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Dogs must be on leash regulation

Maryann Gaug

I am writing in reply to the Steve and Myriah Blair letter protesting that dogs must be on leash regulation for Willow Creek Trail.

First, the trailhead and first part of the trail are within Silverthorne Town limits. Dogs must be on leash in Silverthorne, including the trail. I double checked with Silverthorne police.

Both south and north trails go from Silverthorne onto county property called Willow Creek Open Space. Both trails then enter the Eagles Nest Wilderness area. Wilderness area regulations have for many years required that dogs must be on leash. Wilderness rangers do write warnings and tickets for dogs off leash in the wilderness area.

In order to be consistent along the length of the trails among the three jurisdictions, it therefore makes sense for the county to also require dogs to be on leash on the open space. This wording is already in the management plan for Willow Creek Open Space.

The Willow Creek trailhead bulletin board, installed June 2001, specifically states “Dogs must be controlled with a hand-held leash. This reduces conflicts with other visitors and harassment of wildlife.”

It is illegal in the state of Colorado for dogs to chase or harass any wildlife including chipmunks and squirrels per Tom Kroening, District Wildlife manager.

While it might be difficult to enforce, local dog owners are ignoring leash laws in both Silverthorne and in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. If the Blairs and other dog owners are self-policing, why are they breaking both town and federal laws by allowing their dogs off-leash?

I understand dogs need to run. There are other areas near Silverthorne, such as the first part of the Ptarmigan Trail, where the Forest Service uses the county leash law of under voice control and within 10 feet. Perhaps local dog owners should band together to create a doggie park in Silverthorne. Breaking existing laws is not the answer.

Dogs must be on leash regulation for Willow Creek Open Space to be consistent with the other two jurisdictions through which the trails pass.


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