Separate Bark Park, duck pond a great solution
After speaking to Wadena Public Works Director Ron Bucholz, the best choice of whether to keep dogs or ducks out at Sunnybrook Park might be "both."
First, a little background. There are some white Peking ducks that belong to a Staples-area farmer that were brought in this summer (like last summer) and put in the Bark Park for a few weeks. Their purpose is to clean the algae out of the pond, and they've done their job.
There have been several dogs inside the Bark Park that have coexisted with the ducks, but dogs are dogs and ducks are ducks, and the inevitable happened recently: a few ducks were killed. This is no one's fault, it's nature.
A lot of people have asked whether there should be ducks in the pond in the Bark Park. That's probably a "no," but there can't really be a pond in the Bark Park either without the ducks, because no one will want to put a dog covered in algae back in the car after a dip.
The best bet is what Bucholz suggested: have a Bark Park and have a duck pond. Already, people have caught on to the ducks being there, and have started to feed the well-behaved and tame ducks. There's clearly demand now for a close-up encounter between kids and ducks, and this is something the city should encourage. It's another great reason to come to Wadena, and it's a great supplement to the viewing of deer, buffalo, peacocks and other animals already at Sunnybrook.
And as Bucholz pointed out, there's plenty of land at Sunnybrook Park, so a nice big area with a few shade trees could be found to fence in a new Bark Park, allowing pet owners to have the experience they expect: a place for Fido to run and jump and wag without any temptations.
The issue then becomes finding the money to buy and erect fencing for a new Bark Park. And with the state of finances for the municipality, we probably shouldn't wait for a pool of money to magically show up to do this.
Perhaps a few donors could step forward and make the dream a reality. Maybe even a corporate sponsor? The "Tuffy's Bark Park" or "Gander Mountain Duck Pond" sure have nice rings to them.