park.

Peter Gonczlik, of the Friends of Kinns Road Park, and town Animal Control Officer Don Baker unveiled some findings in a months-long pilot program in the park at the Tuesday, Nov. 13, meeting of the town board.

A few months ago, Gonczlik and Baker put a survey regarding the town's parks and other recreational activities on the town's Web site. That was, I believe, the first ever survey of park users in Clifton Park, said Gonczlik.

There were 1,500 respondents, he said.

Gonczlik found that park users fell into about eight different groups " pet owners, runners, hikers, etc. " and that park use times had peaks and valleys much like traffic patterns would.

He found that park usage was highest before 9 a.m., dropped off between noon and 3 p.m. and picked back up from 3 p.m. until dusk.

They also found that not all park users were from Clifton Park.

"We're finding people come from as far away as Albany, Schenectady, Scotia, Glenville and Halfmoon to our parks," said Gonczlik.

Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said park visitors may be coming for other reasons and stopping at the park.

"Glenville folks come here to shop a lot," he said, "so it doesn't surprise me that they'd use the park."

The survey was also used to track animal complaints in Kinns Road Park, a park that does not require visitors to have their dogs leashed like the town's other parks.

During the pilot program, said Baker, the town only received three complaints about unleashed animals. Only one resulted in a ticket being issued.

Despite the low number of complaints, Baker said he feels the Web site is the best forum for complaints due to the anonymity it affords.

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