EVERGREEN, Colo. -- Next week, hundreds of dog owners will need to find a new park. Jefferson County Open Space is closing the popular Evergreen dog park because of sanitation and parking problems.
Officials announced weeks ago that the Elk Meadow Dog Off Leash Area was closing, then said they would keep part of it open, then backtracked to a full closure.
Some dog owners hope this isn't the final decision.
Catherine Rubenstein brings her dogs to Elk Meadow Dog Park, which is surrounded by tall mountains and attracts people from all over the Denver metro area.
“They love it! I'm really disappointed that they're closing it.,” said Rubenstein.
Betsy Rich heads up a non-profit called Friends of Evergreen Dog Park. She says they tried to work with the county to keep it open.
“Every problem that they identify now, had they managed the park as they promoted it and expanded it, wouldn't be a problem today," said Rich. “From parking to dog waste, to it was going to be management membership base so if people weren't following the rules we can kick them out. We had answers to every single one of their problems.”
Officials cited overuse and massive amounts of dog waste as the reason why the park needs to close. The amount of waste stacked up to about 40 to 80 pounds per month. Rich says at least a hundred volunteers cleaned up the waste once a month.
Matt Robbins with Jefferson County Open Space says they plan to reopen the park eventually, but this time it will be required to leash your dog.
The dog park is set to close April 4. You can face a $100 fine for the first offense if you're caught inside the dog park after the closing date.
A thousand people are expected at a rally this Saturday to protest the park’s closure. The rally starts at 2 p.m. at the RTD Bergan Park-n-Ride on the corner of Highway 74 and County Road 65 in Evergreen.