Pooped on Smuggler: Clean up after dogs, rangers advise
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – It’s the same crap every spring.
It emerged with last week’s spate of warm weather, and this weekend’s forecast again calls for a good chance of poop on Smuggler Mountain Road.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails rangers are reminding hikers who head up Smuggler with their four-legged companions that there are rules of the road. They are: Dog guardians must carry and use bags to dispose of their dogs’ waste, they must carry leashes and use them when appropriate, off-leash dogs must be in sight and under voice control, and no more than two dogs are permitted per person (per county ordinance).
Climbing Smuggler, on the edge of Aspen, is among the local populace’s favorite outdoor workouts. Hikers, mountain bikers and dogs travel the dirt road all year long, but come spring, use intensifies and disintegrating dog waste deposited during the winter months emerges.
County ranger John Armstrong said he recently counted 38 piles of dog feces within 20 feet of the kiosk at the base of the road, where a bag dispenser and waste receptacle are placed and signs explain the rules on Smuggler.
“It’s frustrating for those of us who are out there every day,” he said. “Thirty-eight piles of poop within almost an arm’s length of the kiosk? Give me a break.”
Smuggler sees regular visits from the rangers, who keep the bag dispenser stocked, empty the three trash cans placed on the bottom stretch of the road, educate dog owners about the rules and field complaints about dog feces and the bagged poop that is left behind.
“It’s really offensive to a lot of people,” Armstrong said.
The county has designated Smuggler Mountain Road as an area where dogs under voice control can run off leash, but too many pet owners aren’t keeping an eye on their pooches and don’t notice when their dogs answer nature’s call, according to Armstrong.
“They have their bag in hand, and they think they’re being a responsible owner, but if they’re not watching, they’re not going to see it,” he said.
Armstrong said he recently cited several people who failed to do their duty after their dog did theirs.
“For us, it’s a zero-tolerance offense,” he said. “I think if we sat at the bottom of the road, we could write tickets all day long.”
Instead, rangers are reminding dog owners to do the right thing this spring.
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