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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 22 - 28, 2002


Leash rules imposed at valley trailheads

Express Staff Writer

Leash and "pooper scooper" rules will soon be imposed at Adams Gulch and Lake Creek trailheads, north of Kethcum.

Dogs and their waste have created an "unacceptable situation" at both trailheads, prompting the Sawtooth National Forestís Ketchum Ranger District and the Shoshone Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management to take action.

The Ketchum Ranger District will enforce federal regulations that require pets to be on leashes and require that waste be picked up within the first 200 feet of a trailhead.

Signs explaining the regulations will be posted. Additional markers will be placed on trails 200 feet from the trailhead.

"It is our hope that the dogs will disperse and do their business over a wider area," Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said. "Dog waste may be left to deteriorate on the ground beyond the 200-foot trailhead boundary."

The new requirements will go into effect May 30 at Adams Gulch. The BLM will implement the same regulations "in the near future" at Lake Creek.

Biodegradable plastic bags will also be provided from a dispenser installed at the trailhead. Visitors will be asked to dispose of the bags and waste at home.

Nelson elaborated on the existing problem.

"Itís hard not to take a few steps without crossing over dog waste at the trailhead," he said. "In the summer, the smell of dog waste is undeniable as you enter the trailhead area.

"Weíve had folks asking us to address this issue, and I believe we have come up with a sensible solution that wonít preclude dog lovers from enjoying the Adams Gulch trails."

The new program at Adams Gulch and Lake Creek trailheads is the same as one that has been in effect for two years on the Blaine County Recreation Districtís North Valley Trails. Nordic skiers using the trails are provided bags and asked to dispose of them at home.

"Our first step is to provide information regarding these new regulations to people using these trailheads," Nelson said. "We hope that visitors who bring dogs to these trailheads will understand the need for and support the new regulations. If we are unsuccessful in obtaining the publicís cooperation, it will be necessary to step up enforcement addictions."

Enforcement could mean $100 fines, Nelson said.

Close to 25,000 people visit the Adams Gulch Trailhead each year, and the number of dogs may not be far below that, Nelson said.

"So far, everyone we have spoken with regarding this program has been very supportive," Nelson said. "Weíll try to educate individuals as to the need for enforcement of these regulations, and Iím confident that we will meet with success in our goal of providing a cleaner and better smelling trailhead."

Waste bags could cost $1,500 to $2,000 annually, Nelson said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.