Student designs doggy bag dispenser
The fine for neglecting to scoop up after Fido on his daily walks is $25 for the first offense, and $50 for the second another violation, and the issue is taken to court, according to Summit County Animal Control.
Insa Riepen, executive director for Recycle Utah, says it’s less a matter of kicking droppings off a trail, and more about keeping the community’s water clean. She reminds the public that water for the Park City area comes from the ground below, and not from reservoirs, as some might think. "It needs to be wrapped in plastic bags and buried in a landfill," she says.
But the bags could be reused bags from newspaper wraps or grocery store packaging and an Ecker Hill International Baccalaureate sixth grader, Bridger Clifford, has designed just the dispenser.
Black tubes housing plastic bags intended for pet droppings will soon be planted throughout the Park City area on posts next to trashcans. For now there are three on the Rail Trail thanks to Clifford.
Clifford, along with his father Jim Clifford, sawed 15 24-inch-long tubes out of black plastic ABS plumbing pipes in fulfillment of the school’s community project. This Saturday, in honor of Earth Day, and in celebration of the Mountain Trail Foundation’s "Hike Your Hound" event he planted three of his dispensers on the Rail Trail.
The idea, which was inspired by a program developed by members of the Davis, Calif. Community, is two fold: to encourage the community to help reuse plastic bags and to encourage more people to pick up after their dogs.
Clifford’s aunt, Mountain Trails Executive Director Carol Potter, suggested the bag dispensing idea to her nephew.
"A [Mountain Trials] board member had a picture from Davis, and I just thought, ‘oh, that’s the greatest idea," Potter recalls.
According to Potter, who frequents trails with her dog Roxy, poop on trails is becoming a "monster issue." It’s typical for trail clean up crews to spend a good portion of their day ridding trails of pet droppings, she explained.
"It’s getting to be a lot of dogs and a lot of poop," she says of the recent trail conditions throughout the Park City area.
Currently, Mountain Trails maintains "Mutt Mitt" stations, full of plastic mittens manufactured specifically for the pickup job, but keeping those dispensers stocked with mitts is costly, Potter notes, and they can only afford a few.
Potter is currently working with local municipalities and fellow trail organizations, including Basin Recreation, Park City Municipal Corporation, Summit County Friends of Animals and Summit County Animal Control to expand upon Clifford’s project.
While Jim Clifford and his son are shooting to eventually produce 30 bag dispensers, Potter says area organizations plan to make hundreds, and pepper stations nearly every mile at the beginning of a trail, where most pets tend to "do their business."
Bridger Clifford says he thinks the project is ‘cool’ and is going to help plant the rest of his dispensers, decorated with "Leash Your Dog" and "Pick Up Your Poop!" stickers he designed, before school ends to complete his 10 to 15 hours of community service for his school’s requirement.
Potter says she was impressed by her nephew’s enthusiasm.
"I’m just so proud of Bridger," she gushes. "His dad helped of course, but he jumped in and did a lot of the work. At that age, what I’m pleased about is we actually sent him a project he was inspired about and really, seriously, hands-on worked on and I think it’s a really positive addition to our trail system."
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