The Elk Meadow Park Dog Off-‐leash Area (DOLA) in Evergreen has many safety and environmental challenges that have resulted in plans to close 99 of the 107 acres of the site on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 for major restoration work. A newly fenced area of approximately eight acres just under one mile of trail will remain open until a new site can be secured for this purpose. Keeping this eight-‐acre area open is conditional upon dog owner compliance with parking and safety laws, waste pick up regulations, acceptable water quality and lack of further degradation of the site.
Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) held a series of three community meetings between January and March of this year and gathered comments and suggestions. One of these suggestions was to move the fenced area to the east side of the park where the accessible Waggin’ Trail is located. “We thought this was a very good idea and as a result we are relocating the fenced area of the DOLA,” said Tom Hoby, Director of Jeffco Open Space. “It is our intent to offer uninterrupted service, protect water quality, improve visitor experience and have an accessible trail, while the search for a new suitable and sustainable site continues.”
The current fenced area of the park is located on a hillside that includes many drainages into the stream. By relocating this area further away from the stream and to more level ground, some of the challenges can be addressed temporarily. Additionally, the new area offers visitors access to an eight-‐acre off-‐leash area, while the majority of the park is closed for restoration. Meanwhile JCOS and local community partners will search for a new location that is better suited for this use and is more sustainable. Once a new site opens, the remaining fenced area of the Elk Meadow Park DOLA will be closed indefinitely to allow the entire area to be restored.
The Friends of Evergreen Dog Park (FEDP), a recently formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will help educate visitors, foster better stewardship by dog owners and assist with maintenance of the remaining eight-‐acre fenced portion of the Elk Meadow Park DOLA that will remain open under strict conditions. These conditions include immediate and ongoing acceptable water quality levels, and compliance with all park regulations, parking and crosswalk requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in immediate closure of the remaining fenced area.
To address public safety concerns on Stagecoach Boulevard adjacent to the DOLA, JCOS is working with Page 2 of 2 Jefferson County Transportation and Engineering to discontinue parking along the road and implement tow away zones. The south parking lot will be designated for disabled, emergency and staff parking.
The upcoming closed area of the DOLA will be strictly enforced in accordance with the Jefferson County Open Space regulation C.5. Natural Resources Protection that carries a $100 fine for the first offense.
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