Friday, June 22, 2007

Forest Service cracking down on unleashed dogs

Agency revives enforcement in Adams Gulch


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

The carefree days when hikers with dogs could ignore the U.S. Forest Service's leash and pick-up-the-poop rules in Adams Gulch are over.

Enforcement has been resumed, including issuance of citations, according to Ketchum Ranger District ranger Kurt Nelson.

Dogs are required to be leashed within 200 feet of the Adams Gulch trailhead, located just north of Ketchum, west of state Highway 75. Nelson said the same rule also applies to the Boundary Campground area on Trail Creek Road northeast of Sun Valley.

Nelson said the revived enforcement is the result of increased complaints about unleashed dogs harassing other dogs and the accumulation of feces in trail areas leading out of the trailhead area. He said volunteers picked up 300 pounds of feces in one cleanup drive recently.

Possible fines are $75 for violating the leash law and $125 for ignoring the rule to pick up dog feces. Violators who want to protest a citation fine must appear in a federal magistrate court in Pocatello.

However, no enforcement has been indicated for feces dropped by horses using the trails and sheep grazing in the area.

Adams Gulch is one of the valley's most popular areas for hikers with dogs. Although signs have been posted for several years about the leash and feces rule, enforcement has been sporadic.

Feces disposal bags and large waste containers are provided at the trailhead, Nelson said.

He said the Forest Service and a number of volunteer groups, from organizations such as the Environmental Resource Center, Wood River Land Trust and the Blaine County Recreation District, are joining forces to launch an education campaign on the importance of leashing dogs and removing feces from public areas.




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