The mutt-mitts aren't getting the job done, so the plan now is to step up the poop patrols around Jackson.

Dog owners hiking and skiing in the numerous trails that surround Jackson will face increased enforcement efforts to address the ongoing problems of dog waste in trailhead areas within the Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.

Forest officials said dog waste continues to be a significant problem around trailheads, even though the district has been working for nearly a decade to combat the issue.

A recent survey by the Jackson Ranger District tallied 173 piles of dog waste in the Cache Creek trailhead area alone.

Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter said no one wants to see or step in dog waste, which can contribute to water contamination and the spread of disease.

"In order to reward those who are being responsible, it is necessary to hold individuals accountable who are not doing their part," Dieter said in a media release. "The amount of dog waste in trailhead areas is simply not acceptable."

The Cache Creek, Game Creek and Trail Creek trailheads will receive particular focus from district law enforcement officials because of the proximity of creeks in those areas.

Dieter said Bridger-Teton has worked to address the problem since 2002, when mutt-mitt stations were first installed on forest lands at the Cache Creek trailhead.

He said winter patrollers are also out on the trails daily, talking with visitors about responsible dog use, including picking up after their dogs.

The presence of mutt-mitt stations, signs and visitor contacts by patrollers has resulted in less dog waste than observed in 2000.

But Dieter said dog waste is still a "significant problem" around trailheads.

He said the current problem appears to stem from the simple fact that people let their dogs out of the car first and then put on their skis or talk with friends rather than watch what their dogs are doing.

A 2005 water quality study conducted by the Teton Conservation District found that four water samples from Cache and Game creeks exceeded state Department of Environmental Quality standards proposed for moderate-use recreational activity.

Microbial source tracking in the creeks found that bird and wildlife sources contributed most to E. coli counts. However, the highest counts from domestic sources in the study were attributed to dogs.

District officials encouraged dog owners to leave their animals in their cars until they are ready to head up the trail, or leash the dogs to vehicles while preparing.

The Jackson Ranger District will issue a $175 ticket for violations, officials said.

Contact southwest Wyoming bureau reporter Jeff Gearino at 307-875-5359 or gearino@tribcsp.com

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