Open Space - News

Posted on: March 24, 2017

Entire Elk Meadow Park Dog Off-leash Area to Close on April 4

The Elk Meadow Park Dog Off-leash Area (DOLA) in Evergreen has multiple safety and environmental challenges that need to be addressed immediately. Earlier this month Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) evaluated keeping an eight acre area of the DOLA open for park visitor enjoyment. It has become apparent that this would help address some concerns, but not address all of them. In addition, this scenario was not embraced by many DOLA stakeholders. After careful consideration of all the facts, issues, perspectives and risks, JCOS has decided to close all 107 acres of the DOLA on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 for major restoration and to address safety concerns.

When faced with public health and safety issues at the DOLA, including widespread loss of native vegetation, soil erosion, degradation of the stream channel, poor water quality, and lack of compliance from park visitors, JCOS conducted three community meetings between January and March of 2017 to search for solutions. These meetings yielded many comments, suggestions and perspectives from stakeholders, including community members, frequent visitors and neighbors. The suggestion to keep a smaller fenced area open while a new off-leash dog park location could be identified in the local community was explored by staff. However, the assessment of that recommendation found it would further compromise the land, increase the expense of restoration and does not address visitor compliance.

As consistently indicated at all community meetings and through communications, JCOS does not believe the current DOLA site is suitable or sustainable for this use and that the land needs comprehensive ecological restoration. Given the JCOS mission to preserve open space and parkland, protect park and natural resources, and provide healthy, nature-based experiences JCOS believes that a full DOLA closure is the most responsible management approach.

To address public safety concerns on Stagecoach Boulevard adjacent to the DOLA, JCOS is working with Jefferson County Transportation and Engineering to prohibit parking along the road.

The upcoming full closure 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.

Jeffco Open Space was founded as a land conservation organization in 1972. Our mission is to preserve open space and parkland, protect park and natural resources, and provide healthy, nature-based experiences. Funded with a one-half of one percent sales tax, our organization contributes to city and park district projects, has preserved more than 54,000 acres, and manages 30 open space parks and more than 230 miles of trails in Jefferson County, Colorado.

Matt Robbins
Community Connections Manager
303-271-5902
[email protected]

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