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SALT LAKE CITY — Parleys Historic Nature Park is a popular place for dog owners to take their pooch for a small outdoor adventure because it offers dozens of acres for their pets to roam around without a leash.
However, with elk herds remaining in the area over the past few weeks, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a temporary order Thursday that requires dogs to be on leashes in the park for the time being.
"The interaction between off-leash dogs and this herd of elk is creating imminent threats to the safety of the elk, the dogs and the owners of the dogs," the order states.
The order will remain in effect as long as the city's Arctic Temperatures Local Emergency remains in effect, which is currently set for April 30. Originally issued in December, the order includes all sorts of temporary rules set up as a result of Salt Lake City's cold and snowy winter. Most of the regulations are tied to protecting unsheltered people during frigid winter nights.
But it notes that the heavy snowpack in the mountains and foothills has also pushed elk and other wildlife down into the valley this winter. The elk herd in Salt Lake County has primarily stayed by Tanner Park/Parleys Historic Nature Park area and the Country Club, located just across I-80 from the park.
The order also comes days after Salt Lake City Public Utilities warned residents of increased water flow at Parleys Creek in the park, now and this spring, because of controlled releases coming from a pair of reservoirs in the canyon. The releases are a measure to reduce flooding this spring, according to department officials.
They advise dog owners to keep their dogs away from the water in the park because the strong currents can lead to drowning.