Colorado State Parks experiment to allow dogs on trails yields mixed results

Trial phase of dogs using State Park trails finishes -- FOX21 News, Sarah Ferguson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two southern Colorado state parks allowed dogs on their trails on a temporary basis this summer. Cheyenne Mountain State Park and Mueller State Park both used a trial period from June 1 through the end of August to see how dog owners and the public reacted to the new rules.

While Cheyenne Mountain had a good response and will continue allowing dogs on trails, Mueller is saying no more.

“We wrote a couple of tickets, but those were mostly for dogs that were on the wrong trails, and we had very little impact to our wildlife, very little impact to other visitors on the trails,” said Jason Hagan, Park Ranger at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

After the successful trial phase at Cheyenne Mountain, dog owners can now take their pets on four trails: Acorn Alley, Bobcat Way, Raccoon Ridge and marked portions of Soaring Kestral.

According to Mueller State Park, their experience was much different during the trial phase.

“We had several violations of dogs off leash, dogs chasing wildlife, dogs outside of the designated area,” said John Geerdes, Park Manager at Mueller State Park.

Geerdes said while dogs will have to keep their paws off the trails, they are welcome in other areas.

“People are welcome to bring their dogs and have them in the campground, in the picnic areas, along paved roads, as long as they’re on a leash,” said Geerdes.

Both state parks warn visitors to always keep a close eye on their pets, as wildlife presence is significant.

“Even on the trails that we allow the dogs, they do still have to be on a leash. You still have to pick up after the dog,” said Hagan.

At both parks, owners must keep dogs on a handheld leash no longer than six feet and keep dogs from harassing wildlife or other people on the trail. If any of these rules are violated, pet owners could face a citation up to $50.

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