In response to residents’ requests, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is exploring a change to the dog leash regulations along a portion of the river trail extending south from Wilton Jaffee Sr. Park.
Staff is collecting input from community members and trail users on formalizing a trail where off-leash dogs that are under voice and sight control are permitted (see survey link below). The trail parallels the Roaring Fork River for approximately 1 mile south from the start of the trail at its intersection with the Rio Grande Trail spur.
What does voice and sight control mean? Dogs may be walked off leash, but must remain within their guardian's eyesight and obey voice commands.
The existing multi-use river trail has included informal off-leash use for a number of years without conflicts. This area sees year-round recreational use and limited use by wildlife. Leashes would be required where the trail continues upstream prior to entering a wetland area with ecological values, which will remain protected.
If public input supports the change and approval is given by both the Open Space and Trails Board and the Board of County Commissioners, dogs would be required to be under voice and sight control on the specified section of the Jaffee River Trail. Owners who do not have control of their dogs or fail to pick up after their pets would be subject to fines beginning at $100. If conflicts become common, regulations are not followed, or ecological damage begins to occur, the on-leash requirement would be reinstated.
The public comment/survey period is from January 14 through February 15. BOCC approval is required through a two-reading ordinance following a recommendation of approval by the Open Space and Trails Board in order to allow for unleashed dogs, under voice and sight control, on the trail.