| Ford Church

What’s The Scoop on Dog Poop?

By Community Adventure Program students, 2nd Quarter 2003

You are walking along your favorite open space trail, the sky is clear, and you are distracted by a great view of the Flatirons. You step over a rock and—SQUISH—right into a fresh pile of dog poop.

It is estimated that Boulder’s open space and mountain parks host thirty tons of dog waste every year, which is equivalent to fifteen Ford Explorers. Not only has this become a problem in Boulder, it has become an issue that needs to be addressed nationally. In fact, one Boulder resident was so passionate about this issue that he used his GPS unit to plot the coordinates of 1,492 piles of dog feces along one of his favorite hiking trails – yikes!

Dog waste has severe environmental and aesthetic effects on an ecosystem. Studies in Boulder County have revealed the presence of dog waste has chemically imbalanced the ecosystem by depositing high levels of nitrogen, making it difficult for native plants to grow, while causing some “weeds” to flourish. Dog waste also releases harmful compounds into creeks and ponds. It upsets algae growth and may harm fish and other animals dependent on that water source. A single gram of dog waste contains up to twenty-three million infective bacteria, including E. Coli. Contaminated water can also pose a threat to humans because when the water is used for recreation, infections and gastro illness become more probable.

Ben Lawhon, Education Manager of the Boulder-based organization Leave No Trace (LNT), recognizes dog waste as a significant problem on public lands. While LNT does not currently have any programs in place to address this specific problem, they are making plans to address the issue nationally in the near future.

So what’s the Solution? The Community Adventure Program at New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado proposes that land managers encourage people to compost their pet waste instead of throwing it in the trash. Composting is a more sustainable solution because throwing away pet waste will still allow harmful bacteria to enter our watershed. There are several composting products on the market including the Doggie Dooley, available through petstreetmall.com.

So pet owners, please pick up your pet’s waste and dispose of it properly. Other hikers will appreciate it, our watershed will appreciate it, and so will our environment!


To learn about dog feces, click here.

To purchase pet composting products, click here.

To Learn about the Community Adventure Program, click here.

Categories: Action Projects

Back to Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.