The dog days of summer are almost behind us but the dream of having an off-leash dog park in Bishop is getting closer to becoming a reality. The City of Bishop Dog Park Committee was formed after a series of public meetings were held to discuss the new master plan for the Bishop City Park. For a number of years now residents of Inyo County have discussed the feasibility of a fenced off- leash site as part of the city park. When the city gave the approval to use one and one half acres of park land, in the north east corner of the park, a group of energetic dog park supporters joined the existing committee and planning and fund raising began in earnest.
To date the committee, through fund raising activities and private donors, are close to achieving phase one of the project. The area will be completely fenced with dog safe chain link, providing both a large and small dog area. The committee has also discussed ongoing improvements that may include sod, more shade trees, and permanent canine agility equipment. Phase one would begin with a large dog area completely fenced with an appropriate access gate. Water, signs, and waste disposal will also need to be included in this first phase before the dogs are able to run and play off leash.
But why a city dog park when we live in an area with so much open space to walk and run our canine companions? Here are several good reasons why a city dog park makes sense:
Meeting the Needs of Seniors and the Disabled. There are many people in the community who have dogs as companions but are unable to give them adequate exercise. Off leash dog parks can provide socialization and a place for their dogs to run, play, and work off some energy. Many owners experience a myriad of behavior problems with their dogs that come with a canine that is under exercised and has not been socialized properly to people or other dogs. Community dog parks may help solve some of these issues.
Socializing Young Dogs. One of the most common behavior problems seen in dogs today is dog aggression due to under-socialization at a young age. Dogs learn dog language by interacting and playing with other dogs. However, in our modern society many dogs live very solitary lives. Consequently when they do have a chance to meet other dogs, especially if they are on a leash, they may act fearful or aggressive. A dog park provides a place for dog owners to let their dogs romp off- leash and gives young dogs a place to learn much needed dog-dog communication.
Meeting the Needs Visitors. Dog lover or not, the reality is more and more people are traveling with their pets. Bishop is a natural stop over for many people traveling with their dogs and many local hotels are dog friendly. People from out of town or out of state are not familiar with the area and may not be aware of safe places to walk their dogs. But dog savvy travelers know how to find every dog park on the route they will be traveling. It has been difficult for tourists, especially in summer, to find a place for a quick romp with their dog that offers safety, water and shade in the downtown core. Most are unaware that dogs are not allowed inside the park. An area in the park just for them would have a positive impact on many of the visitors who pass through each year.
The City of Bishop is committed to working with the public and appointed officials to ensure parks are a benefit to everyone. The dog park will not only enhance the value of Bishop as a tourist stop but it will provide recreational and educational services for the needs of its citizens, both human and canine. If you would like to help sponsor , donate or volunteer to make the Bishop City Dog Park a reality please visit our booth at the Friday’s Farmers Market or contact Nancy Hardy at 760-920-0006.