|Successful Dog Waste Program Needs Funding to Continue and Upgrade
In this valley, we sure love our dogs and we love to hike with them. Yet the waste our canine friends leave behind is not only unsightly and illegal to leave behind but poses genuine health risks and is a source of water pollution.
The Environmental Resource Center responded to this community-wide issue by kicking off a pilot program in 2004 to provide dog waste containers at Adams Gulch trailhead. It was widely appreciated, heavily used, and an overall success. What was once only a one site pilot program has now become a successful valley-wide project with collection bins at more than 25 locations and support from a wide variety of partners.
The ERC, along with key partners including the US Forest Service, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Blaine County Recreation District, Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, Wood River Land Trust, BLM and the cities of Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue, all report that dog waste has diminished significantly over the past several years thanks to this truly community-wide effort.
Today, though, we need the community's help in continuing with this successful effort. With constantly increasing numbers of trail users, improvements also need to be made.
As Renee Catherin, Trails Coordinator with the Ketchum Ranger District states, "trail users need to ask themselves the question, would they do this to their own property? The trail system needs to be maintained in the best possible way for all users."
The ERC and its partners are now looking to raise this effort to a new level. We estimate that we need to raise $5000 each year to maintain the bins we currently have and ensure that they are emptied in a timely fashion before they become a mess. While increasing the scope is enticing, existing costs need to be covered first.
Support for this effort has been wide-spread over the years with the Raynier Institute & Foundation donating funds for the new plastic bins and Mark Acker at the Sawtooth Animal Center providing scoopers available at several trailheads. With the community's support we can ensure that this program not only continues but is strengthened so that it can better protect our health, waters, and noses.
Donations to ensure the continuation of this successful program can be made easily and safely through the ERC website. Just click on the donate button at right, then select Canine Clean Sweep as the program to support, and please give as generously as you can. Call 726-4333 if you prefer to have us process the credit card for you, or desire more information about the Dog Waste Program.
If you love dogs, remember that picking up after them has significant cost. Please give generously, with your best doggie friend in mind.
Here's a map of all the dog waste bins that are stationed throughout the valley. Feel free to move around or zoom in on this map