If you haven’t visited the off-leash area dog park in Edmonds recently, you might be surprised at the changes.
Back in the day, the canine playground next to Marina Beach Park was a jumble of trees, scotch grass and foxtail, the latter two which can be harmful to pets. Today, after tons of grass have been carted away and new fences and signage added, among other amenities, the dog park is packing them in.
And, because the park’s so popular, additional parking has been added where the land portion of the Unocal oil pier used to be.
The renovation is due mostly to the volunteer efforts of Off Leash Area Edmonds (OLAE), a nonprofit group started in 2005 by B.B. Grande, Corinne Beuchet, Lori Parson and Diane Buckshnis, the latter a current member of the Edmonds City Council.
Many of the improvements have come as a result of local Boy Scout groups. Kevin Govan from Boy Scout Troop 312 added the double gated entry system; Danny Prall and Boy Scout Troop 319 added two plastic bag dispensers; and Lynnwood Pack 363 installed educational bulletin boards.
Another community member, Matt Corwin, donated two discarded fire hydrants, which were painted red and installed in the park. They seem to be popular with the dogs.
Instead of packing in water for their pets, owners can now let their dogs drink at a water fountain for dogs only that was installed by the city of Edmonds. OLAE also worked with the city for the removal of refuse in garbage cans
To be added in October is a dog agility course, a Eagle Scout project from Alex Young of Troop 312. It will include a teeter board, tunnel, jumps, weave poles and more.
OLAE currently has about 150 volunteers, said Buckshnis, and is always looking for more. Volunteers will be on hand on Oct. 15 during the organization’s annual Halloween Howl, where T-shirts will also be on sale. There will also be raffles and a silent auction.
Buckshnis is proud of how popular the off-leash park has become and how it’s one of the most popular in Puget Sound. “It’s all due to the volunteers,” she said. “They are here to keep it clean and remind people to clean up after their dogs.”
Buckshnis, who has two dogs of her own, certainly has done her share of cleaning up. “When I go to heaven,” she says, “I hope I won’t have to clean up poop anymore.”
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