COUNTY RECOMMENDS DEVELOPMENT OF
LARGE OFF-LEASH RECREATION AREA
This article first appeared in the September 2005 issue of
Sacramento Pet Gazette
and is reprinted here with permission.
The Sacramento County Parks Department has recommended that the
county set aside at least 75 acres of open space for an off-leash dog
recreation area, handing advocates of off-leash recreation a major
victory in their long fight to establish off-leash areas.
The recommendation came at the County Board of Supervisors July 19
meeting, and was the culmination of a year-long study by a multi-agency
task force, and several years of campaigning by Sacramento dog owners.
Parks officials also identified $175,000 in available state park bond
money that could be used to fund the new park.
The Supervisors voted unanimously to accept the report and directed
the parks department to develop a list of potential locations for the
new off-leash area.
“It’s pretty significant,” said Jackie Kuhwarth, president of
Sacramento Dog Owners Group, the organization that has lobbied for
off-leash open space areas since 2002. She credited SacDOG’s relentless
grassroots efforts for swaying county officials. “Slowly but surely
we’ve made them understand that this is an important recreational
activity that has been terribly underserved in Sacramento. We’ve made
them aware of it.”
SacDOG formed in 2002 after county parks officials began ticketing
dog owners who allowed their dogs off leash along the American River,
where people and their dogs had enjoyed off-leash recreation for
decades. The Board of Supervisors rejected a proposed pilot off-leash
area at Paradise Beach, but agreed to allow further study of the issue
and refused to rule out future off-leash areas in the American River
Parkway. As a result, the off-leash task force was created, and after a
year of study identified Sacramento’s glaring need for more off-leash
space. There are currently no places in Sacramento County where dogs may
legally be off-leash, except for a few very small enclosed urban parks.
Kuhwarth said SacDOG will seek grants to at least match the $175,000
in state park bond funds. “We really want to do it right, to have
something special,” she said.