Cyclists invading off-leash dog trail near Olympic Park
June 3, 2015
At a recent Summit County Council meeting, Snyderville Basin Trails Department Manager Bob Radke said that he is "disappointed in the bike community right now."
Radke’s comments were part of a conversation between council members and a resident who had an encounter with a cyclist at the county’s only off-leash dog trail, Run-A-Muk. Located at the base of Olympic Park, the Run-A-Muk Trail is a two-mile stretch of trails and fenced-in open space for dogs to run around unleashed. The 43-acre area can be accessed from Olympic Parkway or from the Millennium Trail, to the north of Bear Cub Drive.
The woman’s dog collided with the cyclist, who then claimed the dog attacked him and was not under voice or sight command. The woman was ultimately issued a citation for not having her dog under control, but Radke said she is planning to appeal it.
"We talk about the importance of whoever is on the trails looking out for one another, but I think bikes should be restricted from that area," Radke said in an interview with The Park Record.
The incident is the only reported encounter Radke has been made aware of, but he said "there are a couple of people who feel like the mountain bikers just kind of ride through without yielding the right of way."
There is signage at Run-A-Muk identifying the trail and area as off-leash. However, none of the signs specifically give the right-of-way to dogs.
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Radke attributed some of the bicycle traffic to trail users who are utilizing Run-A-Muk as a connector to the Mid-Mountain and Millennium Trails. The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District is in the process of building another connection because of the potential for more encounters.
Construction is slated to begin soon on a paved trail that will go through the open space near the Park City Tech Center to provide a "viable trail connection and will lead to another direct route," that is slated to be finished in July, Radke said.
"After listening to what people say, I think they have a legitimate request to be able to go somewhere and walk your dog off-leash and not have to worry about bicyclists," Radke said. "I’ve heard that people don’t think bicycles and dogs off-leash mix well and I think we should look into providing another area where people can ride with their dogs."
Animal Control Director Brian Bellamy said he was under the impression the trail was designed for both dogs and bikers.
"But I don’t think anyone thought it would be used as a pass-through for people zipping through on their bikes," Bellamy said. "If you are going to an off-leash dog area on your bike, you have to know there are off-leash dogs there and they are running around."
People want to bike with their dogs and these encounters aren’t only taking place at Run-A-Muk, Bellamy said.
In addition to creating a trail connection to deter some of the bike traffic, Bellamy said increased signage and education could also help reduce conflicts.
"We’re already working to solve this problem so hopefully it does not become an ongoing issue," he said. "But I think even with the more dog parks we get, we’re still going to have some hiccups and we all need to respect each other because this is new to us."
Run-A-Muk was established as the county’s first off-leash dog trail in November 2014. Bellamy said this is the first incident associated with the park.
"Let’s hope it’s the first and the last," he said. "This is the first area where we’ve ever had bikes and dogs together and unfortunately, we had a situation."