Elk Meadow Park off-leash area wins national award

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The Elk Meadow Park Dog Off-Leash Area has received the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals’ 2013 Project Excellence Award.

The off-leash area was completed in 2012 with 3.2 miles of sustainable natural-surface trails, a 5-acre fenced "bark park," a parking lot and three stream crossings.

“The board believes this project represents a model of participative planning, development and resource protection that could be used as an example for other outdoor recreation providers dealing with similar special use areas,” said Sergio Capozzi, president of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals.

In the early 1990s, an informal dog training area was separated from the rest of Elk Meadow Park by a road. As years passed, increased use required more focused management. Miles of unsustainable social trails crisscrossed the park, resulting in heavy erosion, hazards and confusion for visitors. Nearby landowners complained of trespassing, trash and conflicts between dogs before the dog park was created.

“The enhancements made to the Elk Meadow Park Dog Off-leash Area exemplify the strong relationship between Open Space, our staff and the community,” said parks services supervisor Matthew Cox. “We listened to the concerns and worked together with the public to come up with solutions that satisfied all the vested parties, and now that the off-leash area is completed, the community support has been overwhelming.”

Elk Meadow is part of the Jeffco Open Space system.