hope everyone had a good weekend.
i've been thinking about wednesday's meeting, and in the course of that the whole situation quite a bit, here are some of my thoughts:
for dog owners:
- an attitude of entitlement puts everyone off. we do not have a God given right to let our dogs run off leash in the foothills, even if it has essentially been a free for all until now
- we need to stay focused. this will never go away. we need to keep the trails clean, continue educating other dog owners and training our dogs.
- under control off leash means that a dog stays on the trail, does not approach another person or dog without their permission, that the dog is in sight, does not chase or otherwise harass wildlife, comes when called and no poop is left unscooped.
- some people are afraid of dogs, or just don't like them. it's our responsibility to make sure that our dogs don't bother those people, or we will lose access.
for the city:
- enforcement was one of the things that the original dog off leash task force called out as necessary for the recomendations to work. the city bears some responsibility for the current situation because there was little or no enforcement until the i.hs officers came on in september.
- heavy use on the lower trails is for exercise. most of the daily users run, walk or bike. although we choose that setting for recreation because we enjoy its beauty, we are not there primarily to see wildlife (although it is not uncommon to see deer, fox, coyotes & a variety of birds). while it is important to maintain the integrity of the resource, different areas do and should have different uses. if the overriding concern is protecting the resource in pristine condition, we need to lock everyone out now, because every use has an impact.
- dog owners comprise a large portion of the tax base. we voted in large number for the foothills levy. we have a valid right to use resources purchased and maintained with our tax dollars. this includes parks as well as trails. we need to use the resources responsibly, but locking us out completely is unfair. there must be a middle ground.
- dog parks, off leash trails and city parks for obedience or agility training all serve different purposes.
- although the Working Group had 8 or so dog owners, there was only one person placed on the group as an advocate for off leash trail use. as it turned out, the swimba representative also enjoys recreating with her dogs off leash. paula and margie were the dissenting opinion to the working group proposal.
- in our original proposal, Boise Trail DOG requested information regarding wildlife habitat, vegetation location, etc. we were told that more research wasn't necessary and accused of stalling. lately, i have received information that has been passed along to the fcac (at their request) regarding dog impacts on wildlife and a map of native vegetation. i would like to understand what has changed, and to know whether we will have an opportunity for discussion.
i look forward to the meeting wednesday evening, and to seeing what recommendation the fcac comes up with.
Boise Trail DOG hopes that the committee recognizes the work dog owners have done to retain access and understands that working together to solve issues is the answer. We also hope that dog owners continue the good work we have done so far, and that we continue to make a difference.
we'd also like to thank the city, especially david gordon, julia grant and amy stahl for answering loads of emails, providing information and supporting our efforts. ditto to jeff rosenthal and the idaho humane society.