Jill Waldman: Proposed fence would be ‘scar’ on Rita Valentine Park landscape
In response to the Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial, “Our view: We’re digging’ Steamboat Digs Dogs’ approach,” I wanted to point out a few issues you may not have considered when writing the editorial. While it’s great Steamboat Digs Dogs worked with the city and some of the improvements would be wonderful and appreciated, it seems neither side thought through the details and ramifications of a fenced park.
A fence will be obsolete almost half the year as snow will make the fence only 1 to 2 feet high with the 3 to 5 feet of snow that settles in the park. The low fence could endanger both wildlife and dogs who may get caught on it or fall off snowdrifts.
The fence as it is currently drawn, along Hilltop Parkway and Anglers Drive, will encourage wildlife to take a route on or near the road, endangering themselves as well as humans, car and bike traffic.
There is currently only one fence gate on the drawing. With only one entrance point, parking will become an issue in the lot off Anglers, where is it already sometimes crowded. Walking to the park will be discouraged with a fence as one would have to walk their dog to an entry point, thereby having dogs outside the fenced area.
It does not seem any detail or forethought was put into the fence route or overall location. The fence does not follow the natural contours of the landscape nor does it have ample entry points. When snow falls, gates other than the main entrance will not be able to open or close with snow and drifts. As drawn, the fence goes up the sledding hill area, which is used by many children in the winter and would create a dangerous obstacle.
The fence does not consider other park users, including bikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers or hikers. The fence makes the open space a closed space and will make it more difficult for these users in this space.
This fenced area does not take into consideration the distance from private homes that will be affected by the fenced area.
A fence will be a scar on the beautiful landscape that is Rita Valentine Park. The fence will be an eyesore both in the park and along Hilltop Parkway, taking away from the beautiful view of our mountain and landscape.
If a fence is a must, a small .5 to 1-acre area would be much more appropriate, as that is the average size of fenced dog parks in other parts of the country.
Thank you for your consideration of these points in your continued coverage of Rita Valentine Park improvements.
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