Dogs continue to be a problem at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort despite efforts made by owners to remain pet-friendly.
Kelly Canyon Co-Owner David Stoddard said cross-country skiers like to bring their dogs while they recreate, however safety concerns remain an issue.
“We have ongoing dialogue with people in that group as well as the Forest Service,” he said. “We have attempted a number of solutions over the past several years; none of them seem to be to the satisfaction of the group.”
Stoddard indicated that pet related incidents are a growing trend in the ski resort industry. Due to the increase in pet related incidents, Stoddard said they are continuously chastised from their insurance company.
“We are continuing to work through those areas,” he said. “We hope to get to something, to keep most of the people happy, most of the time.”
The resort currently has a “no pet” policy, but in the past couple seasons they have tried with the Forest Service to allow dogs if they are on a leash and if the pet owners pick up after them. Stoddard said 99 percent of them do not do this.
“And they’re not going to do that; we’ve tried it,” he said.
Jefferson County Public Works Director Dave Walrath indicated that a letter was also sent from the Idaho Falls Ski Club to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stating that the skiers have their dogs on a leash until they get into the forest.
Stoddard said this is not true.
He said an alternative they have considered—that would require support from the Forest Service— is establishing a specific area for recreationists who want to bring their pet, similar to what was done near Grand Targhee Ski Resort.
“We just need things that work, that don’t get anyone hurt and don’t end up in a lawsuit,” he said.
Walrath said parking is another issue the resort is trying to overcome, particularly with visitors parking in the right-of-way when the main parking lot is full. He added that it has been an issue since he worked for Madison County roughly nine-years-ago.
Vehicles parking in the right-of-way has, according to Walrath, narrowed the roadway to a point that plows and various other county equipment is unable to get through.
“I think at some point there’s going to need to be public parking somewhere,” he said.
To do so however, it would need to be placed farther up the road near the junction between Forest Road 218 and 217 which would require the road and bridge department to extend its maintenance coverage area. Part of this area extends into Madison County.
“As soon as you all come up with a great solution for it, we’re all for it,” Stoddard said. “In the meantime we’ll try to sort it out some more.”