Friday, December 10, 2004

A do for dog owners

ERC installs dog waste disposal bin

Express Staff Writer

The Environmental Resource Center recently installed a dog waste disposal bin at Adams Gulch.

To combat the accumulation of canine waste at Wood River Valley trailheads, the Environmental Resource Center recently installed a dog waste bin at the Adam's Gulch trailhead in Ketchum. The silver trashcan provides a place for dog owners to dispose of their dog's waste.

"Concerned citizens came into our office on a fairly consistent basis noticing the amount of dog waste that was piling up at the trailheads," Ben Mckay, program director at the Environmental Resource Center, said.

At many of valley trailheads the biodegradable plastic bags are available for pet owners to clean up after their dogs. Until recently, dog owners lacked a convenient place to dispose of the bags and as a result dog waste noticeably accumulated on valley trails.

"From most people's perspectives (dog waste) is an aesthetic thing, but there are definitely ecological considerations like E-coli and parasites that live in all dog waste," Mckay stated. "In the spring (the bacteria) runs into the soil and the rivers, polluting our water. When everything melts, six months of waste gets washed away."

The collection bin aims to prevent the large quantities of waste that accumulate over the winter and trickle into the ground and water.

"We are protecting our water. It's really about water quality," Mckay remarked.

The pilot project at the Adam's Gulch parking lot tests the viability of the bins for other area trailheads. If the project is successful, the organization plans to install bins at Trail Creek, Carbonate and Quigley Canyon.

Since the installation of the bins, responsible dog owners are using the well-marked containers. Currently, the ERC empties the bins. In the future the group hopes to find volunteers willing to adopt and empty bins.

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