Boulder could proclaim itself “the most dog-friendly city in America,” and I doubt anyone would challenge it. With new amendments to Boulder’s Voice and Sight program, there’s sure to be a mad-dash to register for new mandatory classes at the end of the year.
Started in 2006, the program allows off-leash dogs in designated areas if the dogs display special participation tags signifying they are under “voice and sight control” of their owners at all times. New legislation effective January 1, 2015 requires completion of an hour-long class for all dog owners who plan to enjoy Boulder trails with their off-leash pooch under Voice and Sight control.
Register for the free education course and be prepared to pay the 2015 registration fee (paid per dog). Classes started August 5th and the City expects classes toward the end of the year to fill up so it’s best to attend the class ASAP to ensure your beloved companion can enjoy the trails as much as you do (sorry, no dogs allowed in class–you can fill them in later).
And how about the trails that don’t allow dogs at all?
- North Boulder’s Hogback Ridge Trail
- East Boulder Trail
- Goshawk Ridge Trail near Eldorado Springs
- Flagstaff Mountain’s Boy Scout Loop
- McClintock Trail
“We have made a commitment to the community that there can be at least some opportunities to enjoy OSMP without dog interaction,” says Steve Armstead of the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, “And with most trails allowing dogs, we can dedicate a few to those who wish to have a trail experience without dogs.”
Allergies, past traumatic experiences, or simply not wishing to interact with dogs are all reasons a person may choose a dog-free trail.
It’s not all about humans, though.
“Wildlife see dogs as a predictor which could prohibit some wildlife from utilizing their full habitat,” explains Armstead.
On some trails, like McClintock, dogs pose a threat to the habitat. McClintock Trail’s stream makes it a supreme hang out for bears, reports Armstead, and the delicate shrubs can be destroyed by the potential traffic of off-trail dogs.
Learn more about the Voice and Sight program and don’t forget tick the mandatory class off your “to-do” list.