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The Parks Commission is hearing complaints about dog waste being left on the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail.

Adams Parks Commission Upset With Dog Waste On Rail Trail

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Parks Commission is unsure how to address the problem of dog owners not picking up after their animals. 

ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission is at a loss over what to do about the dog waste that's littering the town. 

Selectman James Bush brought his concerns about dog feces on the popular Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and other areas of Adams. 

"I don't think there is an easy way to enforce this beyond people picking up after their dogs and just having the common courtesy to bend over and pick it up," Bush told the commission on Monday.

The commissioners asked if it was an issue of the bag dispensers provided for dog owners being empty. Bush said people often just steal the bags.

Administrative Assistant Marilyn Kolis said the dispensers are often recharged and that she just ordered 3,000 bags.

It was also asked who oversaw maintaining the trail.

Selectman Joseph Nowak, who attended the meeting, said the state Department of Conservation and Recreation is responsible for the trail from Lanesborough to the Park Street crossing. The town is responsible for the rest of the trail north to Lime Street.

"They didn't have the manpower to take over more of the trail so in essence, the main problem is the DCR side if that is where you are alluding to," Nowak said.

Bush said he really didn't know what the commissioners could do because it is not under their purview to enforce cleanup on the paved trail. He added that the police most definitely have better things to do.

"I think that it is an enforcement issue that the Parks Department can't enforce, and we aren't going to appoint a poop officer," he said. "It is difficult."

Commissioner Jacob Schutz suggested installing a dog park somewhere in town.

Bush said there have been early discussions about creating a dog area at the proposed park where the former Hoosac Valley Coal and Grain building stands, but Commissioner Cynthia Bird added that this could make the issue worse.

"I don't think that it is going to eliminate what we are seeing out here … I know in the North Adams [dog] park people don't clean up after their dogs either," she said. "It wouldn't eliminate the issue it will just add another place for them to go."

Byrd added that the problem goes beyond the rail trail and dog waste can be found throughout town.

"They are doing it around town, so it doesn't matter if it is rail trail or the sidewalk," she said. "It is done on other people's lawns … I don't know how we can fix this."

In other business, the commissioners would like to have the Russell Field plans finalized by their January meeting.

"Right after the New Year, we will have another design meeting and then we will be able to finalize everything," Chairman Scott Cernik said. "Then we can bring it to the Parks Commission at that first January meeting and then we can send it to the select board."

The Parks Commission agreed to make the Russell Field project a priority in 2014 and the town allocated funds to begin the design process. The project is still in the design phase.

Although work is ongoing, the field is still in use and has uneven surfaces and drainage issues among other problems. This was raised as safety concerns from some of the local coaches who urged the town to speed up the process.

Cernik said the project is slated to cost $813,000 and may have to be phased. The town has not yet secured grant funding.

He recommended making the field a priority in budgeting for next year since the grant funding is still unsecured.

Tags: Ashuwillticook Rail Trail,   dogs,   poop,   

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"We have a final draft so on to our next meeting," Chairman David Rhoads said of the monthslong process.
Late last year, the Board of Health agreed to implement a new regulation that would limit the amount of tobacco sales permits allowed in town. The new regulation would not affect those already selling tobacco products.
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