Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BTD Letter to the FCAC

Dear Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee Members,

Thank you for the time and thought that you have put into the dogs and trails issue over the past months. We appreciate your consideration of our initial proposal and are pleased to see enforcement in place.

We ask that trails are made on leash for 200 feet from parking areas and that no other changes are made for a year.

Our suggestion is to use the year as a well publicized period giving dog owners the opportunity to sustain and improve on the progress made over the summer.
o Provide regular, consistent updates to the public via local media and on the Parks & R2R websites
o Develop a baseline to measure activity based on phone calls and email, Ranger and PET officer reports
 React more quickly to problem areas
 Clearly identify and address specific issues
 Increase transparency and communication with the public
o Continue enforcement and educational efforts
 give the programs time to work

Dog owners were called on to step up and we have done so. There is anecdotal evidence that trail conditions have improved. Poop counts are lower. Leash compliance is up. Reducing Off Leash trail access now largely negates the efforts made by so many of us over the past months.

The Ridge to Rivers Staff Recommendations may be viewed as reasonable by many dog owners. There are many, however- those of us who have worked to improve conditions, those who are not in good health, or with older dogs, or who have been using the trails for years for exercise at non peak times- who will take exception.

We suggest an additional public comment period for whatever proposal the FCAC chooses to pass along to council. Many dog owners do not trust the process, and this would help address that issue.

Staff’s suggestion of revisiting any recommendations enacted within a specified time period should be extended to encompass all user groups. Every activity impacting the resource should be regularly evaluated. Singling out one user group has created increased divisiveness among trail users. We all need to work together to share and to preserve the resource, and the city should lead this effort.

Thank you for your consideration,

Boise Trail DOG
Marianne Konvalinka, Tracy Landauer , Paula McCollum, Margie Rosenberg

cc: Julia Grant, David Gordon, Jim Hall, Mayor Bieter, Boise City Council

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