For the umpteenth time I’ve heard reports on the nightly news about Lake Powhatan being closed to swimming due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. The explanation given is always that it’s “caused by excess amounts of rain.” Fecal coliform doesn’t come from rain, it comes from feces.
The rain just moves it around. I ask our local news media to investigate the source of this mysterious pooh rain. It may be attributed to the hundreds of domestic dogs who defecate on the trails of Bent Creek every single day without their owners picking up after them. This issue has not received the attention it deserves. Bent Creek has historically been the highest rated stream (for water quality) in Buncombe County. It should not be degraded by apathetic dog owners.
I love dogs and appreciate that people recreate with them in the woods. Bent Creek is not a huge wilderness where your dog’s crap “goes away” like so much coyote scat. I have hiked in Bent Creek regularly for several years and witnessed a grand total of two people pick up after their canine friend. I put local Forest Service officials in contact with our own Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District who had unused grant funds available specifically for pet waste containers and bag dispensers. Nothing came of it.
I’m asking our local news media to give this story the attention it deserves, ask hard questions of land managers that allow this to persist, and hold them publicly accountable for inaction. Above all, I ask dog lovers who frequent Bent Creek or any heavily used public space to pick up after your animals.
If you mountain bike with two or three dogs behind you, it’s safe to assume they’re relieving themselves. Pick up a pile for the team.
— Dan Clere