— Jason (@jcosrangerjason) February 6, 2017
The park is situated on a thin layer of bedrock, and the pet waste runoff filters into a stream that leads into Upper Bear creek, and from there has the potential to contaminate drinking water. The levels of E. coli in the stream are already at the amount where you’d have to close a swim beach overnight.
Jason Hamburg, a Jefferson County Open Space Ranger, recently counted 74 piles of dog poop after walking only 100 meters in the park. The problem doesn’t stop there. One weekend, 79 volunteers collected half a ton of dog waste in 3 hours at Westminster Hills Dog Park, less than an hour drive from Elk Meadow Park.
Hamburg says that Elk Meadow Park will likely close down to let the area repair itself and recover. Vegetation needs time to recover from trampling, and the levels of harmful bacteria need to return to acceptable levels. Hopefully once it reopens, the patrons of the park will do their part to keep it safe and healthy, though considering how much public education and warnings have gone into fixing the problem, it doesn’t seem like irresponsible dog owners are about to start picking up poop any time soon.
What would you do if you saw an owner not cleaning up after their dog? How do you think Colorado should fix the problem of irresponsible dog owners? Let us know in the comments below!