Pet waste becoming a common sight on Cherry Creek Trail, trail regulars say

DENVER – An unsightly problem is piling up at one of Denver’s most popular public spaces.

The Cherry Creek Trail stretches for 42 miles through the metro area. Tuesday afternoon, in a single quarter-mile section near Hartzell Park in southeast Denver, FOX31 crews observed four piles of dog waste that had not been properly removed.

“Often, at least every other day, I will find unpicked poop on the actual bike paths, not just in the dirt,” Caroline Gaty told FOX31.

Gaty has walked the path every day for the past 30 years with her dogs. She says it is the perfect walking trail for a dog because there are both paved trails and dirt trails to choose from.

She says she always carries a pocket full of puppy poop bags to pick up her pet’s waste and sometimes the waste of other dogs too. According to Gaty, it is common to find the plastic doggie bags thrown to the side of the trail instead of in the provided trash bin.

“People are amazingly irresponsible,” she said. “I don’t know whether they think there’s a poop fairy that’s going to come and pick it up for them.”

In fact, there is no “Poop Fairy”. While Denver Parks and Rec maintains the trails and regularly empties the trash bins, it is the responsibility of the pet owner to pick up and dispose of pet waste.

The parks department says it is unaware of any increases in pet waste along the Cherry Creek Trail or High Line Canal Trail. It urges trail users to dial 311 to report waste issues within Denver.

Gaty says the waste issue has not always been present on the Cherry Creek trail.

“No, it hasn’t always been. I’d say the last five to eight years. I think there’s just a lot more pet owners and some of them just don’t get it,” she said.

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