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Draper considers dog restrictions as excrement contaminates watershed in Corner Canyon

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Posted at 9:50 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 23:50:52-04

DRAPER, Utah - Soon dogs may not be allowed in Corner Canyon. The Draper City Council is considering a proposal that would change canine access to the trail system.

It’s come up because the canyon southeast of Draper is a watershed area. City officials said they’ve tried to keep it open to for pets, but it’s gotten to the point of a public health issue.

“We have found that there are really high levels of coliform in the water,” said Draper City public information officer Maridene Alexander.

Corner Canyon is a major source of culinary water for Draper residents, but the city says dog waste is contaminating it. The levels of coliform bacteria have been tested at 1,200 ppm, average levels would be around 50 ppm. The problem, Alexander said, is some dog owners aren’t cleaning up after their pets.

“We’re finding that people are taking their dogs up into the canyon and not removing the dog waste out of the canyon,” Alexander said. “It’s really causing the levels to be quite high.”

Draper City bought the land in Corner Canyon 11 years ago, with the promise to protect the watershed. In the past they’ve tried to keep dog owners responsible by posting signs, delivering memos to homes, and even recruiting volunteers to walk the trails to educate people. But those efforts don’t seem to be working.

“It’s not outrageous, but it is disturbing,” said trail user Russell Haward. “There’s dog crap in the middle of the trail, or quite often I’ve seen them, it’s been bagged up and it’s just been dropped on the side of the trail.”

The city council is considering a proposal to close off dog access to the upper canyon trail areas. That would limit them to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Potato Hill, and south of Traverse Ridge Road.

Tuesday, the council heard public comment from dog owners who urged them not to close the area because a few people are being irresponsible.

“It seems to be jumping from education directly to, we’re going to ban everyone,” said Draper resident Lisa Lavanger. “I feel like there’s a middle ground that people need to look at.”

The city council will review public comments and draft an ordinance that will be presented at their next city council meeting.