LONGMONT, Colo. — The city of Longmont has seen a big drop in people bringing their dogs to Button Rock Preserve since introducing new rules for dogs and their owners.
Signs posted at the preserve state the requirement for dogs to be on a leash at all times — and only allowing one dog per person.
But what you won’t see as many of on the trails anymore is dogs.
“We’re running out places to go where our dogs can truly just run free, so it’s hard,” said Chris Udovich, who had just finished walking her dog Mariah.
The city of Longmont says the number of visitors showing up to the trailhead with their dogs has dropped more than 40% since the new rules went into effect May 1.
“I think it’s unfair. I think if you have multiple dogs, you should be able to take them out. They have to be able to enjoy the outdoors as well,” said Juan Quinonez, who was hiking with his family Tuesday night.
It’s part of a new — and possibly temporary — policy while the city collects data over the next two years.
It’s putting together a management plan that will keep the area and water supply clean while still allowing the land to be used for recreation.
“Sometimes you get the people who scoop up the poop, put it in a bag, and then leave the bag on the side of the trail,” said Lauren Mayer with the city of Longmont.
The city employs one full-time park ranger and one part-time ranger, who reported picking up 250 pounds of dog poop each week during the peak summer months.
When the city heard that, they decided to make some changes.
It says since May 1, the amount of waste in the area has decreased, but didn’t specify by how much.
Some dog owners aren’t sure this is a good long-term solution.
“It’s really hard for me to not let her off the leash,” said Udovich. “A healthy dog needs a place to run, I believe.”
In the meantime, people are strongly encouraged to continue picking up after their pet.
“I think the owner should be response and pick up after the dogs,” said Udovich. “I can see why it’s an issue. It makes sense to me. Rhat’s why they’re applying these laws.”
The city did not specify how long the restrictions will stay in place, but said they could be lifted before the end of the 2-year study.