Trust Our Land: Does the Poop Fairy hibernate during the winter? | VailDaily.com

Trust Our Land: Does the Poop Fairy hibernate during the winter?

Do your part and pick up after your furry friends on trails and open spaces in Eagle County.
Special to the Daily

The Tooth Fairy’s cousin, the Poop Fairy, has a much less pleasant job. Traveling far and wide, flying under the cover of darkness in local parks, neighborhoods, and schoolyards around the globe, the Poop Fairy is said to follow behind all dogs to pick up what they leave behind. The mythical fairy’s existence has reassured many pet enthusiasts that cleaning up after one’s dog isn’t worth it.

Unfortunately, both the number of poop piles and community complaints has grown, leading to three potential theories: Either the Poop Fairy isn’t doing its job well, it is hibernating for the winter, or there is no Poop Fairy at all (gasp!).

Dog waste doesn’t biodegrade in the same way that wild animal waste does. We feed our furry friends food that is fundamentally different from the food of their wild counterparts. Because of this, our dog’s waste biodegrades at a much slower rate than wild animal poop. This abundance of feces in our community has many unfortunate impacts.

Dog waste pollutes many of the ecosystems we enjoy on a daily basis. While slowly decomposing, dog poop contaminates groundwater, creeks, rivers, and entire riparian areas via snowmelt, spring run-off and summer rains. Dog waste also attracts hungry wildlife to our sidewalks, street crossings, and backyards, increasing the chance of negative human-wildlife interactions. 

There is no Poop Fairy. We, as community members, are responsible for picking up after our animals.

“It may be unpleasant, but doing the right thing and picking up our dog’s poop, even when nobody’s looking, helps protect the lands and rivers that sustain our community,” said Jessica Foulis, the new executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust.

So, remember to bring a bag whenever you walk your dog, pick up your dog’s poop, and throw it away with your trash. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fairy that will collect and throw away bagged poop from the side of any trail in Eagle County, either.

Just as important, please encourage others to pick up their dog’s waste. If your dog happens to do its business near an abandoned poop that the mythical fairy missed, consider channeling your inner conservation warrior and scooting over to pick up that abandoned poop too.

This good-karma acquiring process is paramount at parks and dedicated open spaces that are seeing more and more use every day.

“Empowering our neighbors and all residents of Eagle County to hold each other responsible for cleaning up after our pets is one way to tackle this stinky situation,” said Peter Suneson, the outreach and education specialist for Eagle County Open Space. “But we’re always accepting applications for the local Poop Fairy position.”

Conserving the lands, rivers, and natural resources that our community cares so much about is a big process. Dog poop, though it seems innocent enough, can undermine the time and resources that our community has invested in protecting our natural environment. Will you join us in dispelling the Poop Fairy myth and protecting the lands that our community depends on?

The Eagle Valley Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the open spaces, wildlife habitats, and scenic vistas that we love … forever. To learn more about EVLT’s conservation work, visit http://www.evlt.org or email info@evlt.org.