Dogs at Westwater - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-27-2007   #1
 
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Dogs at Westwater

Hi,

Many of the folks on this board get out to Westwater from time to time, so this may be of some interest.

Every year, when BLM gets ready to re-issue the stipulations for Westwater, they look at the issue of dogs. Dogs presently are allowed on the river there. But the current policy is not without its problems -- with dogs off leash at the ramps, and boaters not cleaning up after their animals in the campsites on the river.

Here is the way another component of the Department of Interior is headed. Not to say that is where WW is going to go, but the logic employed at Lake Powell to justify the ban on dogs is pretty expandable to other locations. As with many things in life, there a small number of folks can potentially cause the policy to be changed -- to the detriment of others.

***

From the March 29, 2007 Glen Canyon Compendium

36 CFR 2.15 - PETS

The following areas are designated closed to pets: All archeological sites. All marinas, docks, walkways, and launch ramps, except when proceeding directly to or from a boat.

Along the San Juan River from Clay Hills Crossing upstream to the Glen Canyon NRA boundary as designated by required permit available through the Bureau of Land Management. Orange Cliffs special permit area.

Rainbow Bridge NM, except for pets in vessels at the courtesy docks.

Dogs are prohibited on the Colorado River downstream from the dam to the boundary of Grand Canyon NP except when used in support of hunting activities in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws.

Dogs and other companion animals are prohibited from entering Coyote Gulch within the boundaries of GCNRA. (This prohibition does not apply to guide dogs accompanying visual impaired persons or to hearing ear dogs accompanying hearing impaired persons.)

This prohibition includes all dogs or other pet animals used to carry or transport recreational equipment or food. Determination

The prohibition against pets in archaeological sites is intended to protect such areas from unnecessary impacts due to digging or depositing of waste matter.

Marinas, docks, walkways, and launch ramps are all areas which may be congested at times with many other people (and pets).

*** NOTE THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS ***

These areas are restricted in order to prevent the unnecessary intrusion of a pet onto other visitors who may not want the pet in their immediate presence but cannot otherwise avoid it or who may feel the pet is in their way unnecessarily. It is also intended to prevent conflicts between visitors, persons and pets, or between animals by reducing the period during which a pet is in the immediate area.

Sanitation is also an important factor in this determination as there
are no appropriate places for pets to urinate or defecate.

Pets are prohibited in the Orange Cliffs area to remain consistent
with the backcountry management plan for Canyonlands NP, which adjoins the boundary of Glen Canyon NRA. Canyonlands NP issues all 21 permits for this area.

***NOTE THIS AS WELL ***

Dogs are prohibited from entering Coyote Gulch in order to preserve the scenic, cultural, and experiential values of this desert riparian habitat. Frequent observations of dogs not kept under physical restraint (leashed) indicates an increased potential for adverse impacts on vegetation, water quality, wildlife habitats, and natural quiet. This restriction further serves to limit the potential for the spread of canine diseases to or from native carnivore populations. SEE APPENDIX A FOR DETERMINATION/JUSTIFICATION.

The Rainbow Bridge NM GMP establishes a prohibition against pets as an inappropriate activity within the Monument. To prevent recreational user conflicts and to be consistent with the management of Grand Canyon NP, dogs are prohibited on the Colorado River downstream of the dam except when used in support of hunting activities in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws. --Pet excrement within 1/4 mile of the shores of Lake Powell must be removed and disposed of in the same manner as human waste. Pet excrement in other areas of the park must be treated as human waste and disposed in the same manner.

Determination Pet excrement contributes to sanitation problems along the shores of Lake Powell. It is imperative that, like human wastes, pet wastes are contained and deposited in appropriate and safe ways in order to keep Lake Powell waters safe.

***

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
VP, GPCBA

Join Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association at Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. click on "Join", and support active, ongoing private boater representation on Grand Canyon issues. And follow GC issues on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gcpba/messages

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Old 07-27-2007   #2
 
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I have no problem with dogs at the ramp as long as they are managed and friendly. Know your own dog and how it interacts with other dogs and people. Let BLM create a regulation that says the ranger can require a dog to be leashed if he/she deems it necessary. That is a little more work for the BLM, but we are out there to enjoy the river and the canyons and after all it is their job to facilitate that. Yeah that will make the BLM job a little more active, but only for the bad dog owners. The duty of the public is not to make the land managers' jobs easier, the duty of the land managers is to facilitate maximum freedom for the public while protecting the resource.

The only real issue here is poop. Owners who do not curb their dogs are the problem and they will ruin it for everyone. I don't agree with the leash regulation, but unless you have a dog who will poop on command like my friend's border collie, then how do you know where your dog pooped when he was off-leash?

I hate over-regulation of our public lands and rivers, but the way this is going, the idiots are going to screw everyone out of a good deal. My solution is to impose a huge fine on people who don't curb their dogs. Start at $1,000 and if it doesn't work, jack it up geometrically. That will fix 99% of the poop problem and responsible dog owners will be able to enjoy the resource unencumbered by overbearing regulation. BLM should put the onus where it belongs - on those who are not respectful of the resource and other users - and leave the responsible public alone.
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Old 07-27-2007   #3
 
Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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Boarder Collie

Are you talking about Ed the Boarder Collie?
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Old 07-27-2007   #4
 
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I know dog owners love their dogs and feel compelled to take them everywhere, but C'MON! The rest of us don't need to wade thru their dogshit, nor do we share your love for your pet. Selfish, self-involved dog owners are their (and their pets') own worst enemies. Dogs chasing wildlife and crapping where they shouldn't are reasons enough in my mind to keep dogs out of environmentally sensitive places. But reasoning with (some) dog owners is nearly impossible.
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Old 07-27-2007   #5
 
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Hi Caspian,

Let me start by saying I'm probably as libertarian as you are in most of my thinking. I really don't think we're very far apart, it at all on this.

But I don't like having to navigate around dog poop at the ramp or clean it up where I want to put my kitchen in a camp downriver. That's happened to me many times in my more than 200 trips down there. Plus, I've seen dogfights at the ramp, and other inarguably problematic behavior on the part of dogs there and at Cisco.

(And of course it's a different issue, but there are the fools who tie their dog to the bumper of the truck at Cisco on a hot August day, with nothing but a pan of water that they can't get to when the line gets tangled around a bush. leaving them stranded in the hot sun where a lion or other predator can get to them. I've seen that more than once as well.)

Fact is, leash regulations are already in effect in the WW locations we're talking about, and owners are already required to clean up after their dogs.

My point is simple. It's the lack of compliance with those common-sense, and commonly-adopted-in-public-areas regulations that is going to lead to more regulation -- which both you and I deplore. It is, regrettably, the way the world works.

And this Lake Powell regulation is a sign of things to come. Regardless of what you think an agency's duty is, it will make what it considers reasonable regulations, within its resources, to achieve its statutory goals. In this case, they are to preserve the resource and also maintain public order.

And in any case, do you really want a volunteer ranger checking people in on a busy Saturday morning authorized to issue $1,000 tickets? Or would you rather they call a sworn BLM officer or a Grand County Sheriff deputy in from 60 miles away to write a boater up for a dog off leash? Come on.....

I think BLM does an excellent job managing WW. More importantly perhaps, most boaters are responsible in the way they travel through this beautiful little canyon. More than a thousand folks go down there every week in prime season. It's a testimony to their ability to comply with reasonable regulations that Westwater's camps and the canyon itself are so clean and wilderness-like. Why can't they be equally compliant and considerate with regard to dogs as well?

The reason I posted this was to illustrate that the DOI has provided Moab BLM with a precedent and a rationale to impose new restrictions (or a total ban) if problems continue. Forewarned is forearmed.

I don't care for it either. I mean, isn't it a concern when rules like this can go into effect to accomodate people, "who may not want the pet in their immediate presence but cannot otherwise avoid it or who may feel the pet is in their way unnecessarily". That gets down to something pretty close to "some people might be afraid of, or just plain don't like dogs, so we'll ban all of them." And while there may be other more legitimate concerns, that one that really catches the critical eye.

Let's all hope it never comes to that, because next thing you know, you might find there are people out there who are afraid of beer drinkers......

FWIW.

Rich Phillips

VP, GCPBA
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Old 07-27-2007   #6
TF
 
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There are already regulations in place for dogs on BLM Lands. These can be found under 43 CFR.

In all developed sites on BLM Administered Lands, and yes, WW Put-in and Take-outs are considered developed sites, pets are required to be physically restrained.

Also, Grand County, Utah, which WW is in, also has a county wide leash law already in place, so technically, all dogs in WW need to be on a leash.

WW also has stipulations in place that require dog owners to pack out their dog's waste. This carries a minimum fine of $175.00 and as with all BLM Regluations a max. fine of $100,000 and 10 years Jail. And all BLM Regulations, with the acception of those that fall under the Taylor Grazing Act are also Class A Mis.

So, dog owners need to start taking responsibility, OR the WW River Rangers will call out the BLM Law Enforcement Rangers, who will take action and start issuing citations to dog owners. The Law Enforcement Rangers already show up at the River put-in and take-out and are on patrol on the river... so lets keep them happy and follow the regulations that are already in place.
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Old 07-28-2007   #7
 
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Hi TF,

Thanks for a more precise explanation of the current status of dogs at WW and in the other relevant jurisdictions.

The point of my original post was that at Lake Powell, they have completely closed many areas to dogs, and that the DOI evidently has developed a rationale (one that seems pretty broad) that also could be applied to ban them entirely at WW. Of course, any ban would also have to apply up at Loma as well, since an awful lot of dogs seen at WW are with trips taking out from a run down Ruby/Horsethief.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
VP, GCPBA
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Old 07-28-2007   #8
 
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Yeah damn redneck dogs shooting up cans of propane and leaving whiskey bottles as kindlin in the campfire pits. I love dogs and have probably waded through the shit humans have left behind more than dogs(cept for that 200lb newfie next door). As long as dogs arent being aggressive I dont see them as a detriment to most outdoor endeavours, we bring ours most places she is allowed. We do a lot hiking 14ers as well as boating and I see a lot of misuse of our lands probably not caused by dogs.
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Old 07-30-2007   #9
 
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I think this is a very good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thogan View Post
I see a lot of misuse of our lands probably not caused by dogs.
For some reason people seem to be annoyed, but accept the abuse that people inflict on our public lands. We may curse and whine, but what do you do? Ban idiots? Dogs seem to suffer from more of a "no tolerance" attitude and get booted out for problems that are, in fact, caused by the owners. The dog isn't going to pick up its poop, it is the owners responsibility. For those that don't want them in their immediate vicinity, I again think that is a person/owner problem, but hey, I don't want to listen to your blaring music, motors, generators, or kids screaming.

Dogs sure take a toll on desert soil though.

I think dog lovers/owners need to be vocal and active. With the huge surge of dog parks in the us, we are not the minority. A couple of complaints a year does not justify banning. Speak your mind, disagree, support allowing dogs if you agree.

My personal belief is that often the natural resource is a diversionary tactic to justify banning them by people who just don't like dogs, and having them around. Sure, some places it is valid, but up here in Montana we have one permit river that requires leashes on the whole river. Problem here is annoying people, and livestock (chasing of which is already grounds for being shot). No more natural resource impact up here from dogs than people tearing around. So it is lack of tolerance more than anything, and irresponsible owners.

Why will they gladly enforce certain laws, but others seem to be too much of a bother?
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Old 07-30-2007   #10
 
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I enjoy dogs, but my question is WHY do so many dog owners think they are ENTITLED to "share" their dog experience with the world? That strikes me as incredibly self-centered. One person's lovable, loved pet is another person's wildlife-chasing, freely crapping and yapping mutt.

Dogs can be wonderful companions, no question. But the whole world doesn't share that need or desire.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
I think this is a very good point.



For some reason people seem to be annoyed, but accept the abuse that people inflict on our public lands. We may curse and whine, but what do you do? Ban idiots? Dogs seem to suffer from more of a "no tolerance" attitude and get booted out for problems that are, in fact, caused by the owners. The dog isn't going to pick up its poop, it is the owners responsibility. For those that don't want them in their immediate vicinity, I again think that is a person/owner problem, but hey, I don't want to listen to your blaring music, motors, generators, or kids screaming.

Dogs sure take a toll on desert soil though.

I think dog lovers/owners need to be vocal and active. With the huge surge of dog parks in the us, we are not the minority. A couple of complaints a year does not justify banning. Speak your mind, disagree, support allowing dogs if you agree.

My personal belief is that often the natural resource is a diversionary tactic to justify banning them by people who just don't like dogs, and having them around. Sure, some places it is valid, but up here in Montana we have one permit river that requires leashes on the whole river. Problem here is annoying people, and livestock (chasing of which is already grounds for being shot). No more natural resource impact up here from dogs than people tearing around. So it is lack of tolerance more than anything, and irresponsible owners.

Why will they gladly enforce certain laws, but others seem to be too much of a bother?
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