For years Canyon Lake dog owners have been advocating for a dog park where their dogs can roam freely and safely off their leashes. With the announcement at September’s regular session Board meeting of a new dog park location, advocates are hopeful that the much-anticipated Dog Park Project is nearing completion.
The Board addressed the community’s growing desire for a dog park four years ago when they established an ad-hoc Dog Park Committee to research and make recommendations for an ideal location for a fenced dog park.
After much discussion between the ad-hoc Dog Park Committee and the Board, the Board decided that the most suitable location to construct a dog park would be at the southeast side of East Port Park, which is the area along the fence at the back end of the launch ramp parking lot.
The conceptual design plans for the dog park included two separate fenced grass areas, shade structures, benches and water fountains. The Board approved the Dog Park Structural Plan on April 26 and the Landscaping Plan on May 16. By the end of May, all plans had been approved by the City of Canyon Lake and the project moved to the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase. By the end of the first RFP deadline, the Board had only received one bid.
The lack of bids was just one of the many road blocks. “We have worked far, far too long on the dog park and the plans we originally started out with, and quite candidly, the things that have been put on top of us to be able to build that dog park where we’ve been looking at, we just can’t afford it,” says CLPOA Board President Bruce Yarbrough.
At the September 6 regular session Board meeting, Bruce announced that the Board made a decision to abandon the location previously approved for the new dog park and, instead, designated a new location on the upper lawn area at East Port Park.
Bruce says, “We looked at an initiative that put us back on top of the lawn. It won’t be as fancy as what we were going to try to put in the previous location, but it will be done. We are reviewing the perimeters now and have already authorized Operations to go out and find competitive bids and get it built.”
Part of the lawn area will be reserved for the Activities Building. “We want to give access to people to let their dogs run and have fun, so the new dog park needs to be large enough for that,” says Bruce. “But we also want to protect the grass area right outside of the building so there will be room when activities are held there. We want to protect that part of the lawn area.”
Some members felt apprehensive upon hearing the news that another new location had been chosen for the dog park, but Board Director Paul Queen assured them that they would be happy with the new location, saying, “I saw the design for where they want to place it, and believe me, you’re all going to be happy. It’s going to be bigger than what they wanted to put down below; you’re really going to be happy with it.”
According to Bruce, the dog park will be approximately 220 ft. long and have a fenced area divided into two sections – one for small dogs, one for large dogs. The entrance will have a double gate design, which will help to keep dogs from escaping as people enter and exit, and will provide a secure area for taking off and putting on leashes.
“Dogs must remain on leashes when not in the fenced area,” says Bruce. He notes that, because residents have been allowed to have their dogs off leashes at East Port Park for so long, residents are reminded to be mindful of the POA rule and City ordinance (see below) while walking their dog through the park to and from the fenced area. Those who ignore the POA rule can be issued a $100 citation.
The first phase of constructing the new dog park includes installing fencing and water fountains for the dogs. The second phase includes installing benches and shade covers. With the first phase expected to be completed in four to eight weeks, the much-anticipated off-leash dog park is getting closer to completion.
For years, a group of dog owners and their dogs have been meeting daily at East Port Park. Some of them, like Judy Pruitt, have been gathering at the “unofficial” dog park for 18 years.
Judy says, “We have people of all ages who bring their dogs to the park – from kids to senior citizens. They are there to have fun, play Frisbee, catch the ball and play chase. We have more dogs in this community than registered boats in our lake. We pride ourselves on having a great community, yet there is no official dog park in Canyon Lake. Every surrounding city has a dog park, we deserve that.”
With the new dog park nearing completion, the group has formed an “official” dog club and recently submitted paperwork to the CLPOA to have it sanctioned. It’s now pending Board approval. Judy is the president of the new “Canyon Lake K-9 Club” and says, “We want to be recognized, and we want our dogs to have a safe place to go and exercise; that’s why we are a club now. We have 57 members and 64 dogs of all breeds and sizes.” There is no cost to join the club.
Canyon lake has four dog-friendly parks: East Port Park, Lions Park, Harrelson Park and Emerald Park. The new dog park at East Port Park will be the only park where dogs will be allowed to roam off leashes.
CLPOA Rules and Regulations GR.2.14 (a) states that “all dog must be restrained by a leash while on common property, or confined by fencing or other secured enclosure within an owner’s property. If the owner fails to confine his/her dog(s) on the owner’s property for any reason, the owners will be liable for any and all damages caused by the unconfined dog(s). The owners of the animals or the owner of the property in the case of a leased property, will be issued a citation for this violation, and the community patrol will immediately notify the local animal control authorities to have the dog(s) contained.”
Canyon Lake City Ordnance 10.16.010 (b) states that “all dogs shall be kept under restraint when off the owner(s) premises by a leash or other device of a size and material appropriate to the dog, held by a person capable of restraining such dog with that leash; restraint does not include voice, eye or signal control.”
For more information about the new Canyon Lake K-9 Club, contact Judy Pruett at Judyartglass@gmail.com or 951-505-2267.