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The City Journals

Dogs Now Banned in Corner Canyon

May 05, 2016 01:02PM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Draper - The Draper City Council unanimously approved the banning of dogs in Corner Canyon above the Bonneville Shoreline Trail during its March 29 meeting. The decision was reached after hearing public input from multiple residents on both sides of the debate. 

The issue of banning dogs stems from concern over contaminating the watershed in the canyon from dog feces. During the March 15 City Council meeting, Recreation Director Rhett Ogden explained that Water Pro, the water utility company for Draper, has been working with city officials to keep the water clean over the years while still allowing dogs in the area. However, Water Pro representatives have expressed concern several times over the water contamination due to dog feces. 

“Dog waste is still a problem despite efforts,” Ogden said. 

Other canyons and watersheds typically have a bacterial level of 50 parts per million. The bacterial levels in Corner Canyon is 1,200 parts per million. 

“Dog waste is the largest source of the bacteria,” Ogden said.

Dogs are banned anywhere above the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, including Cherry Creek. Dogs are still allowed below the trail. In exchange for the ban, dogs will now be allowed on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail going north into Sandy. Ogden explained the reason for the choosing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was because it was a simple line everyone could understand. In the past, other trails and lines had been used to ban dogs, but it was confusing for residents. 

Even after banning dogs, it would take four to five years for the water to become entirely clean. 

During the March 15 meetings, pro-dog residents spoke out against the banning of dogs. Resident Laura Wheatley explained she and her family moved to Draper because of her active lifestyle with her dog. She blamed irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up dog waste for ruining it for everyone else. 

“You’re taking away the lifestyle of responsible dog owners,” Wheatley said. 

Resident Lisa Levanger suggested picking up dog feces should be better enforced before going straight to an all-out ban. She agreed with Wheatley, saying the irresponsible dog owners are ruining for everyone else. She said she always picks up and throws away her dog’s waste. 

“That’s my job as a dog owner,” Levanger said. 

During the March 29 meeting, residents spoke out in favor of the dog ban, citing the concern over water contamination. Resident Celeste Bain said she has dedicated the last 28 years of her life to ensuring people in South America have access to clean water after witnessing an infant death due to contaminated water. 

“I never thought I would have to bring the fight to Draper,” Bain said. 

Bain said this is not an issue of freedom for animal owners since there are several locations outside the watershed available for dogs and their owners. Rather, this was an issue of clean water. 

Resident Mary Squire also spoke in favor of banning the dogs in the canyon. She said people take for granted the fact they have access to clean water. 

“We turn on the water, and we don’t give it a second thought,” Squire said. 

Water Pro’s Assistant General Manager David Garner was also at the meeting to answer any questions the council may have had. He said he was pleased to see the public turnout in favor of the dog ban. He also suggested the council should take up a campaign to clean the area more than what is already taking place.

“It’s really going to take years [to get clean],” Garner said.

Councilmember Jeff Stenquist said he believed the matter of banning the dogs shouldn’t have even been an issue of debate. 

“This is an issue of health,” he said. 

While he believed it was good to have a discussion over any matter, he was in favor of the ban. 

“At the end of the day, dog owners need to be responsible,” Stenquist said.