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K-9 paradise; New Bark Park features open spaces

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Lucille Belch unleashes golden retriever, Nakea, for some fun at the relocated Bark Park.1 / 2
Lucille Belch's golden retriever, Nakea, enjoys Wadena's new Bark Park near the old airport in Sunnybrook Park.2 / 2

Wadena has a new Bark Park location, this time with more grass instead of algae.

The dog park, within north Sunnybrook Park, was originally located around a pond when it was set up in 2004, and is now in a more open space by the old airport.

Public Works Director Ron Bucholz said the new 170 x 110-foot Bark Park is close to the same size as the other one, but has more free ground area.

The change was implemented by the City of Wadena at the recommendation of the Wadena County Humane Society (WCHS). Issues with the old bark park were brought up to the city council earlier this year, and the new one was opened in early July.

Carolyn Hartman, WCHS manager, said people had a problem with dogs swimming in the pond with scummy water and geese.

"Of course not all dogs will leave the waterfowl alone, so that became an issue," she said.

Hartman also said people complained they had to bring bath towels on visits to the old dog park.

"Who wants a wet dog in the car?" she said.

Even with a simpler Bark Park setup, the ground rules still apply. People need to clean up after their dogs.

Also, officials ask that patrons not bring sick or unvaccinated dogs to the park. Additional rules are posted at the park entrance.

Humane society board members Lucille Belch and Betty White brought their dogs Nakea and Sasha to run around the park Monday. They demonstrated how dogs fall in love with the open space, even though they live in the country where there is plenty of space for their own pets.

Hartman said the dog park would be most beneficial for people who live in town, and for those who live in apartments and campers.

Bucholz said there might be additions to the Bark Park later on.

He said they are hoping for a fence entryway, so dogs don't just dart out the only gate, and also a barrier to keep big dogs separate from small dogs.

As for the old Bark Park, the fencing is still there, Bucholz said.

With the dogs gone, the Pekin ducks were brought back to control the algae in the pond.