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Newly Opened Off Leash Dog Park Seeing Use From Locals and Visitors

Tails have been wagging and dogs have been running freely since the new Off Leash Dog Park opened on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Swan River Lions Club members Wayne Markle and Barry Fawcett are the push behind finally making many dreams a reality.
“I see a lot of people walking dogs morning, noon, and night on leashes,” said Markle. “My daughter, who is involved with the Swan Valley Animal Protection League, had mentioned that we could sure use an off leash park so we went ahead and made it happen. We’d heard the Town was going to open one a while ago but nothing happened. Barry and I got to talking and decided to approach the Ag. Society and they were interested in helping out. I thought the park would work in this area.”
After some time making sure the usage of land was approved by all members, the Ag. Society gave the Lions members the okay to start setting up.
The park is located just north of the Swan River Centennial Arena with the gate opening on the west side.
“We put up some signs and put some gates up,” said Markle. “And, we opened.”
With a few more projects left to complete, the duo is waiting till spring to improve the area.
“The fence needs a little bit of repair,” said Markle. “It’s a little bit off the ground at the bottom.”
Hoping to add some seating as part of the upgrade, Northern Specialties and Minish Group came through and donated two benches for the park last week.
The line up of happy Valley residents can be seen at any time of day as so many are excited to make good use of the new playground for their fur babies.
“I stop by just about every time I go past,” said Markle. “Everyone is just really happy to have it so that’s good to see. The line up there has been unbelieveable. It’s amazing how many people have been in and out of there.”
With the Lions stepping up to front the bill and maintain the park, they are planning a spring fundraiser to help offset some of the expenses.
“I think what we would like to do is have a dog walk very similar to the one we did for the Dog Guides,” said Markle. “We’ve hosted two of them now and we raised $2,200 in one day. If we could do that it would give us enough money to keep going.”
Lawn care and snow removal will be the two biggest expenses to the club.
“We’re not sure how we’re going to do that yet,” said Markle. “But, we’ll do it ourselves if we have to.”
Donations are also being accepted if you would like to contribute to the new park and offset any of the upkeep or help contribute to future additions.
“We’re really happy with the response and people are so happy to have it,” said Markle. “We’ll just see how it goes and hopefully we’ll be able to make it bigger.”
Out of Town travellers have also found the park and made good use of their time here, happy to have a place to let their dogs run off the car rides.
“We’ll put a little notice inside in the hotels and let people know that it’s there,” said Markle. “It really seems like this was needed.”

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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