DIVIDE, Colo. - After a summer experiment provided negative results, Mueller State Park has decided to no longer allow dogs on trails.
The Park Manager John Geerdes has said that repeated violation of rules, numerous complaints, and even a confrontation between visitors prompted the decision.
The problems seen at the park ranged from owners not leashing their pets and complaints of them chasing wildlife to dog waste left along the trails.
“We had reports of dogs chasing small wildlife such as foxes, squirrels, and rabbits,” Geerdes said. “And we heard, over and over again, that people come here to hike because it is one of the last places they can do so and not encounter dogs. Many come for the wildlife experience and say dogs ruin that for them.”
From June 1 to August 31, the park allowed dogs to explore some of the trails. Once the trial ended, Geerdes read over the 88 written and verbal comments made by guests and reviewed seven written tickets issued for rule violations.
“There was not enough positive evidence to justify allowing dogs on trails and in the backcountry,” Geerdes said, stating that many visitors noticed a drop in big game sightings along the trails compared to previous summers.
The park does want to remind the public that dogs are still allowed in the campground, picnic areas, and along paved roads on a leash.