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Ann Morrison Park Unleashes the Dogs

Release the Hounds

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The black coyote cut-outs at Ann Morrison Park kept the geese away for a little while before they no longer felt threatened. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, then addled the goose eggs--covering them in oil to keep them from hatching. That worked, too--sort of.

The department has tried lasers, noise and hazing with park maintenance vehicles. Still, the geese return every fall and winter by the thousands, making the sidewalks slick with their leavings. Parks and Rec spokeswoman Amy Stahl said kids fall into the mess and the elderly have trouble navigating it.

The goose problem has gotten worse in recent decades, according to Mike Keckler, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and not just in Boise, but across the country.

"It's difficult to get them out," Keckler told Boise Weekly. "We've done surveys and studies to try and determine if these geese are actually living here year round. We've banded them in the summer and tracked them and what we find is, most of these geese are migrating through, but a lot decide to stay here for the winter."

Keckler said it's not easy to relocate the geese, either. If they're moved, others fill in the space for them. Plus, "they're able to find their way back rather quickly," Keckler said.

While geese love any place free of predators, with expanses of grass and warmer weather--as Boise winters continue to heat up--many park users contribute to the problem by feeding the geese.

Two years ago, Parks and Rec found a solution that works, when it first opened a section of the park as an off-leash dog park. This winter, the city is doing the same thing.

From Nov. 1-Feb. 28, 2015 the east end of Ann Morrison Park, from the fountain to Americana Boulevard, Boiseans can let their dogs loose to chase the geese away.

It's a win-win, giving area dog owners another dog park option and it keeps the geese from making messes and damaging the turf as they pull grass out by its roots.

"This is an excellent opportunity to not only be good stewards of the park, but also provide a fun opportunity for dog owners," Stahl said.