Leash zones, trail bans and limits on number of dogs per person are under consideration.

By: Mike Koshmrl

Five types of dog regulation are being considered for high-traffic portions of the Bridger-Teton. National Forest.  A week ahead of a public workshop about the doggy rules, Bridger-Teton managers released a list of options being considered for the Cache Creek area and on Teton Pass.

One option would be to establish a leash zone in “critical areas at critical times” while another would prohibit dogs altogether on “certain trails” during the winter.

A third possibility is that dog owners would need a permit to have a dog off-leash in “certain areas” of the national forest.

Another alternative is to allow dogs only on certain days of the week, and the last option is to limit the number of dogs allowed per person.

An option that is not being considered is changing nothing, Bridger-Teton spokeswoman Angelica Cacho said.

“We tried the education portion, and it didn’t seem to be working, ” Cacho said. “So we’re definitely going to go the next step and establish some type of regulation.”

The five options in concept have been finalized, Cacho said, but the details of the plans are still being sorted out and were not available Tuesday.

By October 14, the day of a Bridger-Teton meeting at Teton County Public Library, the options should be more fleshed out. The workshop is set for 5:30 – 7:30p.m.

The workshop’s goal is to explore “nrew ways to improve dog owner responsibility on behalf of safety for people and dogs, clean water and wildlife,” a Bridger-Teton notice said.

“We want to be a dog-friendly community that cares about wildlife, a healthy environment and access to nature,” Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter said in a statement. “But with more of us around, the need for dog owners to be responsible for their dog(s) is growing every year.

“Current problems in the interface areas of the national forest near town include dog waste, aggressive dog behavior towards other dogs or people, dogs harassing wildlife and dogs getting injured or killed,” Deiter said.

“These problems will not improve on their own; we must work together to improve dog owner responsibility before problems get worse.”

For a week in March dogs were prohibited from the Cache Creek drainage as a “time-out” to bad-behaving dogs and their owners.

The seasonal focus of the regulations being considered is the winter. That’s the time when “the need to protect wintering wildlife is most critical,” the Bridger-Teton notice said.

Whatever option is settled on could take effect by this winter, but certainly by next year, Cacho said.

The Bridger-Teton will be accepting public comment on the five potential dog regulations through Oct 30. Instructions on how to comment will be included in cards that will be distributed at the workshop, and also posted online.