Dog ban may end on popular trail |

Dog ban may end on popular trail

A popular midvalley trail may be going to the dogs.The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board of directors will reconsider its ban on dogs on the Emma to Wingo Junction trail Thursday.”If everybody’s open to giving it a try, it could happen this year,” said Dale Will, executive director of the program.The open space board will hold a meeting at the old Emma school Thursday at 10 a.m. to reconsider the dog ban and discuss other issues.Dogs were banned two years ago because there was widespread disregard for the leash laws and courtesy. Some people let their canines run wild, and dogs harassed cows at Billy Grange’s ranch just outside of Basalt. They even harassed the rancher himself.Dogs were also seen harassing wildlife on open space in Emma managed by the Roaring Fork Conservancy in cooperation with the open space program.Dog owners also got in the dog house by failing to clean up their pets’ droppings and because some owners made no attempt to keep their pets out of the path of approaching cyclists.Will said one of the goals of the open space program is to help preserve the handful of remaining working ranches in Pitkin County. So officials felt it was important for them to avoid a situation where a new pedestrian trail added to the trials and tribulations of ranchers by allowing dogs.A ranger patrols the trails as well as county open space. A ticket for allowing a dog to run at large comes with a $100 fine.As more people discovered the trail and moved into the area, more questions came up about the policy that’s been in place for more than two years. “We’ve gotten a lot of calls about the dog ban,” said Barb D’Autrechy, coordinator for the open space program.Will said he was willing to revisit the policy because conditions have changed since it was enacted. A chain-link fence has been put up on both sides of the fence to keep dogs off private property.Even with that barrier, dogs must still be leashed and owners must pick up after their pets if the ban is lifted. “We need to know there’s going to be compliance,” said D’Autrechy.Trail users on both sides of the issue are invited to air their opinions at the open space board meeting. Advice will also be sought on whether the soft gravel surface of the Emma to Wingo Junction trail should be paved. D’Autrechy said she gets more calls on that issue than dogs as many want the trail paved.Use of the trail skyrocketed last year when the pedestrian bridge over Highway 82 was completed and the trail was no longer a dead end. The popularity is expected to increase once Eagle County completes a 1.1-mile downvalley extension from Emma to the Hook’s Bridge/Willits Lane area.That work will be completed this fall or next spring, according to Jacque Whitsitt, chairwoman of the MidValley Trails Committee.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User