It’s a good month for local dogs and their owners. Not only will the El Dorado County Dog Owners Guild host what they call “the most fun event for dogs of the year,” they’ve announced two off-leash dog parks are close to opening.
Dogs and their families can enjoy the fifth annual Pooch Plunge & Laps at the Lake fundraiser at Cameron Park Lake on Aug. 17.
“It’s the only time all year dogs are allowed to swim in the lagoon,” said Sue Hawkes, vice president of EDDOG.
The plunge takes place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. kicking off with a 1.2-mile fun-run, one-quarter mile kids’ run and a lap around the lake for the whole family (including on-leash dogs). EDDOG has 400 goody bags filled with coupons and dog toys ready for runners and memorial bricks will also be on sale. To pre-register for the event visit eddog.org.
The bricks will be installed as permanent decor at the two future dog parks located at Hacienda Park in Cameron Park and at El Dorado Hills Community Park. Proceeds from a silent auction and raffle at the Pooch Plunge will also go toward the completion of these projects. Food and business vendors will be present.
After eight years working to build off-leash dog parks in the area, Hawkes said EDDOG is thrilled the time has finally come.
“Our president Holly Morrison’s dogs, Bella and Jessie, were just pups when she first began working to build off-leash dog parks in El Dorado County. They are now 10 years old,” said Hawkes. “Now the younger pups of our community get to meet the old timers and hear how it all began.”
EDDOG first partnered with the Cameron Park Community Services District and then the El Dorado Hills Community Services District to build off-leash dog parks in both communities. The Hacienda Park site is scheduled to open this fall and EDDOG has planned a spring 2014 opening date for El Dorado Hills.
The dog park at Hacienda Park is almost complete. “Only the bidding process to finish the fencing remains,” said Hawkes. “Much of the infrastructure of the park is already done and was accomplished with the help of three wonderful Scouts who earned their Eagle Scout ranking in the process.”
The EDHCSD Board of Directors recently approved $50,000 for a dog park as part of its annual capital improvement projects budget. Hawkes said cost and finding the right location held the plans back for years and credited EDHCSD general manager Brent Dennis for finally making it happen.
“Brent spearheaded the revival of plans for the El Dorado Hills dog park, which had been languishing on the books for years due to a projected cost that was beyond anything EDDOG could raise in a timely fashion,” she explained.
The park will be built for one-third the cost EDDOG previously estimated; it will also be smaller than they anticipated. Still, Hawkes said the location in a wooded area between the EDHCSD’s north and south athletic fields, with plenty of shade, is ideal.
“The EDHCSD dog park will be one of our 2014 capital improvements projects that will be developed in concert with athletic field renovations in Community Park,” said Dennis. “CSD budget funding for the dog park will cover the 6-foot-high enclosure fencing and double gates as well as the interior fencing that separates the small dog area from the large dog area. Project funding will also cover drinking fountains and signage.”
Dennis is working closely with planners at El Dorado County Development Services to formally amend the special use permit revision to the Community Park master plan for approval of the new location.
“The original proposed site for the off-leash dog park was pulled from the special use permit revision to address concerns expressed about soil testing and close proximity to adjacent neighbors,” Dennis said. “The new proposed location for the off-leash dog park is not requiring any grading and is remote to any residential properties.
“The off-leash dog park project is another excellent example of a healthy partnership between the CSD and a community partner, in this case EDDOG,” he added.