Hikers with dogs who walk along the Homestead Trail up to the Palm Desert cross were met with a surprise this week.
"A new 'No Dogs' sign was just installed on the way to the cross so I guess we are being squeezed out entirely," said Susan Harvey, who reguarly hikes the trail, and called on fellow hikers to contact local legislators.
"The decision makers are 'nuts' to take this stand when they should be embracing the wonderful enrichment these trails offer our residents and visitors," Harvey said.
The sign, which reads "No Dogs Beyond This Point," was installed recently to replace a previous sign that had been vandalized, according to Jim Foot of the Bureau of Land Management.
"This is shown as closed (to dogs) on the kiosk. It's not been a secret," Foot said, adding that the closure is meant to protect the endangered Peninsular Bighorn sheep.
Officials are considering cracking down on "unauthorized trail use," and had plans to try to meet with law enforcement officials this week, according to Eddy Konno of the Department of Fish and Game, who spoke at a recent Coachella Valley Association of Governments Trails Subcommittee Meeting.
Konno said the hope is to get "wardens to get out there to patrol."
The Homestead Trail intersects with a closed trail that leads up to Ramon Peak, according to Aimee Byard, Associate Director and biologist at the Palm Desert-based Bighorn Institute.
"The dog issue is huge and they (the trails subcommittee) know there is no enforcement," Byard told Patch. She said that she has even seen people with dogs up near Ramon Peak, where two lambs were recently born.