COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The dog days of summer are ending at Cheyenne Mountain State Park but dog days may continue year-round if park management succeeds in gaining approval of a regulation change to allow them on select trails.
A summer trial that permitted dogs on designated trails went so well that Park Manager Mitch Martin wants to allow man’s best friend on those specific trails on a permanent basis.
“We received a lot of favorable comments,” Martin said. “Our campers were pleased and the change in policy brought in new visitors to the park. So we will be making a recommendation to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to change this regulation permanently.”
Because this regulation change needs commission approval, the formal change could take several months. Until then, the trial allowing dogs on designated trails will continue.
Results of a similar experiment conducted at Mueller State Park, south of Divide in Teller County, are still under review and it’s not known if a permanent change in regulations allowing dogs will be sought, said John Geerdes, park manager.
Cheyenne Mountain and Mueller both opened a few trails to dogs on a three-month trial basis beginning June 1. It was a recognition of the trend of outdoor enthusiasts who hike and camp with their pets.
“Most people were responsible with their dogs and obeyed our regulations,” Martin said. “We only wrote a couple tickets. But the vast majority of dog owners did their part. So we want to provide this new recreational opportunity to our visitors.”
Martin stressed it is critical people continue to obey the rules, which include keeping strict control of dogs on a leash that does not exceed six feet in length – voice command and radio collars do not count. Also, dog owners must carry dog waste bags with them and are required to pick up and pack out any waste. Avoiding confrontations with other park visitors, pets or wildlife is another important requirement.
Finally, dogs must stay on the following trails: Acorn Alley, Bobcat Way, Raccoon Ridge and a portion of Soaring Kestrel. Together, they represent about 1½ miles of trails and all connect to the park campground.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park is located at 410 JL Ranch Heights south of Colorado Springs, off Colorado Highway 115. For more information, call 719-687-2366 or visit,http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/CheyenneMountain/.