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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Dog walking and camping now banned at Al Qudra Lakes

You won't even be able to feed the ducks anymore under a sweeping range of new rules

Warning signboards with illustrations of banned activities like bonfire, camping, barbecuing, fishing, and swimming at Al Qudra Lakes in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Warning signboards with illustrations of banned activities like bonfire, camping, barbecuing, fishing, and swimming at Al Qudra Lakes in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

One of Dubai's most popular dog walking and camping spots will no longer allow dogs or tents.

New signs have gone up at Al Qudra Lakes, warning visitors of a wide range of new rules intended to keep the area clean and improve safety.

The rules also now disallow bonfires, the entry of vehicles, and feeding animals; feeding the ducks is a popular activity in the area.

People who violate the new rules would face fines.

Al Qudra had been the subject of recent social media debate, after concerns grew over the cleanliness of the area, and the rising number of motorists using the cycle tracks.

The cluster of man-made lakes is located within the Al Marmoum Conservation Reserve, and is a popular spot for residents on the weekend and public holidays. The area is usually humming with dog walkers, campers, cyclists and families.

Dubai resident, and keen cyclist, Emma Woodcock welcomed the new rules.

Ms Woodcock was a frequent visitor to Al Qudra, and was among those who had been growing increasingly concerned of the numbers of vehicles using the area alongside cyclists, and the "tides of plastic and trash" left behind after especially busy weekends.

Her women's cycling group, made up of over 850 members, had frequented the Al Qudra cycling track for years.

"There has been an increasing number of messages from girls who have been really frightened for their safety over the last few weeks," she said.

She hoped this would lead to heightened awareness of the cycle path that surrounds the lakes, to reduce the number of four-wheel-drives racing down it at night.

"We all fear that someone will be killed otherwise. I'm hopeful that this will form the start of an education process along the lines of 'take only photos and leave only footprints' that is seen elsewhere in the world; it would be a great start to reducing the amount of trash in the desert," she said.

"I really don't understand how people can go somewhere to enjoy its beauty and serenity and the next day leave it strewn with rubbish and plastic. I'm happy that the conservation area can go back to being a peaceful haven for the oryx, gazelles and other wildlife."

Only a couple of months ago, The National named the area as one of our best picnic spots in the UAE. While you can seemingly still picnic at Al Qudra, you'll need to ensure you bring food that does not need to be cooked - as barbecuing and cooking food is now banned too.

The full list of new rules include:

- Hunting

- Bonfires

- Camping

- Dog walking

- Swimming

- Cutting or removing plants

- Entry of vehicles or motorcycles

- Barbecuing and cooking

- Feeding the animals

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Read more:

Find your happy place: Where UAE residents go in the Emirates to lift their spirits

Guide: how to plan the perfect picnic in the UAE

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