FIDOS Spring 2002 Newsletter
FIDOS Home Page
Published in: April, 2002
No More Dogs on Mt. Sanitas?
Volume 5, Issue 1
Though the future of dogs on Mt. Sanitas is in limbo, their environmental impact is diminishing thanks to greater awareness, dedication and plastic bags at the trailheads.
Efforts improve trail conditions, but ongoing talk of trail closings persists
Despite recent collaborations between Open Space, Mountain Parks and dog guardians - which have increased user awareness and significantly lowered the levels of poop around Mt. Sanitas Open Space - the controversy over the area shows no signs of slowing.
For anyone who isn't familiar with the situation, north Boulder resident Patrick Murphy is spearheading an effort to have dogs banned on the popular trails.
Murphy became best known last year for having plotted the locations of 1,492 piles of dog poop along the trail with a GPS (global positioning system). His allegations include that dogs on Sanitas are responsible for trampled natural foliage adjacent to the trail, high levels of fecal coliform in Boulder Creek, propagation of noxious weeds in the Sanitas area and a decrease in sightings of towhees (a bird) along the Sanitas trail.
In a letter to the Boulder City Council Murphy stated, "The FIDOS organization and many dog owners are in denial about the negative impacts of dogs. They seem to believe that good intention and superficial appearance are more important than bottom line results. They also seem to believe that the only way to prove that dogs have negative impacts is to let an area become so degraded that they can then continue to have dog access because the area is already degraded!"
We all know that every use of Open Space has some impact. This is a transitional urban corridor along the Front Range. One thing FIDOS has believed for some time is that we need more trails open to dogs in much of our fairly inaccessible Open Space, making for far less impact on any one area. Murphy has stated his desire to ban dogs from more areas of open space, which will only compound the problem on the few remaining dog-accessible trails.
The Future at Stake
Dog poop is one aspect of impact we agree has needed attention for some time. And the recent attention to the trail has, in fact, resulted in Open Space and Mountain Parks doing some wonderful trailhead education - with the area now being vastly better picked up than in recent times.
Please keep up this effort. Murphy is being listened to and we need to act before we lose what years of work have yielded in voice-and-sight access to Open Space on the Front Range.
Banning dogs on one trail can be used as a precedent for further restrictions, and this controversy at Sanitas could, if unattended, escalate into a serious problem for dogs on Open Space. There are already plans for this scrutiny being extended to parts of the Mesa and Marshall Mesa trails.
What You Can Do
To prevent any closures, we all need to carry bags as well as leashes. It's the law. But go one step further and carry them even when not anticipating using them. It's simple and very helpful to pick up some piles every time we walk. Our own voice-and-sight dogs (off-leash) can leave piles that we miss, and it keeps the trail looking and smelling good for all.
Offer bags to everyone you see leaving their dog's waste, but please keep it gracious. We aim to educate and change such habits, and an aggressive confrontation or unkind words will not win over anyone. Remember, we have the privilege of having our dogs off-leash on public lands, not the right. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping to maintain this privilege.
The FIDOS board is currently educating itself about dogs' environmental impacts. If you have expertise in wildlife/plant ecology on the Front Range, please contact us and look at Murphy's Web site, www.myxyz.org/phmurphy. There's also a memo from Open Space and Mountain Parks to City Council, dated February 27, available at www.ci.boulder.co.us/clerk/WIP/2002/2-28-02/2-28-02cover.htm. It is titled "Response to Concerns Raised by Patrick Murphy."
Please know that the goings on at Sanitas are constantly unfolding. We welcome your questions, concerns and support at our monthly meetings: 6 p.m., third Wednesday of each month, Foothills Nature Center.
Educate yourself and make a difference by calling or writing your City Council members (visit www.fidos.org for information on contacting them). Remember, these are public servants, charged with listening to you as well as to Murphy.
Now more than ever, FIDOS needs increased member involvement. Take a step forward and voice your opinion. Thank you.
"1 + 1" is FIDOS' newest campaign to promote responsible dog guardianship on Boulder's Open Space trails. Dog guardians who pick up after their pets far outnumber those who do not. If we successfully promote a 1 + 1 program, where responsible guardians pick up their dog's pile plus one extra, all our trails will become - and remain - clean. If we neglect this issue, we will be in danger of losing the wonderful privilege of walking our dogs on Boulder's Open Space lands.
The Boulder Open Space Department has endorsed this campaign and you will soon see signs promoting it. Please support our latest effort to get the trails clean!
Canine Classic: April 21
Run 5k or 10k with your canine companion at MESA's (Moving to End Sexual Assault) spring fund raiser, plus enter the Wacky Pet Contest. Visit www.joinmesa.org for information and race registration.
Puttin' on the Leash: April 27
Mark your calendars now for the Boulder Valley Humane Society's huge spring fund-raising extravaganza. It'll be at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus at 7 p.m.
If you haven't been to this before, you've been missing a jolly good time with lots of food, fun and great dogs on parade. Bring your checkbooks for the most amazing silent and live auctions you've ever attended! Call 303.442.4030, or visit www.boulderhumane.org.
Furry Friends Fest: May 11
While those calendars are out, don't miss the 9th Annual Furry Friends Festival in Longmont. It'll take place in Rogers Grove Park, along Hover Road.
The festival is a major benefit for the Longmont Humane Society. Take the 3-mile Walk for Animals at 8:30 a.m., which is a lovely stroll along the St. Vrain River. Stay until 1 p.m. for a host of silly and educational doggie events, vendors and food. You can even have your pooch take a doggie IQ test!
Be sure to visit the FIDOS booth on Mutt Main Street after the walk and introduce yourself. For more information call the Longmont Humane Society at 303.772.1232 or visit www.longmonthumane.org.
April 6, 11 a.m., Mesa Trail (south end)
May 4, 9 a.m., Mesa Trail (north end)
June 1, 9 a.m., Sanitas Trail Meet at the trailhead 0.5 miles west of 4th street on the north side of Mapleton Avenue.
July 6, 9 a.m., East Boulder Dog Park
Aug. 3, 9 a.m., Boulder Valley Ranch
Sept. 7, 9 a.m., Marshall Mesa Trail
Oct. 5, 9 a.m., Dry Creek Trail
Nov. 2, 11 a.m., Doudy Draw
FIDOS Treasurer Barbara Kipp and her lab Otto join Rocky the bull terrier in holiday songs at Good Samaritan.
Rocky is older than many of the residents, and proves no one ever has to stop singing! It'll keep you, like Rocky, full of life.
To join Barbara's songs in Boulder nursing homes on May 4 or May 11, call her at 303.499.8576.
How to help put an end to it locally, plus thanks to rally participants
The University of Colorado is one of a rapidly dwindling number of medical schools in the United States that teaches first-year anatomy and physiology labs using live dogs under anaesthetic, and then kills them. This is not research, nor are these veterinary students. They are teaching the basics of what can be taught by observing actual human surgeries, by computer simulations and through cadaver labs.
The campaign to close the CU dog lab is ongoing. On March 8 a number of FIDOS members joined the rally to protest these labs, both outside the CU president's office and at the CU Health Sciences Center in Denver. It was well below freezing and the roads were covered with ice. Thank you to all who braved the weather in the name of compassionate action. The event made the newspaper on the 9th, with a photo.
Please continue to support this effort by donating $5 to get one of the yellow dog lab protest bandannas that are available at doggie shops around the Boulder area. Call CU President Elizabeth Hoffman at 303.492.6201 and let her know you want the dog labs closed. You can fax her at 303.492.6772 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information go to www.stopcudoglabs.org or call the CU Dog Lab Campaign at 303.830.0676.
Send us your e-mail address (kept confidential) and we'll send Voice & Sight electronically. Starting with the next issue, FIDOS will give readers an option of getting the newsletter in either electronic (printable) or paper formats. Not only will it reduce the environmental impact of printing, but will save FIDOS money on printing and postage. Also through e-mail, if you choose, FIDOS can keep you abreast of changes or threats to your Open Space access.Please send us your e-mail now, and let us know whether you want Voice & Sight and/or e-mails about breaking news. Use the membership renewal form on page 5, and while you're at it, update all of your other info with us. Also, FIDOS new e-mail is email@example.com. Add it to your address book now, while you're thinking of it, so if your e-mail address changes we'll be on the list of people to notify.
Please print, fill out, and mail in this FIDOS Application
Everyone is welcome; third Wednesday of each month. 6 to 8 p.m. at the Nature Center, 4201 N. Broadway.
Leave a message for FIDOS at 303.447.FIDO (3436).
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