Dog park now open in Eagle | VailDaily.com
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Dog park now open in Eagle

Kathy Heicher
Special to the Daily
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EAGLE – Eagle’s first dog park is now open – and it is the only public place within the town boundaries where dogs can legally romp without leashes.The five-acre park is northwest of the Eagle Ranch Golf Course clubhouse, near the intersection of Lime Creek and Sylvan Lake roads. The park is not fenced, but the boundaries are marked with posts and signs.Eagle Ranch resident Karen Carlson, who lobbied the Eagle Town Board for a more lenient leash law, said she will probably not use the park for her two Labrador retrievers. She said one dog, which suffered an injury some time ago and has become defensive, does not do well around strange dogs. However, she will consider taking her younger dog to the park.However, she said in general the dog park does not meet her goal of getting exercise herself while walking her dogs.

“I don’t want to just go stand somewhere and watch my dog run. I also want to be active,” she said.A bend of Abrams Creek runs through the park, which also has bags for picking up after dogs and trash cans.The dog park is an experiment by the Eagle Town Board, and was created after residents asked for a place where their dogs could go without leashes. The town will monitor the park throughout the summer and decide in September whether it’s working. The facility is getting some mixed reviews in its first days of use.Mike Houk, who lobbied for a park, said he’s currently in-between dogs, but plans on getting one soon.

“I didn’t want the dogs running at large,” he said. On the other hand, Houk, who lives about a mile from the dog park, said he’s not sure how much he will use it once he gets a pet.”I don’t think I would make a special trip for that,” he said.Carlson said the park location is not suitable for pet owners that want a water feature for the pets. She described the small stretch of Abrams Creek that runs through the property as a “mud hole.””It’s nothing you want your dog going in,” she said. “In the summer, it is almost non-existent for cooling and swimming. It’s a token mud ditch.” Dogs in the park must be with their owner, who, under town rules, must be able to control the dog by voice command or other methods. Dog has to be picked up and thrown away.

While there’s some uncertainty as to just how this experiment will work out, Eagle and its dog owners alike can look to Vail, which has two dog parks.Blondie Vucich was part of a neighborhood coalition that petitioned for a dog park at Bighorn Park in East Vail three years ago. A key to the success of the dog park was dog owners following the rules: picking up after the dogs and keeping them under control, Vucich said. “It can work, but you have to involve thoughtful people who are really sensitive to other peoples’ needs,” Vucich said.Vail, Colorado


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