While waiting in line at the post office or at the chairlift last winter, there were the usual conversations: how to ski the new Park City and traffic, of course. But an even more popular topic was how city council had finally thrown the area’s dog-loving throngs a long-awaited bone.
In January, the council unanimously designated 1,400 acres of coveted Round Valley open space as an off-leash dog-walking area. Though officially a pilot program only through mid-June (the Off-Leash Task Force, formed at the same time the law was passed, has monitored Round Valley since the designation went into effect), it’s likely that dogs will be allowed to run free there permanently. Or at least as long as dog owners continue to respect and follow the rules.
Protocol for letting your best friend lose the leash starts on arrival. Both when approaching from the outside and returning to the trailhead to leave, all dogs must be tethered within 150 feet of Round Valley trailheads. Your pooch must remain within sight of you at all times while off the leash and obey “come,” “sit,” and “stay” commands, regardless of what else is going on. It’s always good trail etiquette to leash up as you approach another trail user. And, if your dog packs it in (i.e., poops), it’s your job to pack it out.
“I think Round Valley’s off-leash designation caused concerned dog owners to rise to a higher level of understanding about the impacts that dogs can have on trail users and wildlife,” says Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Charlie Sturgis. “Overall I felt it was a start in the right direction to an acceptable long-term solution that the Park City community can enjoy going into the future.”