Animal Control Officer Krista Amatuzio gives a written warning to a woman who let her dog run off leash at Whistler Park in May. The officers use their discretion when deciding if they should write a ticket or a warning.

Photo by Scott Franz

Animal Control Officer Krista Amatuzio gives a written warning to a woman who let her dog run off leash at Whistler Park in May. The officers use their discretion when deciding if they should write a ticket or a warning.

Dog group eyes third off-leash park in Steamboat Springs

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— Dog advocates in Steamboat Springs are hoping to secure a third off-leash area for their canines inside the city limits.

But before the new off-leash area at Whistler Park goes beyond the conceptual phase, the city wants to hear from residents about the idea.

Steamboat Digs Dogs spokeswoman Kathy Connell acknowledged Tuesday some neighbors have expressed concerns about parking if the park is utilized more during the winter.

The city does not plow the small parking lot near the park, and some neighbors have concerns about more cars parking on nearby streets, Connell said.

Connell said the dog advocates are looking into the potential of the city plowing an area that could accommodate more cars.

The additional parking would be key, she said.

Steamboat Digs Dogs wants the city to sanction a pilot program that would allow dogs to be off leash during certain times in the city-owned portion of the park.

Under the proposal, dogs would be allowed off leash from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through April.

The time limits would aim to prevent conflicts with wildlife.

Connell said dog owners already regularly walk their dogs off leash on trails in Whistler Park.

In the past, some dog owners have attempted to evade animal control officers enforcing leash laws by taking their dogs on side trails off city property.

An off-leash area at Whistler would be the city’s third off-leash dog area; others are Rita Valentine Park and Spring Creek Pond.

The proposal will be discussed at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday during a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting in Citizens Hall.

Revisions to the city’s animal code have made it possible for commissioners to recommend new off-leash areas to City Council.

Any changes to existing leash laws in parks would have to be endorsed by the city’s elected officials.

Also on Wednesday, the Parks and Recreation Commission will invite the public to weigh in on proposed dog-related improvements to Rita Valentine Park.

A new conceptual plan for Rita Valentine recently put together by Steamboat Digs Dogs includes new fenced areas for dogs, the planting of cottonwood trees for shade, new waste receptacles, additional trails, a shaded structure and new benches atop “Mutt Mountain.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Comments

Cresean Sterne 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Please no Cottonwoods.. Yes, they can be great for shade but if anyone has had to deal with these nightmare trees then you know what I am talking about. We have three and they are like sappy superglue to your dogs fur and especially paws.. Will then leave a permanent stain if tracked onto ones carpet or car seats.. In fact, I think it is illegal now for gaedening suppliers to sell them for planting. Any other tree then a cottonwood.. :(

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Martha D Young 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Then there's the option of leaving R.V. Park as it is, but maybe increasing the parking area. People who use that park exercise their dogs. They hang out with their dogs. They are not there to sit on a bench. People congregate in the area near the parking cul-de-sac because that's what they choose to do. Others venture out on the many trails. Please, let R.V. Park continue to be natural open space.

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