Do Not Create a Fenced, Dog-Only Area in Powderhorn Park

This petition made change with 108 supporters!

Powderhorn Belongs to All People

I am writing in opposition to changing Powderhorn Park. As discussed, a large portion of the park is being planned to become a fenced dog park. I agree and support the implementation of a dog park in the county but I do not believe that an already developed, small urban park that sees heavy daily use is the place for it. This is a terrible idea that amounts to a land grab by a special interest group (PAWS) of one of the few small public green spaces available on the west side of Jackson.

It is well known that there are issues with owners not controlling their dogs in public areas in Jackson Hole. This is why Cache Creek was recently closed to dogs this spring. On a daily basis, we see the laws being flaunted around town and in Powderhorn Park itself. People do not leash their dogs, have them under control or clean up after them. Even though there are many signs at Powderhorn Park stating dogs are not currently allowed, there are dogs in the park daily – both supervised and unsupervised. At the recent planning meeting at the library, two of the attendees freely admitted to breaking the current law daily because it suits their needs. There also seems to be no enforcement of existing regulations.

During the December 15th town council meeting, Steve Ashworth from the Parks department basically pushed through Powderhorn Park as the dog park location. It was brought up publicly at the same meeting it was approved, although PAWS was given prior knowledge. There was no chance for neighbors to know about the approval or discuss possible opposition to the location. To paraphrase Mr. Ashworth, “I was in Powderhorn Park … around the lunch hour and saw several people come to Powderhorn Park and utilize a grassy spot… what I would consider a dog park… It is an area where we have issues with compliance in town.” Mr. Ashworth then pitched the idea to give in to the law breakers by taking the park away from everyone else. The residents of this neighborhood, dog owners and non-owners alike, deserve to have their voices heard on this issue.

This would not be an issue if Powderhorn Park was a vacant lot. It is a heavily used park that would see problems of loss of space, parking issues, hygienic issues and potential child-dog conflicts. The space is one third of the size PAWS requested and is smaller than some people's yards. Of all the myriad reasons to oppose the dog park in Powderhorn Park, it really all boils down to this: Powderhorn Park belongs to all the citizens of this town, not one user group backed by a powerful special interest.

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