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Dog Off-Leash Area Review
Dog Off-Leash Area Review
  • The dog training areas at Chatfield State Park and Cherry Creek State Park originally were created for training hunting dogs.
  • 1983 Chatfield Approved Board Item
  • The areas have become popular with other dog owners for off-leash exercise.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reviewing the management of the areas to better serve the public and ensure the sustainability of this valued resource.
  • The heavy off-leash use of these areas has impacted the natural resources and resulted in conflicts between off-leash dogs, bicyclists, equestrians, hikers and other users.
  • The review process started in 2006 when the Colorado Stat​e Parks Board (now Parks and Wildlife Commission) placed a moratorium on new dog training areas. They also requested staff to further study the two existing areas.
  • There is no plan to close the two dog training areas or eliminate other uses.

Three-Phase Process

1. Assessment: This phase began in 2006 and is now complete. Park managers hired several consultants to study current conditions and create baseline data. Research gathered includes:

2. Planning:

A. Park managers received public comments in 2009 as the first part of the planning phase.

Click to view Report

B. Colorado State Parks managers, planners and resource specialists drafted alternatives for each park and received public comment on the alternatives as the second part of the planning phase​ C. April 2010 Proposed Alternatives: D. May 2010 - Draft Preferred Alternatives

E. Stakeholder Review

In addition to receiving and analyzing public comment in July 2009, April 2010 and at the Parks Board meeting on May 6, 2010, park staff convened a panel of user stakeholders to meet and provide input and suggestions on modifying the Draft Preferred Alternatives. This group, made up of users from both Chatfield and Cherry Creek, met on May 25th and 26th. The User Stakeholder group reviewed and discussed the Planning Givens and suggested User Stakeholder Options as modifications to the Colorado State Parks Draft Preferred Alternatives.

State Parks presented their recommended preferred alternatives for the dog off-leash areas at Chatfield and Cherry Creek at the Parks Board meeting July 15th and 16th, 2010.
F. Colorado State Parks Board Approves Designated Dog Off-Leash Areas at Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks

The Colorado State Parks Board voted unanimously to create designated dog off-leash areas at Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks.

After the Colorado State Parks staff presentation on the preferred alternative for each park, the board listened to public comments. Board president Bill Kane praised the park staff for their work, including the extensive public outreach process.

The preferred alternatives were developed by park staff after analysis of studies and user surveys conducted between 2006 and 2008, and with input from interagency stakeholders, user stakeholders and public comments collected at 14 meetings. The plans reflect concerns from dog owners about acreage, water access, separation from other park users and dog waste disposal.

The two dog off-leash areas at Chatfield State Park and Cherry Creek State Park are the largest designated dog off-leash areas in the metropolitan area. The fenced dog off-leash area at Chatfield State Park will be approximately 69 acres. Two separate areas for hunting dog trainers to use through a permit system will add an additional 19.3 acres for a total of 88.3 acres. The fenced dog off-leash area at Cherry Creek State Park will be approximately 107 acres.

The designated off-leash areas respond to a requirement by the land owner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to develop plans for fenced dog exercise areas to ensure responsible and sustainable use of the land and water.

3. Implementation: The goal is to create and implement management plans that protect the resource, maximize the visitor experience and minimize or eliminate conflicts between user groups.