Monday, December 1, 2008

december 1

halle and i will get out later- probably after my 2 hr conference call this afternoon, when fresh air & exercise ALWAYS sounds like a good plan!

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.



Anonymous said...

First you say: "we do not have a God given right to let our dogs run off leash in the foothills." Good point. But then you say: "we have a valid right to use resources purchased and maintained with our tax dollars." Huh?

I sense some conflict here. The land purchased with levy dollars in reality is only a tiny portion of the land currently under "dispute" regarding this whole off-leash broohaha. More importantly, it was purchased with PUBLIC money raised by every property owner in the City of Boise, regardless of who uses the trail system, dog owner or not. This includes people on the Bench, south, west and east Boise, who NEVER use the trail system! This is a public resource managed by the city for the public trust. Simply because a few property owners happen to own dogs does NOT entitle them to more privileges than any other taxpayer!

This is a public process to determine how to use a public resource. You may disagree with the process, but you are participating in it - congratulations. But there is no "right" involved here. We are talking about the "privilege" to use these trails in a liberal manner that includes dogs.

marianne said...

let me clarify- in the first instance, i was talking about the attitude of entitlement that dogs should be allowed to run free of any rules or constraints regardless of the impact on other users. these would be the people who think that because an area is "off leash" it means "no rules".

in the second instance i am only asking for the ability to have as much use of parks, trails, etc as other taxpayers/user groups- including soccer and baseball teams, etc. and i tried to be very clear about saying that applies to the area in question being used in a responsible manner. not asking for more privilege, only similar.

hope that makes sense- and thanks for your comments and for helping me clarify.