The owner of one of Anchorage’s most popular outdoor recreation areas is asking trail users to leash their pets — or risk $130 ticket.
Bureau of Land Management officials say the agency has received increasing complaints about illegal pets as visitors to the 730-acre Campbell Tract Special Recreation Management Area in the Abbott Loop area have increased.
She said that allowing pets to roam free in the wooded, trail-threaded area, which is primarily accessible near Elmore Road near East 68th Avenue, and also near Campbell Air Strip Road, has always been the norm. has been against
But that rule is often ignored, BLM officials said.
“What we saw was that it wasn’t being taken seriously,” said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Scott Claggett. To this end, we have installed new signage to make it more visible. We are not trying to blind people. We are trying to make people aware that there are consequences for not following the posted rules.
The agency noted the rules. A Facebook post this week, stating that Campbell Tract is “not an off-leash dog park,” while there are other off-leash dog parks in Anchorage.
The post noted that a violation could lead to a citation. It states that e-collars can be used instead of strips.
“Dogs and domestic animals must be on a leash at all times while recreation on the Campbell Tract,” the agency said. “This is for your safety, the safety of other guests, the safety of wildlife, and the safety of your pets.”
“BLM law enforcement rangers are enforcing this criminal offense. Please leash your pets,” the post said.
Claggett said visitation has “exploded” on the tract. Last year it saw more than 500,000 visitors annually.
He said that like other outlying areas nationally, more and more people started moving out during the pandemic.
Claggett said off-leash dogs raise safety concerns that people and animals could be hurt by lunges or angry dogs, and the agency wants to make sure every visitor has a good experience.
“It only takes one dog off leash to become a problem, even with dozens of other dogs on leashes,” he said.
The BLM said in its Facebook post that the use of the e-collar is consistent with the adjacent 4,000-acre Far North Bicentennial Park area, which belongs to the Municipality of Anchorage and is home to Hilltop Ski Area.
At the busy Smokejumper trailhead on Elmore Road Friday afternoon, some visitors came and went through the woods with dogs on leashes.
But many others were letting their pets roam free, apparently unaware of the agency’s new approach.
Some users said they would prefer to let their dogs walk off-leash, at least a little.
Luba Birki walked out of the trailhead with a blue sash around her waist. His “village special” husky mix moved to his side.
Berkey said he didn’t notice the new sign among all the other signs at the trailhead.
She said she understands the regulation in the summer when bears are out and moose are calving. But in the winter, it seems like owners should be able to temporarily let pets off the leash like she did with Buffy, putting the animal back on a leash when people approach.
Curtis Ricker, a BLM law enforcement ranger, arrived soon after.
He said he hasn’t issued tickets for loose dogs in the past, and has a number of enforcement areas, including illegal fires and logging.
But he said he will issue warnings to people with off-leash pets and now write them a citation if necessary.
“I’m not here to ruin people’s experiences,” he said. “I know some people don’t like it. But we want to keep it enjoyable for everyone.”
Ruth Van Hout, snowbiking through the trails with friends, had her Australian shepherd on a leash. Near the trail two moose had just left the trail.
She said she sometimes likes to let K2 run on its own. “It’s going to be challenging, because dogs get a kick out of being free,” she said of the leash law.
But she understands the reason behind it. She said other dogs can be aggressive with K2, because he is docile.
Still, it won’t be easy to always keep your dog on a leash while riding a bike, she said.
“I think e-collars are going to be the best way to go in the future,” he said.
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(Tags translation) Bill M (T) Bureau of Land Management (T) Campbell Tract (T) December (T) Lash Law