It was hard to tell whether the dogs chasing each other and a tennis ball around the Mad River Dog Park were happier than those who gathered at the park in Warren for the official dedication last week. The dogs were definitely louder than the humans present for the September 22 event.
Eve Silverman, chair of the Mad River Valley Dog Park committee, opened the dedication by acknowledging the incredible community support and the 150 unique donors who helped fund it as well as the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Better Places grant program which provided $24,000 towards the park’s $50,000 budget.
She noted that the park was built by volunteers and said that the Mad River Valley Rec District helped with discounts on materials along with the Mad River Path.
“But the generous talents of the build crew made this possible. They created the Taj Mahal of dog parks. I want to thank Charlie Hosford and my husband Gene Scaperotta and Gordon Hoare of the Mad River Rotary who were really the key build partner for the park. Plus a whole lot of volunteers who supported them. This park is really a community effort,” Silverman said.
She said that there are still a few components of the park that aren’t finished, but that it is open. She pointed out key features including a vestibule allowing passage to the large and small dog areas as well as a gathering area where people can sit and watch dogs without entering the park – something that is a popular past time.
The park features two agility structures, a shaded area, an Adirondack chair seating area, and a shaded area with two benches.
Silverman credited the Mad River Path for its work that led to the dog park, including public forums to discuss dogs on trails, dog waste and dog behavior.
“A dog park will take pressure off the trails and offers benefits that trails don’t in terms of dog socialization and people coming together,” she said.
Currently there is not a water supply at the park so people are advised to bring water. In the future, Silverman said, there may be some sort of rainwater collection system and solar panels and a potential doggy webcam. StewardMRV is caretaking the park and currently dog waste is gathered curbside and collected by A and J Recycling, but work is ongoing to create a compostable waste system at the park.
Laura Arnesen, director of the Mad River Valley Rec District, thanked Silverman for her work and said that in 30 years of working with nonprofits and volunteers in The Valley, she’d never met anyone like her.
Hosford praised the town of Warren for making the park possible, including the select board for granting permission for town land to be used and town employees and the development review board.
Richard Amore from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development said that he was “blown away by the work that Eve and folks did to bring this to fruition.”
“This is a poster child for project management, crowd funding and engaging the community,” he said.
The website for the dog park is www.mrvdogpark.com and it contains information about the park and how people can donate funds, volunteer, and upcoming events. The first events include a series of educational events led by Janine Maninen of Green Mountain Dog Camp in Roxbury. These three Sunday morning events in October are free and start at 10 a.m. The first is October 15 and covers how to introduce dogs, body language, breaking up fights and more. The October 22 session is simple training for the best dog park experience and the October 29 session is dog park etiquette. The sessions are for neutered and spayed dogs who are vaccinated and non-aggressive who are over four months old.
To get to the park, go up School Road in Warren, take a right at the top of the hill, and go past the tennis courts and skate park to the solar panels. The park is located just past the trailhead of the Eaton Forest Trails.