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Topsail at sunset - with or without dogs (20 photos)

Still waters mirrored a dramatic sunset bathing the island in a magical golden glow

SooToday visited Topsail Island in Bellevue Park late in the day recently and had to share with our readers the breathtaking sunset we were lucky to witness.

Paving the trail around the island last summer seems to have increased foot and non-motorized traffic as even late in the day there were many dog walkers, cyclists, and a few people in wheelchairs using it.

All the dogs we saw were on leashes in accordance with city bylaws and we didn't spot any dog droppings so it appears dog-walkers are stopping to scoop. 

Topsail Island was eliminated as a possible location for an off-leash dog park in 2008, after a public outcry against the idea. The island has long been used by groups such as the Dragon Boat Festival and others for special events and, with only one point of egress, lends itself well to being gated for paid events, said opponents to its use as a dog park.

They reasoned that many people who don't have dogs use the island and don't want to share the space with dogs running off-leash. Now that it's paved and more accessible to people with mobility issues, there are likely to be more people on the island who don't want to share the space with dogs running off-leash.

Other arguments against Topsail Island as an off-leash dog park included the fact that it's an island and, therefore, surrounded by water and there could be some legal liability because of the risk of dogs drowning if they run in the water or out on the ice and fall through.

As a result, the city Parks and Recreation Committee (PRAC) recommended against ever considering the island as an off-leash dog park.

But, early in 2019, the committee decided to go against its earlier recommendation and put the park back on its list of possible locations for another park after city council directed staff to look at an east end and a west end location for a second park and mentioned Bellevue Park as a preferred location. 

In 2020, when PRAC made its recommendations to council, Topsail Island was not on the list of places the city might put a second off-leash dog park location.