Roger Marolt
Columnist
Snowmass Village, CO Colorado

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May 29, 2012
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Roger Marolt: Let's turn Snowmass into a dog park this summer

Let's turn Snowmass into a dog park this summer

Roger Marolt

This week, the top 10 reasons why Snowmass Village should close for the summer:

10. Because nobody would notice.

Uhhm, I didn't really think this through. On one hand, there really aren't any other reasons to shut this place down during the most beautiful time of the year. On the other, this single reason is more than sufficient. Sure we have the rodeo and free summer concert series on Fanny Hill, but the rodeo isn't actually in Snowmass Village, so the operator is the only local business that makes any money off that, and the Thursday night concerts only convince people that our town is an excellent bus stop.

Alright then, let's talk about something else besides Wednesday and Thursday evenings here, like ... Oh, how about why we hate dogs. That's a gross generalization, of course. Not everybody here hates dogs, only the people who make the rules.

The most unfriendly canine law in town is that we can't have fences around our yards and so our best friends have to be tethered to plastic coated cables secured to our porches. I really don't understand the purpose of this rule. It is supposed to be so that elk and other migratory animals like Monarch butterflies may use our backyards to get from highly regulated point A to overly restricted point B to find food and give birth without being pestered by dogs, save for coyotes which, since they are all natural and presumably organic creatures, are still allowed to stalk elk and deer in vicious packs without fear of receiving a citation.

But, my own dog hooked to a rope on my front porch is quit vocal about passing elk and, quite frankly, irritates the crap out of all other living creatures, including humans, within earshot, which I estimate at a radius of about five miles, so that I haven't observed even the slightest trace of an elk in my neighborhood since at least the time when town officials discovered that all beer at the Thursday night concerts was dangerous except the $5 warm ones they sell inside.

The other rule is not as restrictive, but it is far more confusing, so it is even worse than outlawing fences. Can anybody actually tell me where and when it is OK to take a dog for a walk in this town? I mean, on this trail it is always OK and on this one it is never alright to take a dog. This trail is closed on Sept. 21 and opens on June 20. This other trail closes sometime in December and partially opens in May. This trail is fine for dogs, but only before 10 in the morning. It has gotten to the point where it is more difficult to figure out how to walk your dog legally than it is to water your lawn without the risk of a fine.

I think it's time that we stop treating dogs like they are guests at the Viceroy who can't even walk to a local restaurant from their rooms, but who can, at least, arrange for a shuttle ride. Life in Snowmass Village, while easy for an elk, can be a bit of a bummer for dogs and visitors.

What we need to do in the way of reparation for this long-standing wrong is to create a designated dog area in Snowmass Village where our pets, and Viceroy guests, are free to run and roam leash-less in a land undotted with small green plastic bags with crime scene hands chalked on them.

There is a small semi-wild hill directly above Town Park where no one ever goes and nothing ever happens except for the very occasional lightening strike. The views are great and parking in the rodeo lot is convenient. A fence around it could be easily constructed along with a hiking trail winding up to the top. There, an observation deck can be built for humans to kill time on while their dogs run, explore, and excrete freely below. Bring your own beer! It could be the greatest dog park in the world; a full-time summer attraction for Snowmass Village - no rules, not restrictions. Cats welcome!


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The Aspen Times Updated May 29, 2012 04:39PM Published May 29, 2012 04:38PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.