Dogs at Marys River Park
Locals exercise their dogs at Marys River Park. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A lot of folks in the community enjoy running their dogs at Marys River Park. The site provides good space that can be utilized by owners of well-behaved dogs.

A local resident who regularly takes her dog to Marys River Park asked the Park Advisory Board if it would consider adding a fenced-in area as the group goes through the process of updating its Park Master Plan.

“Fenced-in dog parks with proper signage and facilities to help dog owners keep the space clean help support positive behavior in the canine community,” Rose Bricker wrote in a letter to the board. “A fenced-in area would provide a space to separate dogs who can be off-leash from those that cannot. This will help create a safer environment for the dogs, especially, younger, smaller size or older canines.”

Bricker mentioned many other benefits, including that the idea is supported by the canine training and veterinary community, and believes the dog park would even give folks traveling to and from the coast one more reason to spend time in the city.

The Park Advisory Board’s reaction to the suggestion wasn’t against a dog park in Philomath, but believes Marys River Park would not be the best location.

“That’s a very popular dog park, obviously, a place where people bring their dogs, including me,” board member Sandy Heath said. “A good majority of dogs are off-leash throughout the park and there’s generally not a problem at all. I do wonder, because of that flooding issue down in there, where would there be an opportunity to put the dog park?”

Heath also provided an example that in the current off-leash area, the area has several mole holes.

“I won’t let my dog run in that area because for one, he’s going to run and he’s going to step in a hole and I’m going to have a vet bill,” she said. “The water stands in there this time of year … I don’t know what area would be a good place.”

Heath, as well as board member Lindy Young, expressed their desire to see the park continue to be a natural area. A fenced-in dog park may not fit in.

Young said Marys River Park has the playground area but said the rest of it is meant for people to walk in nature.

“If they want to take their dogs and let them run around and they’re well-behaved dogs, that’s fine, but to have an organized dog park — and especially one that involves things like agility — I’m not against that somewhere else, but not in Marys River Park.”

Bricker had suggested in her letter that a new dog park feature agility equipment for dogs to play and exercise on.

City Manager Chris Workman said the city does have a dog park on its capital project list in the current master plan, but it’s been a low priority.

“It doesn’t sound like there’s any objection to having a dog park in town, but maybe Marys River Park isn’t the best spot for it,” Workman said.

Workman brought up Philomath City Park and the new park that’s planned on Chapel Drive near the Millpond Crossing development as possibilities.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).