Park City considers Fido-free trails
July 29, 2016
Park City could declare some trails free from Fido.
Officials are continuing a long-running discussion about off-leash areas that could also result in City Hall setting aside places where dogs are not allowed. It would be part of a pledge made by leaders to consider prohibiting dogs in certain places as they declared a large swath of Round Valley and a portion of the field outside the Park City Library off-leash areas.
The idea of prohibiting dogs in some places did not garner the same publicity as the creation of the off-leash areas did, but a Park City panel on Tuesday is scheduled to discuss the matter. The Recreation Advisory Board, which has been involved in the talks related to leash policies, meets at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center.
There are 30 minutes set aside for a discussion about dog-related topics, including the prospects of creating what the agenda refers to as "dog free" trails. Other dog-related issues the Recreation Advisory Board is expected to discuss include signs and the ongoing collection of statistics.
Heinrich Deters, the trails and open space manager at City Hall, said staffers have discussed in broad terms potential locations for dog-free trails. He said three existing trails are seen as possibilities. Deters declined to identify them. He also said a dog-free trail could be built. He did not provide a location.
"We haven't vetted them fully," Deters said.
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He said the Park City Council wants dog-free trails identified or created by Sept. 1. Deters said a dog-free trail will not be created in the off-leash area in Round Valley nor will one be put in a location where there is a high concentration of dogs.
The declaration of Round Valley and the field outside the library as leash-free areas was a significant victory for pet owners who pressed for places to bring their dogs off leashes shortly after Summit County Animal Control increased enforcement of leash laws. During the talks about Round Valley and the library field, the City Council created a task force to study off-leash issues.
One of the topics the task force addressed was locations where dogs could be prohibited. The task force, though, did not make any recommendations regarding prohibited areas but signaled it wanted Park City to eventually identify a trail or area where dogs would not be allowed. The task force during one meeting mentioned ideas for areas where dogs could be prohibited, including playgrounds, places popular for sledding and unspecified places that are heavily used by others.
It is not clear what sort of reaction City Hall will receive once it identifies a location or several places where dogs could be prohibited, particularly in the months after the decisions about Round Valley and the library field. There could be resistance from dog owners if officials pursue a dog-free area in a location where people are accustomed to bringing their pets.