After a successful three-month trial period, the verdict is in: Dogs likely will be allowed in Cheyenne Mountain State Park year-round.
During the summer, dogs were allowed on certain trails in the park south of Colorado Springs, but only if they followed the rules.
"We received a lot of favorable comments," said Mitch Martin, the park's manager, in a written statement. "Our campers were pleased and the change in policy brought in new visitors to the park. So we will be making a recommendation to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to change this regulation permanently."
The park's management must gain approval from the commission to officially change its regulations, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife release says. The formal change could take several months, but until then, dogs will continue to be allowed in the park.
Park rules include keeping dogs on a hand-held leash no longer than 6 feet, picking up waste and avoiding confrontations with other animals or park visitors.
And dogs must stay on designated trails - Acorn Alley, Bobcat Way, Raccoon Ridge and a portion of Soaring Kestrel - all of which connect to the park's campground, where dogs are allowed.
"Most people were responsible with their dogs and obeyed our regulations," Martin said. "We only wrote a couple tickets. But the vast majority of dog owners did their part. So we want to provide this new recreational opportunity to our visitors."
In May, Martin told The Gazette that one test of the policy would be whether all visitors continued to enjoy their experiences.
"This is a controversial issue," he said. "There's a lot of people who don't want to share the trails with dogs, yet there's other visitors who do want to hike the trails with their dogs."
A similar summer trial was conducted at Mueller State Park, located south of Divide in Teller County, but the results remain under review, the release says.
For more information about Cheyenne Mountain State Park, 410 JL Ranch Heights, call 687-2366 or visit cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/CheyenneMountain.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198