Off-leash dogs focus of Vail Stephens Park discussion on June 20
VAIL — Excessive dog waste, off-leash responsibilities and conflicts regarding shared uses at Stephens Park will be the topic of a discussion that will take place during the June 20 Vail Town Council meeting. The item is listed third on the meeting agenda, which begins at 6 p.m. in the town council chambers.
Users of the park, located at 2470 South Frontage Road West in the Intermountain neighborhood, are encouraged to take part in the discussion to help determine actions that will improve the enjoyment of the neighborhood park.
Following an initial discussion by council on June 6 in which officials expressed concern about off-leash abuses and the need to emphasize the shared activity of the green space, staff has placed additional dog bag dispensers and an additional trash can in the park. In addition, Eagle County Animal Control has increased its presence in the park to talk about dog waste, including environmental health hazards.
Possible next steps include developing a year-round program that would emphasize the park’s function as a shared use park with the off-leash component a secondary use. Encouraging users to file complaints about irresponsible behavior is also being recommended.
Complaints can be filed on the Eagle County Animal Control Services website, http://www.eaglecounty.us/animal/. In addition, staff is recommending an expansion of the off-leash area to include the Gore Creek access at the east end of the turf area.
If additional measures are needed, future considerations that have been forwarded by community members include: registration of each dog that uses Stephens Park, DNA testing, adding a fenced-in area for off-leash users and installation of surveillance cameras. A temporary or permanent suspension of the designated off-leash area could also be a consideration.
Stephens Park, along with Bighorn Park in East Vail, is incorrectly listed as a “dog park” on Google Maps and other online listings. Attempts will be made to contact Google to change the parks’ designations to off-leash, shared use areas to better inform cross-country travelers.
For more information on the park issues, call Gregg Barrie, senior landscape architect 970-479-2337. To share additional ideas in advance of the meeting, email the Vail Town Council, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.