Letter: Attention Sanctuary Trail users
Misconceptions about the ownership and rules/laws for the Sanctuary Trail appear to be a factor behind its current misuse and disrespect. All Sanctuary Trail users need to understand the facts about the trail and abide by the laws/regulations governing the use of the trail and adjoining property.
1. The Sanctuary Trail is not city property. The only part of the trail owned by the city is the paved parking lot and 1.43 acres adjacent to the Fish Creek bridge.
2. The Sanctuary Trail extends from the intersection of Steamboat Boulevard/Golf View Way to Rollingstone Golf Course parking lot. All of Sanctuary Trail is within the Sanctuary subdivision and owned by individual property owners and the Sanctuary HOA.
3. The Sanctuary subdivision is within the city limits, so city leash law applies to the entire trail, parking lot and all adjoining privately owned land. Numerous signs are posted stating: “Dogs must be on leash and under control at all times. Clean up after your dog — it’s required by law. Dog waste transmits disease.” Sanctuary Trail is not an off-leash dog park.
4. City and Sanctuary laws and regulations prohibit all motorized vehicles on the trail, including e-bikes, scooters, skateboards and motorcycles, and signs are posted.
5. Sanctuary subdivision provides crucial habitat for many wildlife species, including bear, elk, moose, mountain lions and others that live, eat, breed and raise their young in the Sanctuary and Fish Creek drainage. These animals are struggling to find sufficient habitat and food due to our severe drought and will likely suffer a high mortality rate in coming months.
Despite laws/regulations that have existed for decades, adequate signage to inform trail users of permitted and prohibited activities by humans and dogs, a disturbing number of trail users disobey the laws and continue to allow their dogs to be unleashed and run through individual homeowners yards/gardens and the wooded common areas. These dog owners demonstrate zero respect and concern for the safety of other trail users, some of whom are vulnerable because of their young or “older” age or injuries. Unleashed dogs create unnecessary stress for wildlife when they chase them.
E-bikes and other motorized vehicles continue to be used on the trail despite signage prohibiting their use.
The willful disobedience of laws, lack of respect for Sanctuary Trail landowners, other trail users, environment and wildlife is deeply troubling. Aren’t we better than that?
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