Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Veterans Cemetery Considering New Options To Curb Off-Leash Dogs From Nearby Trail

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Zach Rodriguez is the cemetery director at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
  • Zach Rodriguez is the cemetery director at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.

In May 2011, Boise Weekly reported about increasing instances of disrespect at and around the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 3,000 heroes.

"Unfortunately, we have had people use the grounds for flag-football practice," said Zach Rodriguez, cemetery director. "I've seen groups bring in barbecue grills to picnic on our upper level. They even lit fireworks up there."

The most disturbing violations occur when a bicyclist, dog walker or sports enthusiast breezes by one of the many burials that occur at the cemetery. Thirteen interments were held at the cemetery last week. Rodriguez said he averages two to three burials a day. Some months may have as many as 55 interments.

Earlier this month, cemetery officials decided to close Veterans Trail adjacent to the cemetery.

"We did not want to close the trail, and the decision was not made lightly," wrote cemetery spokesperson Patti Murphy, "But it was necessary to do, at least until we find a solution to the continued misuse of the trail and related disrespect to the cemetery."

But now cemetery officials have reopened the trail, saying the temporary closure brought community awareness to their situation. Citizens says they're working with cemetery representatives on several options, including stricter enforcement, closing the trailhead but keeping the trail open or relocating the trail away from the cemetery.

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