What's the Scoop on the Poop?
Picking up and packing out pet waste on SLT-conserved properties has never been easier. Last year, Stowe Land Trust installed pet waste bag dispensers at Kirchner and Wiessner Woods and the Mill Trail trailheads. Forgot to bring your own bag? No problem. Poo Crew volunteers, Marie Kingsbury and Sheila Goss, are making sure the dispensers are stocked with bags and also help monitor and promote pet waste pick up on the trails. Thanks Marie & Sheila!
Are the Poo Crew efforts making a difference? Generally, it looks like the word is getting out that it's important to pick up after your pet on our trails.
Our trails appear cleaner and most dog walkers are picking up and packing out. But not everyone is doing their part. This year's monitoring results show more poop piles being counted along trails at both Wiessner and Kirchner Woods than at the same time last year.
This year's mild winter and lack of snow compared to the regular snowfall we received last year could account for much of this difference. When there's deep snow, piles that are left behind go undetected until the snow melts. For much of last winter, weekly poop pile counts were low - less than 15 on each trail network - but in late March and early April when the snow melted, counts soared above 60 as hidden piles were revealed.
Stowe Land Trust's goal is to have Zero Pet Waste left behind on all of our community's trails - not just at Wiessner and Kirchner Woods.
That means everyone picks up every time at all the popular dog walking spots (you know where they are). We know that in Stowe - where people really care about the health and beauty of our environment and community - we can get there.
Top 5 Reasons to Scoop that Poop
1. It's the courteous thing to “doo.” There’s nothing worse than smelling and stepping in dog poop. We’ve all been there. Yuck!
2. It’s easy. Once you get in the habit of having a bag with you, picking up and packing out becomes a habit. Easy as 1-2-3!
3. It prevents the spread of diseases to other pets and people. Infected pet poop can carry the eggs of roundworms and other parasites (like cryptosporidium, giardia, and salmonella) which can linger in soil for years and infect other dogs and people. Young children are particularly at risk.
4. It helps keep our lakes and streams clean. Pet waste carries nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous that feed the growth of weeds and algae in the water. An average size dog dropping produces 3 billion fecal coliform bacteria. Pets are responsible for up to one-third of bacterial pollution in waterways near developed areas. EPA estimates that two or three days' worth of droppings from just 100 dogs contributes enough bacteria to temporarily close a waterbody to swimming and fishing.
5. It makes dog owners look good. Dog poop is the number one reason for negative public sentiment against dogs. Every time someone doesn’t pick up after their dog, they are giving one more reason for others to dislike dogs and dog owners. When you do pick up, it sets a great example for others to follow!
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