I am writing in response to the recent letters written to the editor about the dog park in Cameron Park. Some of the information was either misrepresented or wrong.
Regarding the trees: Yes, some scrub oaks were removed. If you drive by the park, it is still heavily treed. The trees that were removed are located in the middle of the park to allow the dogs an opportunity to chase after retrievables without running into trees. This will be one of the most heavily shaded dog parks in the region. Thirteen scrub oaks were removed, but 30 blue oak and black oak trees will be planted in the park to contribute to the current canopy. By the way, the dog park group is paying for the oak tree mitigation effort through funds that it raised through private donations and fundraising events.
Another citizen suggests “power lines, water lines, cyclone fences and the destruction of an unknown number of trees” will ruin this park. There will be no new power lines. And how will underground water lines destroy or visually damage a park? The number of trees is known and, as stated earlier, have been removed. I’ve seen the schematic for the park — it works to maintain the beauty of Hacienda, allow for walkers to continue to have a path, and provide a safe place for well-behaved dogs to run free.
A neighbor also stated that at Gateway Park, “no trees necessary to cut down, a small area already fenced in there for dogs to run free — and very easy to fence in a larger area.” There hasn’t been a small, fenced area for years as the CSD was required by the county to remove this. It was temporary fencing and not intended to be a “dog park.” According to the CSD, Gateway has never been a dog park; this has simply been local lore.
A reminder to anyone who is picturing a dog kennel with incessant, loud barking — that is not what dog parks are like. The amount of noise from a dog park is less than any sports game. Visit a dog park and you will see an occasional dog that barks while playing. This is less noise than what I hear in my own neighborhood at night. The benefits of having a community dog park? A tired dog is a quiet dog — those dogs that are currently barking at night in my neighborhood may be too pooped to bark if they are exercised at the dog park. Dog parks bring a sense of community to our town, the way moms make friends at their childrens’ sports games or others find new folks to play tennis with at the tennis courts.
The dog park has been an issue in this area for many, many years, long before I arrived 12 years ago. I have wanted a place to go and socialize with other dog owners and exercise my dog. Having these connections builds a sense of community and would contribute to Cameron Park — “A Special Place to Live.” It doesn’t feel very special when certain individuals denounce the need because 1) it does nothing for them personally, and/or 2) they may feel that the public park should be seen as an extension of their own backyards. We need a dog park, and the modest, half-acre enclosure within Hacienda Park is a step in the right direction toward meeting the needs of an overlooked group in Cameron Park — the families who own dogs.