I love the riverfront trail, but I sure don't like what I regularly find on the trail.

Thousands of people use the riverfront trail across the Grand Valley each week along with, perhaps, hundreds of dogs. I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man, but it gets a little irritating to constantly run across dog droppings on the trail. I'm not frustrated with the dogs, but  I am a little annoyed by their humans.

Here's the thing. When dogs go for a walk, there's a good chance they are going to do their business. The place where the business lands is likely going to be in a park, a neighbor's yard, or in the middle of a trail. I am extremely grateful for all the fine folks in the Grand Valley who take their dog for a walk - and go prepared with a plastic bag--just in case there's business to take care of. Responsible dog owners make me quite happy, and we are blessed to have so many of those people in Grand Junction.

Unfortunately, not every dog owner is a responsible one, and consequently we get dog business left on the trail that we are trying to walk, run, or bike on. Whenever I see this, I have questions that come to mind.

Zane Mathews

Was there a dog using this trail without its human? I guess it's possible, but highly unlikely. I don't know that I have ever seen a stray dog on the trail in all the countless times I've been on it.

Did the dog's owner inexplicably not notice their pooch had stopped to take a dump? Seems unlikely. If the dog stops, the human has to stop, right? Unless, of course, the human had left the dog off-leash and wasn't paying attention. That is a conversation for another day and another post.

Did the human who accompanied the dog simply not care their dog had just made a mess on a public trail that's going to affect every trail user? I suspect the sad answer to that question is, in some cases, yes.

Did the dog owner not come prepared with a plastic bag or two in their pocket or didn't notice the convenient receptacles that are placed along the trail for this very purpose? I understand that it's pretty easy to forget to bring a poop bag. It's probably happened to everyone. But, when you are on the riverfront trail, there is generally a  green box with plastic bags and a waste bucket at the trail ahead. In many cases, you will see these at various points along the trail. My advice to those who have arrived at the trailhead without a poop bag is to go ahead and grab one at the beginning of your hike from the box provided. If you don't need it, you can always put it back at the end of the walk.

Like I said, I'm so glad that most dog owners are responsible and take care of their dog's business wherever it may occur. It seems like my world would be just a little happier if we could get a little higher rate of participation in the clean-up process and then I could spend less time of my run trying to avoid a mess.

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