Fernie & Area Off-Leash Dog Park
The Fernie Pets Society has been working since 2011 to create a fenced off-leash dog park. The goal is to create a large area where dogs can run and play untethered, in a safe environment where they will not disturb either neighbors or wildlife.
Off-leash dog areas provide a community setting in which people can gather and socialize and where they can observe the interaction of groups of dogs at play. Dog parks allow owners and their dogs to spend time together and offer dogs a space for play and companionship with others.
Several sites were initially considered for a fenced off-leash park, and one site was eventually recommended in the city’s 2013 Recreational Services Master Plan.
The proposed site, which has been endorsed by Fernie City Council, is located in the greenbelt below the Ridgemont subdivision. It is a 12 acre portion of the area adjacent to the skateboard park, between 4th St &13th St and the railroad tracks . The facility will be available free of charge to residents of Fernie and the Elk Valley, as well as visitors to the area.
In cities with dog parks, they are among the most used park facilities. Off-leash parks offer many benefits to dogs, their owners and the community as a whole.
Benefits for Dogs
- The dog park offers a place where dogs can exercise and play in a clean, safe environment without endangering themselves or disturbing people, property or wildlife.
- Many behavior problems in dogs are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity. On leash, most dogs are not able to get their excess energy out.
- Dogs are highly social animals, and many enjoy spending time with their own species. At the dog park, a dog will practice reading a variety of other dogs’ body language and using its own communication skills, and dogs will get used to meeting unfamiliar dogs on a frequent basis. These valuable experiences can help guard against the development of fear and aggression problems around other dogs.
- Obesity in our companion animals is one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions. Physical activity is essential for treating and preventing obesity.
While the facility is designed as a place where dogs can play safely, it is also intended as a place for people, both dog owners and non-owners to socialize. The whole community benefits from an off-leash dog park:
- An off-leash park encourages a sense of community as dog owners meet their neighbours and have a place to gather and discuss local issues. It’s an activity that brings together people of different economic and social backgrounds. Persons that would not normally mingle, start conversations to learn about each others’ dog.
- A dog park will help to promote responsible pet ownership and the enforcement of dog control laws. Without a local dog park many dog owners feel the need to break the law and let their dogs off leash in public parks.
- Dog parks can be made visually appealing, with benches, gazebos, trees, mulch, etc. and will add to the beauty and attractions of the downtown.
- In cities with dog parks, they rank amongst the most used park facilities.
- The charm and unique nature of this type of park can help attract visitors to our area. Many people take their pets along when they travel and need a safe place for them to exercise and play.
- Activities that may attract people include the possibility of functions like pet adoptions, educational efforts geared toward dog owners, obedience classes and dog park safety classes, dog shows, agility training/competitions and licensing fairs.
- It provides senior and disabled owners an accessible place to exercise their companion.
- This type of area promotes physical and social activity for all who partake in it thus promoting a healthier lifestyle for all involved.
- It’s not just a place for dogs but for people as well. A place for non-dog owners to go to learn about dogs or just to go and enjoy dogs! Many people love dogs but are not able to keep them themselves. For example, some elderly people would love to have a dog but are unable to. They can go to the park and enjoy the dogs at their convenience.
Over the past 3 years we have raised over $20,000 through public donations, fundraising events and community grants. We would like to thank the community and our sponsors for their support:
- City of Fernie is providing park land and financial support
- Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program
- East Kootenay Community Credit Union
- Barkside Pets Nail Clipping Nights
You can make a donation to the Dog Park Fund in person at BARKSiDE Pets or via the donation box at one of these locations:
- Big Bang Bagels, 502 2nd Ave, Fernie
- Le Grand Fromage Cheese Shop, 672E 2nd Ave, Fernie
Make an online donation via Paypal (no account necessary)