Earth-Friendly Dog Parks
Going green is going to the dogs. Literally. The newest trend in dog parks around the U.S. is green initiatives. From using recyclable material to solar power, green is the way to go.
Jackass Acres K-9 Korral in New River, Arizona was proclaimed the first all-green dog park because it was built using entirely green techniques. The turf was recycled from the NFL, every water fountain was made from recycled material, and wooden benches and tables were made from fallen tree limbs. The dog park is setup so excess water from rains will run into the trees, and solar power is used for all electrical needs, like lights, water fountains, and misting stations. All poop stations offer biodegradable bags, and if there were a market for recycled dog poo, you know that K-9 Korral would jump on it.
K-9 Korral is run by Anthem Pets, a non-profit organization that collects applications and membership fees for entry into the dog park. While the members-only attitude may not appeal to all, the approval process ensures that every dog entering is free from disease and therefore not putting other pets in danger. Plus, the yearly membership fee runs a dog owner 35 dollars and allows for Anthem Pets to maintain a doggy drinking fountain and shower, mock-fire hydrants for territory marking, an arbor with a misting station, ramps, obstacle courses, agility equipment, tunnels and a beautiful waterfall. No wonder K-9 Korral is a pet parent favorite — this green bark park is more resort than play area.
In addition to the park’s many amenities, Anthem Pets runs a lost pet hotline and hosts low-cost veterinary clinics at the park, where vaccinations and the option to microchip pets are offered.
“I think the members, the people that invest so much time, are really, really happy,” said Barbara Windgassen, park president. “What we do is a combination of a lot of people’s hard work. We donate a lot of time because we’re passionate about our animals. We’re adding new members all the time, but we also have the ones that have been with us since the beginning.”
Dog Fancy magazine must agree, presenting its “America’s Best Dog Park” award in 2008 and 2010 to K-9 Korral. And the trend has caught on. In 2009 the award went to Freedom Bark Bark in Lowell, Indiana, another green park completed in late 2008 on the heels of K-9 Korral’s popularity.
Freedom Bark Park was first encouraged to build a solar well for water. From there, recycled rubber mulch and road grindings were used, as well as biodegradable waste bags. Local companies helped with the building and provided materials. A large fundraiser helped to raise money for landscaping. Altogether the dog park was completed through 2700 hours of volunteer time, using not a single cent of tax payer money. Freedom Bark Park believes its “American’s Best Dog Park” win is in large part owed to the community spirit that created the park in the first place. With such a sense of community happening from building these green dog parks together, it is no wonder the trend is sticking.