Humane Society Dawson opens an off leash dog park

Katie Pearse cuts the leash to open the park.

Katie Pearse cuts the leash to open the park.

Story & photos
by Dan Davidson

While a substantial number of the dog owners in Dawson City seem to treat the town as it if were one large leash free zone, it really isn’t, and even on the dike trail – one of the most popular canine walkways – dogs are still supposed to be leashed.

It’s a bylaw much more honoured in the breach than in the observance, and several councils have discussed the possibility of creating an actual dog park.

Last Saturday (October 26) the Humane Society Dawson cut the ribbon – er . . .  leash – on a brand new 1.25 acre dog park in the north end of town. Located just below the Moosehide Slide and above the area where the annual mud bog takes place, the fenced, gently sloped area has been outfitted with a walking trail, benches and places to dispose of collected dog droppings.

As Humane Society director Katie Pearse said, some of the features of the Off Leash Dog Park have been not yet been installed, but all the vital things are in place and the group wanted to have the grand opening before the weather turned colder. As it happened it was a lovely sunny afternoon with a view of the mountainside in one direction and the still ice-free Yukon River in the other.

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Support for the project has come from the City of Dawson’s Recreation Department, Yukon Government’s Community Development Fund, the Eldorado and Westmark Hotels and Cheechakos Bakeshop.

The rules for dog park etiquette will be clearly posted and include being with your dog and having a leash with you at all times, making sure that aggressive dogs or females in heat are not in the park, as well as dogs that are too young or injured, being careful with children and dogs, scooping up droppings and filling in holes.

The park will have some agility equipment installed by next spring and there will be classes on how to use it properly.

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Mayor Wayne Potoroka was on hand to congratulate the Society on the work.

“I hadn’t actually seen this until I came right into the area,” he said. “It’s an incredible addition to this part of town. The community has been asking for a dog park and we really do have the Humane Society to thank for being such loud advocates and hard workers to make this a reality.

“The municipal council did their job by carving out a spot for the dog park to go, and then doing what it sometimes does best, which is getting out of the way of a good idea.”

Pearse said it was the CDF money that really made the entire project a reality and thanked the city council and administration for its support and guidance.

Much of the work was done by local contractors: Klondike Active Trails and Transport, Happy Marmot Landscaping, Vogt Enterprises and Spruce Gerberding. Inkspirationz Graphix is producing the signs and banners.

“We’re really thrilled with all the work they did,” Pearse said. “They were very helpful and flexible.”

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