How many pounds of poop?!
September 13, 2006
Dear Editor:In her recent letter to the editor, Maggie Dorrough raised some important questions about dog poop in public places. She wondered who is responsible for picking up the dog poop left in bags along the trail system, specifically on Smuggler Mountain. There is a very simple and straight-forward answer to her query … It is every dog owner’s responsibility to pick up and dispose of their pet’s poop. Poop-filled bags should not be left along the trail for someone else pick up.Not only is this good trail etiquette, it is required by the trail and park rules of both Pitkin County and City of Aspen. Trash cans with bag dispensers are located at parks, trailheads and along trails throughout Aspen and Pitkin County. Dog owners need to have poop bags with them at all times so they can pick up after their furry friends. Dog poop left on the ground degrades the health and beauty of our public spaces. Additionally, it can get into the watershed, end up on your shoe or worse, and let’s be honest, it makes the trail smell like … well, poop!We often hear dog owners state that dog poop is biodegradable and is better left on the ground to be absorbed by the environment. This might be true if our canines were native animals and there were not so many out with their owners hiking and running and pooping along our trails. Take Smuggler Mountain Road, for example. Every week, Pitkin County workers remove an average of 60 pounds of dog poop from the receptacle at the bottom of the road. If another 30 pounds of dog poop is left along the trail each week (a very conservative estimate), that gives us a total of 90 pounds of dog poop dropped on Smuggler each week. That’s over 2 tons in a year! That is far too much dog poop to be left to biodegrade in this arid, alpine climate.The trails and parks of Aspen and Pitkin County are a wonderful place to exercise your dog. Be a courteous member of the community and a responsible dog owner by picking up after your pet – no one else wants to deal with your dog’s poop!Todd HancockParks and open space ranger, City of AspenKeith BerglundOpen space and trails ranger, Pitkin County