Crum Woods Leash Policy

Crum Woods. For many of us who live, teach, and work near Crum Creek, the woods hold special significance and meaning. Their 200-plus acres of land provide one of the last habitats in central Delaware County for countless wildlife and plant species and a tranquil network of walking paths for community members to explore and enjoy. In addition to the pleasure it gives its inhabitants and visitors, Crum Woods is also an invaluable outdoor classroom and laboratory for the students and faculty of Swarthmore College. 

The members of the Swarthmore College Crum Woods Stewardship Committee are committed to protecting and preserving this wonderful natural habitat. It is for that reason that we are concerned about the growing instances of unleashed dogs in the woods.

Swarthmore College and the Scott Arboretum welcome the presence of dogs and their owners on the established paths in Crum Woods, as long as they adhere to College and Borough policies and regulations. These policies state that all dogs must be leashed at all times and must be under the control of and in close proximity to the caretaker. They also state that caretakers must promptly and properly dispose of pet waste.

Off-leash dogs in the woods can create serious problems. They can make visitors of Crum Woods uncomfortable, whether they have allergies to or a fear of dogs. Even the friendliest dog can seem intimidating if it is unleashed and approaching quickly. For many, the desired experience of enjoying and exploring Crum Woods does not include unexpected encounters with our four-legged friends. 

If left unattended and unleashed, dogs can also pose a detrimental effect on the ecosystem of the woods. Crum Woods serves as a living laboratory for the College’s students and faculty. The labs and independent research projects they conduct in the Crum Woods often involve research on animal behavior. Yet off-leash dogs can compromise these endeavors.

Stewardship can take many forms. Scott Arboretum staff and volunteers work in the woods every month, year-round, to complete trail maintenance and prune and remove invasive species. Annual events such as the Crum Creek Clean Up, TreeVitalize® tree planting, and the First-Year Student Tree Planting also help keep the woods clear of litter and reforest areas where invasive species have been removed. 

Crum Woods may seem large and resilient to the effects of a single person’s actions, but with many people and many dogs traversing the same 3.5 miles of trails every day for many years, the resulting effects quickly become apparent. We are all stewards of the land, so let us all care for the precious reserve that is the Crum.