“Pickup truck spotted in Truckee with no dog and no gun in the gun rack. Police are investigating.” ~ Herb Caen, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for over 50 years

Dogs have long been a part of Truckee’s history. From their use in early modes of transportation to personal protection, moving livestock, avalanche search and rescue, entertainment, and simple companionship, dogs have proven their worth to the community.

DOG SLED teams were used in the 1800s to transport visitors from Bridge Street to Lake Tahoe and other scenic areas. Photo courtesy Donner-Truckee Historical Society

In the late 1800s, just outside the Whitney Hotel (today’s Truckee Hotel) on Bridge Street, dogsleds would be waiting to take visitors to Lake Tahoe or other surrounding areas. Travel was difficult during the winter months. Dogsleds were used to cross over the deep snowdrifts outside of town. Then, in the early 1900s, movie crews would come up here since we did not plow our roads and they needed footage of winter scenes. They would come up by train and stay at our hotels where dogs were always welcome.

Today, Truckee is a mountain town that has become a transitional community where we have large fluctuations of people staying in and near the town. Our year-round population has also increased significantly over the last 30 years, and with it came a parallel rise in numbers of our canine counterparts. Land managers worry about the wildlife interface and the impact your dog may have on the environment. And no one wants to see dog waste along a trail or in a park.

Off-leash rules for dogs vary by area. Dogs are allowed off-leash on most Truckee roads if they are on strict voice and visual command. At the Truckee River Regional Park, dogs may be off-leash from Nov. 1 through April 30. From May 1 through Oct. 31, dogs must be leashed at all times in all areas of the park.

Donner Memorial State Park is one of the most pet-friendly state parks in California. There, dogs are allowed on fire roads, along trails, and in the area known as East Beach within the day-use area on the eastern shore of Donner Lake.

The Legacy Trail currently (i.e. winter) allows dogs off-leash if they, again, are on strict voice and visual command, while from spring to fall all dogs must be on-leash. Private facilities will have their own set of regulations. The responsibility is on the dog owners to know the rules of the areas they want to share with their dog.

Dogs in Truckee must have a current rabies vaccine and be licensed. If you want your dog off-leash they need extra training. Truckee Animal Services and the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe are great resources for information and offer free microchipping. These two organizations are tightly connected and reside in the same building here in Truckee.

Truckee is a dog-friendly town if:

Your dog is leashed or you have trained your dog on voice and visual command so they can be off-leash in certain areas. This means real training. We have wildlife, and when you tell your dog to come now, that doesn’t mean 3 minutes from now.

You pick up after your dog, and when you see the dog bag stations take one or two bags — not the roll. Please dispose of the bag appropriately.

You make sure your dog knows where home is. We lose so many dogs because they are confused.

Truckee offers a wide range of services to keep your pet healthy and happy, including excellent veterinarians, doggy play, grooming, boarding, pet stores, training, etc. We love our dogs, so let’s abide by the rules so we can continue the history of letting our dogs enjoy the great outdoors.

~ Judy DePuy is a member of Truckee-Donner Historical Society who also sits on the board for the Truckee Donner Railroad Society and Museum of Truckee History. She resides in Tahoe Donner with her husband Dave and their dog Morticia.


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