Sammamish should make Big Rock Park a dog park; vote in the poll

Within the last few weeks, Sammamish city officials erected a sign at what is now called Big Rock Park–fka SE 8th St. Park–saying it is not an off-leash dog park–go to Beaver Lake Park to let your dog off leash.

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The problem with this, as any dog owner knows, is that the off leash area of Beaver Lake Park is pathetically small. It’s enclosed by a chain link fence. It’s a dog prison.

Big Rock Park, on the other hand, is a doggie paradise. It’s 10 acres. It’s fenced on all four sides. The front half (or so) is wide-open field. The back half has trails and some open areas. Wetlands are seasonally wet.

Only a few blocks away is Ebright Creek Park on 212th Ave. SE, where there are trails and amenities for people wishing to walk and not be bothered by dogs. Most of Beaver Lake Park is off limits to off leash dogs. Every other park in the city is off limits to off leash dogs.

Dog owners were increasingly using Big Rock Park as an off-leash area. This park is far, far better than the puny Beaver Lake Park area, and far more convenient than driving to Marymoor Park.

I asked a city councilman why the city put the sign up. He said there was a complaint that one person had been jumped by a dog (it was unclear if this was an aggressive dog or a playful one), and that underbrush wasn’t protected from dogs.

Well, it’s not as if the latter couldn’t be accomplished. But for all the times I talk our Golden Retriever there, I’ve never seen a dog thrashing through the brush–they’ve always been on the trails.

This city has hundreds of acres of parks people can enjoy. We need a measly 10 acres for our dogs.

Since the city erected its sign banning off-leash at Big Rock Park, I have seen usage drop off. There are now few people using this park. This should tell city officials something.

Our city officials need to make Big Rock Park a dog park.

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2 Responses to Sammamish should make Big Rock Park a dog park; vote in the poll

  1. Steve Wright says:

    Great pix of your prisoner dog.

    The planning for Big Rock Park entailed many public meetings and an off leash dog park was never a real consideration; the neighbors are too close, the wetlands are too sensitive, and the majority of people prefer open space for humans to walk without off-leash dogs. I’m a dog owner. I live in Sammamish. Marymoor’s off-leash park suits us just fine. And, my kids love Big Rock Park. Something for everyone is nearby.

    But, I will say that I’m glad you’re using the park. Just please do it legally and responsibly so the rest of us can continue to enjoy this Sammamish treasure.

    -Steve W.

  2. Laura Young says:

    Oh and to your point the park is NOT SECURELY FENCED.

    Let me begin by saying I love dogs. I have been an AKC and ASFA dog judge for two decades. I own dogs and have for my whole life.

    Big Rock Park should not become an off leash park. It is a beautiful park for folks to walk in a trail like setting without having to worry about off leash dogs. Beaver Lake Park used to fill that niche until folks began taking their dogs off leash in the wooded trail areas. Beaver Lake Park became too dangerous for me to take my dogs for on leash walks or to even walk myself without running into unruly or dangerous dogs. I don’t go to the off leash area in Beaver Lake Park because of the many aggressive dogs I have run into there. Often it is the inexperienced owners who miss signs of aggression and a fight occurs. When I have asked someone to control a difficult dog at the Beaver Lake Park, I have been hit with hostility and from their owners an “I can do whatever I want with my dog here attitude.”

    When walking my dogs, I was accosted by an off leash Doberman at Big Rock Park. My three dogs were on six foot leashes when this large dog came charging at us. I yelled for the owner to contain or control her dog. She did nothing until I yelled “This is an on leash park”. She showed no desire to control her dog, even though it was charging me until I yelled I would call 911 and she was breaking the law. She only got the dog to come back when she opened her car door to call the dog to take a ride. That happened just before we were set upon by that uncontrolled dog. I have a right after living in Sammamish for 30 years to walk my dogs in peace.

    Another issue with making Big Rock park and off leash area is that owners who allow their dogs to run free DON’T CLEAN UP after their dogs because they don’t watch them close enough to see where to clean up. There is abundant wildlife in this park and homes with dogs bordering the park. It is not suitable for off leash. This is too nice a park to ruin by run away dogs. There are a number of folks in our community that have a fear of dogs and are afraid to meeting them unleashed in a public park. That shouldn’t be happening.

    Your desire to let your dog run free should not interfere with my family’s desire for safety and peace when taking a walk.

    There are other options and Marymoor Park is close by.

    I have been an expert witness in Superior Courts in the US and Canada on dog issues. If off leash dogs continue to run in Big Rock Park and Beaver Lake Park on leash areas, I will happily offer my free services in court to support anyone accosted by such dogs and irresponsible owners. As a dog owner I am aware that such owners are the reason we responsible dog owners are swiftly losing our rights to own and enjoy our dogs.

    Laura Y.

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