Judith Travis: Elk, dogs don’t mix
January 19, 2011
An elk herd of 30 to 40 animals inhabits my yard on Anglers Drive. They bed on small porches, dragging young racks across the glass and siding. I have lived in the same location since 1984, and the elk have never before used my yard as winter grounds.
Across the street, Rita Valentine Park in its entirety was voted by City Council to be used as a dog park. The Colorado Division of Wildlife recommendation at those fall meetings was to initiate a winter closure at the park for the elk. Council ignored that recommendation and voted to open Rita Valentine Park and the area around the first pond on Spring Creek Trail to loose dogs on voice and sight control, with the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department conducting an education program.
Unfortunately, there are not adequate poop stations at Rita Valentine Park, and it takes only small amounts of toxic dog feces until water is polluted and the park is unsuitable for anyone to use other than dogs. A dog park in Steamboat, like dog parks everywhere, should be a confined space and not in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
Steamboat Springs voters have repeatedly expressed their desire to preserve our open space. Open space should have a broader usage and be more carefully maintained and managed.
For weeks, I have sent photographs and daily reports to the DOW, City Council, Parks and Recreation Department and city government requesting that someone in authority come look at what, in my opinion, is happening in my yard as a result of dogs running loose in Rita Valentine Park. Elk don't distinguish those dogs and their scent from wolves.