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Off-leash dog park to close, county seeking new site

Written by Matt Robbins on .

The Elk Meadow Park Dog Off‐leash Area (DOLA) in Evergreen has become so popular with dog owners that the land has suffered from overuse near the point of no return. The high level of use, coupled with challenging site constraints, has resulted in unsafe conditions for visitors and dogs, trampled natural vegetation, poor water quality, eroding soils and streambanks and lack of compliance from park visitors. Due to these conditions, the majority of the Elk Meadow Park DOLA will be closed on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 for major restoration work. The fenced area of the park will remain open and will undergo changes in management.

The remainder of the park will be closed indefinitely in order to allow the area to recover using tailored management strategies. “The tough decision to close the majority of the park became the most responsible choice to address the safety and environmental challenges at this site,” said Tom Hoby, Director of Jeffco Open Space. “We are currently working with a local group in order to keep a portion of the park open under strict conditions. These conditions include immediate and ongoing acceptable water quality levels, and compliance with all park regulations, parking and crosswalk requirements. If visitors to this area fail to comply with these requirements the remaining fenced area will be closed as well.”

A local group, called the Friends of Evergreen Dog Park (FEDP), is currently forming a non‐profit organization that will help to manage the portion of the Elk Meadow Park DOLA that will remain open. To address the current challenges, the FEDP will work to create a culture of voluntary compliance and stewardship through education and peer monitoring.

Jeffco Open Space hopes to offer uninterrupted access to this off‐leash area while a search is conducted for a new off‐leash area. Once a new site has been opened, the remaining fenced area of the Elk Meadow Park DOLA will be evaluated for future uses.