Dogs are barred from trails at Mueller State Park in Teller County once again following a summer experiment to gauge their impact on the land, wildlife and other visitors.

Rangers at Mueller received numerous complaints about dogs and issued seven tickets for rule violations, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said in a statement. The trial period began June 1. Dog were allowed on specific trails and owners were asked to keep them on a hand-held leash no longer than 6 feet, avoid confrontations with animals and other visitors, and pick up pet waste.

“We had reports of dogs chasing small wildlife such as foxes, squirrels and rabbits,” park manager John Geerdes said in the release. “And we heard, over and over again, that people come here to hike because it is one of the last places they can do so and not encounter dogs. Many come for the wildlife experience and say dogs ruin that for them.”

The park logged 88 written and verbal comments, with many visitors noting fewer big game sightings along the trails where dogs were allowed to hike this summer. “There was not enough positive evidence to justify allowing dogs on trails and in the backcountry,” Geerdes said in the release.

Meanwhile, rangers at Cheyenne Mountain State Park said a similar trial program there over summer was successful. Dogs now are allowed on the Acorn Alley, Raccoon Ridge and Bobcat Way trails as well as the portion of Soaring Kestral Trail that connects Bobcat with the park’s campgrounds. Dogs must be kept on a 6-foot leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up dog waste.

For more, read this story in its entirety on the Colorado Springs Gazette.

For more news from around the state, check out our HERE & NOW section.

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