The Colorado National Monument enforces a policy which prevents people from walking their dogs on the designated trails. Does this motivate you to avoid visiting our local monument?

Yesterday marked another "Free Day" at the Colorado National Monument. I chose to pay a rare visit to the monument and take my dog for a hike. It had slipped my memory the policy against dogs on designated trails.

You might be wondering how a native of Grand Junction, who has lived here for 45 years, could forget this fact.

To be blunt, I only visit the Colorado National Monument on free days. It's not unlike a friend of mine, born and raised in New Orleans, who had never been to the French Quarter in his life. During my visit to New Orleans, like most tourists, the French Quarter was my first stop.

As a local, I tend to forget about the Monument. Western Colorado offers mountains o' plenty, and most are a few minutes from my driveway and have no access fee.

My complaint is not with the Colorado National Monument. They are simply enforcing the same rules observed by all national monuments. For that matter, I have no complaint at all.

According to the Colorado National Monuments web page, pets on a leash are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and pavement. Pets are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry.

With the restrictions on walking dogs on designated trails, though, comes a dilemma. If pets are not allowed on trails, and my motive is to take my dog for a walk on trails, obviously, visiting the Colorado National Monument is out of the question.

Does the Monument's restrictions on pets influence the amount of time you spend visiting? Do you avoid visiting the Monument in favor of other areas because of the restrictions?