Local dog owners launch effort to clean up trails

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Some dog owners concerned about their pets being banned from trails in Juneau are starting a movement to adopt and clean those areas.

Grateful Dogs, Juneau's new advocacy group for responsible dog walkers, will sponsor a "poop scoop" at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Dike Trail by the Juneau Airport.

The Grateful Dogs group plans to clean the trail once a month and encourages others in the community to adopt other popular dog-walking trails, group member Sue McGregor told the Dog Task Force on Monday.

"We want to educate people while we're out there," McGregor said.

Meanwhile, David Crosby and Clovis Dennis of Juneau want to form a similar group for the Twin Lakes area, where they walk their shelties.

Crosby sometimes sees beer cans, soda bottles and litter in the area, which is open to fishing, he said.

"It's incumbent upon us for those of us who want to keep these areas open," he said.

The Gastineau Humane Society is also interested in encouraging the creation of "friends" groups, which would adopt portions of trails around Juneau, Executive Director Chava Lee said. Details on how to structure these groups have not been determined, she said.

This latest movement is an example of dog owners being part of the solution, not the problem, said Grateful Dogs member Perry Shipman, who breeds golden retrievers. While the majority of dog owners are responsible, Shipman said he is worried a small number of irresponsible owners will prompt the community to ban dogs from most trails.

"It's not the dogs; it's the owners who are allowing their dogs a free run," he said.

The Dog Task Force continues to meet regularly and has made no decisions about whether dogs will be banned on trails in Juneau. The group created three subcommittees to discuss education, wildlife and off-leash areas. Final recommendations are expected this spring.

Grateful Dogs formed in December as an outgrowth of the Dog Task Force's mission to address problems on trails, such as dog encounters with other trail users and pet waste. The group wants to focus on responsible dog-owners' citizenship through classes and other community events.

People interested in the trail cleanup on Saturday are asked to bring a bucket, trash bags and gloves.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at tara.sidor@juneauempire.com.

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