Saturday, May 31, 2008

poop scoop

thanks so much to everyone who came out to help clean up the trails! we had a great turn out, and things were pretty clean.

here are a few reports from scoopers:

"we went out into the owls roost trail this past week on thursday evening and collected eight grocery bags full of poop and trash."

Corrals: " I was out there this morning, but didn't see anyone else - I must have been early. I picked up a grocery bag full of doggie poo and left it in the garbage can at the trailhead. Most of the faeces on the trail, particularly out near the junction with Hard Guy, was not from dogs - horses, deer, cows and coyotes were all represented. I left that all in place."

"Just thought I'd give you a "report from the field." I decided not to do Military Reserve, but instead met friends ....and we did the first mile or so of the Homestead Trail above Harris Ranch. The trail was remarkably clean; between the three of us, we maybe got five pounds of poop, and most of that was old. So folks must be doing their part! Also, we received several "thank yous" from various trail users: mountain bikers, hikers and dog walkers alike.Hope other trail volunteers had similar positive experiences!"

"Stats FYI

Friday, May 30, 2:30pm: 15 dog piles @ Harrison Hollow
Saturday, May 31, 7:30pm: 10 dog piles @ Harrison Hollow + 3 cigarette butts, 1 pop can, and 1 Tootsie Roll wrapper

...all within 1 mile of main trailhead entry point (dead-end road behind Healthwise building) "

heard about positive response from many folks that the scoopers met on trails, and most of the trails were in good shape- exceptions being the bike trailhead at corrals and some of the busier lower trails.

the IHS was a big help- providing water, snack, bags & volunteers.

again, many thanks to everyone!

Friday, May 30, 2008

from steve & sue

Attached is a photo of a mule deer we saw this morning around 8:45 on trail 35 between the first parking area on 8th street and trial #34, Hulls Pond. It didn't seem to mind us, or the biker who rode past shortly after the photo was taken (we were in our car on 8th street.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

note from jane

I have been picking up wherever I find stuff. This morning it was Harrison Hollow: 2 beer cans, 1 coffee cup, 5 stale dog poops, and 2 fresh poops from my own dog--all in a relatively short stretch (2-2.5 miles?).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Letter to FCAC

These are the suggestions we sent to the FCAC. We are on next Wednesday's Agenda after approval of minutes from last month's meeting. Just like last time, there is no public comment, but the public is welcome to attend. 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 4 at the Foothills Learning Center off of 8th street.

Dear Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee,

We are writing to request that other than the agreed upon enforcement of existing rules, a decision on dog off leash trails is put on hold pending collection of data to better inform the end solution. We agree that dogs and their owners, along with all trail users, impact the trails but disagree with the scope of the recommendations from the working group.

We ask that the Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee:
  1. Continue with the decision to step up enforcement
  2. Put any far reaching decisions on hold pending further research including:
    · Establish a baseline understanding of current wildlife and vegetation conditions
    o Health of local populations
    o How different activities impact various types of wildlife
    o Which species are most impacted
    o Which areas are most sensitive
    o Predator population information
    · Research alternative management options*
    · Track dog related calls**
    o Take caller information for follow up
    o Which trail
    o Time of day
    o Nature of incident- find chronic offenders
    o Create a baseline to know if efforts are working
    o Track positive comments as well
  3. Create a more transparent process for citizen involvement
    We appreciate the time and effort put in by the current working group, but the perception among dog owners is that the group does not provide balanced representation. If this existing group is to continue, Boise Trail DOG would like to have an additional seat on the committee. However, we feel that Item 4 is a more appropriate approach to moving forward. This item describes creating a new task force to pick up where the last one ended.
  4. Name a task force to develop a comprehensive user plan for the trails to address the conflicts arising from more people using a limited resource and to ensure that every user group is represented. This might be done by advertising for and interviewing prospective members.

    In order to develop an appropriate management plan we need to start with an inventory of existing species and resources and establish a baseline for monitoring impacts from all foothills recreational activities, encroachment from development, and other factors that affect wildlife and vegetation.

    The problem with creating a plan before we establish a baseline and monitor trends is that there are too many factors in the mix to address only one issue, whether it is dogs, mountain bikes, more cars on 8th street, or development. This is a complex situation. A holistic approach benefits all users and better protects the resource.

    We agree that dog owners need to step up and be responsible for maintaining our access. Boise Trail DOG is organizing as a non profit in order to serve as a liaison between dog owners and the city and to work with the IHS on educational programs. See attached sheet for programs/ideas in process. We are very willing to work with the FCAC to finalize the steps forward as proposed here and to assist in any way possible with the data collection.

    Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to working with you.


    Marianne Konvalinka, 866-6306
    Margie Rosenberg, SWIMBA Board Member, 850-7824
    Paula McCollum, Professional Dog Trainer, Ridge to Rivers Ranger Volunteer, Jeb’s (BPR spokesdog) owner, 850-4124
    (note: Margie and Paula are the dissenting votes on the working group memo recommendation I, which would move all off leash activity to the upper trails)

    Cc: Mayor Bieter
    Boise City Parks and Recreation Director Hall
    Boise City Council
    Julia Kertz Grant, Foothills and Open Space Manager
    David Gordon, Ridge to Rivers Trails Coordinator

    * There are no specific studies on the impact of dogs on wildlife or vegetation cited in either the final recommendation or the facilitator’s meeting notes.

    ** Regarding conflicts with other users and dog fights the evidence is largely anecdotal. We do not dispute that there are issues, but without a reporting process it is difficult to know where to start. The 2007 Ranger report includes 5 dog incidents from January 16 through October 4. The rest of the information came from phone calls and conversations. We need more detailed information to develop an equitable and effective solution.

    Programs/ideas in progress:

    · Enforcement, peer pressure and organized clean ups in conjunction with education will help. The trails have been noticeably cleaner since this started.
    · Boise Trail DOG (working with the Idaho Humane Society) has a clean up/education day organized for Saturday, May 31
    · Adopt a trail program

    Off Leash Under Control
    · Clearly define off leash under control dog behavior
    · Instructional/educational videos done by Paula McCollum, who is a professional dog trainer, owner of Jeb, the Boise Parks Department Spokesdog and a Ridge to Rivers volunteer Ranger.
    · Paula will hold free clinics for dog owners

    · Ridge to Rivers website information (updates on the Parks page look great, but I am not finding all of the same information on the R to R site):
    · proper trail etiquette,
    · a map with on leash or no dog trails marked in red as well as listed by name (the pdf link on the parks site is great. Am I missing the file on the R to R site?)
    · e- bulletin board so that trail users can post areas to avoid- like where the sheep or cattle are, where there is a fox den, etc. Most dog owners would rather not deal with these potential conflicts and this is one way of providing up to date information
    § Boise Trail DOG website to reinforce information above and provide data regarding impact of fecal matter in watersheds, training information (Paula’s videos posted), etc.
    § The IHS and Boise Trail DOG are exploring other education options

    Trailhead Leash Program
    · Provide leashes at lower Hull’s trailheads for people who have shown up without them
    · Positive way to remind people to have leashes even in off leash areas · Easy way to remind about on leash areas

    more to come!

    For more information on Boise Trail DOG, visit email or call Marianne at 866-6306


great offers of help this morning after the article in the statesman- very exciting! looking forward to meeting many of you saturday at the poop scoop.

beautiful morning (i never get tired of saying that!) 3 groups of dogless runners, 3 with dog runners, 2 with off leash dogs in the on leash area.

i am amazed at how much poop there is coming in from Camel's Back. Will be an area of focus on Saturday. maybe once it gets really cleaned it won't be so much to keep up with.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

after the holiday weekend

nice morning- lots of folks out- here are a few. the woman with the 2 dogs is sherry, the dog on the left is alice, who she is babysitting, and on the right is (hope i am remembering right!) jake, her dog.

pics a little blurry- still a bit dark, overcast- perfect temp tho.

lots of poop along red fox after the holiday weekend. ran out of bags. maybe a grocery sack tomorrow. i think i need to do OPP every other day & run every other day- otherwise i won't build up much endurance! guess i could turn it into a version of whatever the training is where you go hard, then ease off.

have a great day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Interpretive Trail

sheep were west of 8th street below the upper hull's parking lot. probably see them on crane gulch connector or bob's. not sure if they were heading north or west.

the lot and trailhead at the pedestrian only Hull's Gulch Interpretive Trail were pretty disgusting. lots of old dried poop, some fresh, most within 5 or 6 feet of the trash can, though i did pick up some on the trail too. there was also a small amount (like one cup & one baggie) of people trash. even though a lot of the waste was dried up, it was still there & quite visible. ick!

it was a beautiful day and a nice hike. the pups tried out their backpacks- and echo helped carry out poop. we met several runners without dogs, 2 runners with dogs, 2 hikers with dogs, a few groups of hikers without dogs & two families with small children. everyone was pleasant, thanked us for getting off the trail. this is a narrow trail, can be interesting at times. need to keep an eye out ahead for people, as it is pretty twisty as well.

the stream running through the bottom makes for pretty wildflowers- saw a few cranesbill geranium starting to bloom and some sweetpeas. lupine isn't blooming yet. the red twig dogwood & this other white shrub are going strong.

so is the poison ivy- there was a lot of it. there is cheat grass all over and it's going to be dry really soon. if you don't know, cheat grass, when dry, can really hurt your dog. it works its way in and has little barbs that make it impossible to pull out. we had a few trips to the vet with teddy involving sedation & cutting the grass out of his foot. a few more good reasons for everyone to to stay on the trail.

hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ticketing Has Begun

I've been out a lot lately doing my R2R Ranger duties. The hounds and I have enjoyed every outing. The trails are in great shape and 90% of the people I've run into have been following all the trail rules. There has also been less poop (I'm usually either in the Hulls area or on Bob's Trail) as well. Everyone keep up the great work!

I noticed some bird watchers out on Hull's the last few times there. This is also encouraging. Bird watchers don't go where there are no birds. So despite the heavy use Hulls experiences, birds are doing well enough that the watchers are out. :)

Today I spoke with a couple that had recently been ticketed for having a dog off leash in an on leash area. I'm thrilled that Boise PD is out there helping us by enforcing the rules. They were good sports about it, but mentioned how confusing it is up there. Please everyone, pay attention to the signs. The signs are there. As you start of a trail you'll see a sign saying "Dog On Leash Trail" or "Dog Off Leash Trail". Please heed these signs. The biggest offenders I'm running into are in the parking areas. I cannot stress enough the importance of having your dog on leash in the parking areas. Why? It's dangerous, for one. I've had to help capture a dog on a busy weekend morning. Cars are coming and going, dogs can get hit -- as can small children if they are running around. Also, if you are getting ready to hit the trail and not watching your dog, that's when it goes and poops by the trash cans or by the trail etiquette signs. That will get us kicked off trails for sure. We must pay attention to our dogs so we don't miss a "pick up oppportunity". :)

Most of all I appreciate all everyone is putting into helping us keep our off leash trails. Your efforts are showing! Thank you!


text from tracy this morning:"I failed in my attempt 2 educate clueless but prob typical person who couldn't stop her dogs fm running up 2 mine n that ppl on these trails should expect 2 encounter loose dogs n 2 just deal w it."

nice, well meaning person who just can't control her dogs. i had a chat with some women on the trail who were also very nice, and whose dogs were well behaved, but they didn't understand why people who don't want to deal with dogs don't just use other trails. There is currently only one trail system closed to dogs, and that is Polecat. So those people don't have lots of other options right now. Our best hope to keep access is to be respectful and remember that not everyone wants to meet our dogs.

people who are afraid of dogs, or who have dogs that need to stay on leash for any variety of reasons- no recall, dog aggressive, etc. have just as much of a right to use the foothills as anyone else. we all need to respect each other and work together to make it a pleasant experience for everyone. and that means that if a dog doesn't come when it is called the owner should keep it leashed or do more obedience work.

not like the old days when you could be the only person on a trail and it didn't seem to be such a big deal.

one of the fcac committee members told me last week that her friends still run into 8 of 9 dogs off leash in the on leash area. i have run into really belligerent dog owners with off leash dogs on the on leash trails. come on people- the rule is the dogs should be on a leash. if your dog needs to be off leash, walk 50 more feet to the off leash trail. why is this so difficult?

Having off leash trails accessible is a privelege and we need to recognize that and start treating it as such.

anyway- beautiful morning on corrals- the lupine are still blooming, so if you haven't been up yet, check it out.

look at the deer print right in the middle of the tire tracks, dog prints & running shoes. there was also deer poop on the trail.

it was really busy, and every single person i met was pleasant. all of the dog owners were very polite about holding dogs back until it was established that it was OK to have a meet & greet.

mt bikers thanked me for getting the dogs off the trail, stopped to talk to me about them. one of the reasons i like the upper trails- people seem to make more of an effort.

happy memorial day to all!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

trail 1

got a late start today- 10 am! oh no! so we went up the road. parking lot not too full.

beautiful morning. 4 groups of mountain bikers- all very nice and thanked me for getting the dogs off the trail. one group of runners, ditto.

not as many flowers on this trail. there are lupine along the edge that are just getting ready to bloom. a few random flax (blue) some of these little white flowers- i never have figured out what they are. the yellow one seems to be low hawksbeard.

not much trash today- shotgun shell, some old dried poop.

slowing down for all of the foot and bike traffic and dogs traffic on the road i noticed the tall orange penstemon and the evening primrose blooming in lower hull's.

will have to make a point of an evening walk with the nikon to get some good photos.

Friday, May 23, 2008

do we learn?

we were having a nice pitcher of beer with a friend on the patio of a dog friendly establishment. we'd been there for a while- dogs went by on the sidewalk, people came up and loved up the pups, the folks at the restaurant brought them treats- it was such a nice start to a holiday weekend to hang in the sun and have a drink or two.

then came the folks with the young male lab who had to sit 3 tables away from us. with plenty of patio space, but ok, our dogs were being good- until they let go of the leash so he could wander. i asked them not to let the dog come up to our table. ignored. echo took it as long as he could and finally got in the dog's face. barking getting in his face. nothing more. but suddenly OMG! we're getting dirty looks because my dog reacted appropriately to a dog that invaded his territory, who was off leash when echo was on leash, and who had echo cornered, even though we had asked the dog's owners to keep him away.

i have been a clueless dog owner (i admit it, which is the first step to changing things) i do my best to be responsible and respectful. i am always sorry that i don't know the magic thing to say in these situations, but the adrenaline starts and besides there is no way to teach anyone anything unless they are ready to learn it.

so when the girls looked at echo horrified i told them not to glare at my dog when their loveable lab really caused the issue. impressed? me too. i really need to learn how to shut up.

the bottom line is that it is never a good idea to let your dog approach other people or dogs without checking. some people are scared of dogs. some people just don't like dogs. some dogs don't like some other dogs. some breeds are more territorial than others.

if someone asks you to keep your dog back, or if a dog is on leash or off the trail or otherwise restrained- keep your dog away.

anyway- it all ends up being about respect, and listening to other people. i do not claim to be perfect, but i do try to listen and to be respectful.


Lots going on. met with Forrest & Angeli to talk about 501c3 yesterday. Looks like we'll put that on hold and incorporate as a non profit with the state for the time being. As we see what the needs for funding are down the road we can always apply.

Jodi Peterson came up with the great idea of having leashes available at trailheads for people who forgot them. She found sponsors- Zamzows and Windermere/Richard B Smith Real Estate and talked to Dave Gordon about putting up hooks.

Boise Trail DOG is looking for volunteers to monitor the leashes daily. These are the areas where there will be hooks: Camelsback Trailhead Kiosk, 9th Street Kiosk, the Grove TrailheadKiosk, Lower Hulls Gulch Trailhead Kiosk, Cottonwood Creek Trailhead Kiosk, Freestone Creek Trailhead kiosk. The goal is to keep about 10 leashes per trail. if you can help, please email me at or call 866-6306.

Love Jodi's idea because it is exactly the type of proactive positive approach we need.

We will be sending a letter with recommendations to the FCAC. Will post here next week after they have had a chance to read it. Thanks to all of you who contributed ideas in the meeting, via email and in conversation.

On to this morning- the sage smelled so good after last night's rain, and the little bit of drizzle in the air really brought out the green against the gray sky. One solo runner, one group of 3 and one other gal with a dog. Lovely, quiet way to start the day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

morning walks

i was thinking yesterday about how much it offends me to be painted with a "doesn't care about the resource or other people because she wants to use the foothills with off leash dogs" brush. i love the foothills. i pick up after my dogs (and other people's dogs). i work with a trainer so that my dogs are good citizens. on the occasion my husband and i talk about living somewhere else, we always come back to how much we appreciate having this resource right outside of our door. anyone who has read this blog can see that i get excited about the wildflowers, and seeing wildlife. in fact- saw a tanager this morning- very cool!

it's just like saying all mountain bikers are bad, or all kids are unruly- the people who are responsible, and they are the majority- are just not as visible as those who cause problems.

i really think we need to work together, because we share many of the same issues. the foothills reserves are threatened by many things- increased traffic of all kinds- vehicular, bicycle and foot, encroaching development, noxious weeds, etc., etc. singling out one user group doesn't seem to be the best approach to long term preservation.

anyway- enough of the soapbox.

3 groups of runner without dogs, two groups of runners with dogs and 2 walkers with dogs- both of whom were carrying full poop bags- yay! one mountain biker. what happens when i get up there around 6:30- it's busier.

4 or 5 bags of OPP. some probably coyote judging by the hair in it, but poop is poop to most people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

back home

oh it was nice to be out this morning! the pups were full of it- as much as they enjoy their vacations at the boise kennels spa, they seem to miss their foothills walks. for me, a nice way to transition back to what i'm sure will be a crazy rest of the week- lots to catch up on.

5 dogless runners, one with dog on leash in OL area, one walker with leashed dog in on leash area. everyone very pleasant & enjoying the morning.

took enough bags to scoop OPP (other people's poop) and picked up 4 or 5 piles. right on the trail. right by the trash can. must be dogs with runners or mt bikers. if runners & bikers who won't stop to clean up would go back on foot once a week and pick up misc piles it would make a big difference.

wildflowers are looking great- will have to go back dogless, with the big camera. firecracker penstemon and yarrow, and another type of penstemon, i believe.

then buckwheat- and look at all of those little tunnels- must be rodent homes- right off chickadee ridge. then some sort of onion- probably not aase's, but i will have to find a picture to know for sure. lastly, happy little fleabane.

and we also found this- deer tracks- right at the top of red fox where it goes back down to the pond.

we are organizing a poop scoop for saturday, may 31. for more information or to volunteer (we'll have raffle items & some fun) please contact me at

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

weekend trails report and wolf pics

from Forrest Goodrum- Thanks Forrest!

FYI I have put together a weekend trails report.

Friday 5/16/08. I took a bucket and a spade to do a cleanup at the Crestline trailhead. I could NOT find any dog poop. Nothing, nada. There were no mutt mitts in the trailhead box. I called both Julia Grant and David Gordon and got voicemail and no return call. About three hours later I stopped by the Learning Center. David was on the porch handing out tee shirts for a fun run. He immediately contacted someone to replenish the mutt mitts.

Saturday 5/17/08. I spent two hours on the Corrals Trail. The Lupine was in full bloom. Spectacular. I could not find any dog poop, but did observe a carpet of sheep droppings and numerous old cow patties.

Sunday 5/17/08 I did a two hour circuit-- lower 8th St lot to Crestline to Red Cliff to Hulls Gulch to upper 8th St lot and back to lower lot. This gave me a look at three trail heads and some of the most heavily used trails in the central foothills. I picked up 6 dog poops, five of which were old ones well off the trail and hard to find ( I had my canine poop detector with me) There was some fresh coyote scat, a carpet of sheep droppings in three different areas and some big piles of horse apples in various places along my route.

Over the three days I saw about three dozen off leash dogs, all of which were friendly, well behaved and under control.

and 2 more wolf pics from our trip. they are amazing animals- huge and pretty incredible to see in the wild.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

not totally canine-less

but they are not as friendly as the ones at home.

Friday, May 16, 2008


forgot to mention we're off to jellystone tomorrow. the pups are at the doggie spa aka boise kennels. halle couldn't wait to see mark & sayuri & bounded through the door with nary a look back. echo didn't even do the bouve "i am one with the floor just TRY moving 100lbs of dead weight" routine. so tho i am glad they're in good hands and happy to be there i'm a bit, well, you know..... sorry to find that i am not, actually, the center of the universe.

anyway- no posts about the foothills (or poop) from me until wednesday. if someone sends me pics or a note, i'll share. email to :

poop chronicles

although i really don't want to be the poop chronicler, there were a few this morning that sort of amazed me, so here they are.

i don't even need to say anything about the first 2, but the third one- how do you not notice that your dog is perched on a sagebrush defecating? unless your dog is nowhere near you- but this one was certainly right by the trail.

on a more attractive note, the bachelor buttons are starting to pop out, and it was a lovely morning. 3 groups of dogless runners, 2 others with dogs- one off leash in the off leash area and one on leash in the on leash areas, 2 walkers with dogs and 3 mountain bikers. it's getting busier in the mornings. and will continue to as it gets warmer. everyone was very nice & polite and seemed happy to be out.

have a great day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008