While Gig Harbor’s 15-acre off-leash dog park isn’t officially open, that hasn’t stopped dogs — and their owners — from stopping by to utilize the largely completed facility.
“We haven’t even cut a ribbon on it or anything,” said Terry Lee, the executive director of the Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District, although he noted there are plans for an official opening in the near future.
The area is fully fenced, and there are several double-gated entries to the park. Some of the closing gate mechanisms need to be tweaked, according to the Canine Health Education and Welfare website, and there are two areas where water runoff over the major trail makes it practically impossible to proceed.
Lee said he’s heard mostly positive comments from people who have taken their dogs to the park, which is located across Bujacich Road from McCormick Forest Park.
A park like this has been in the works for a long time. CHEW was organized in 2006 to advocate for the establishment of a dog park in the Gig Harbor area.
“They’ve been bird-dogging us for five years to build a dog park,” Lee said. “It demonstrates the need, apparently, in the community for dog socialization.”
Lee said the park is the culmination of a partnership between PenMet Parks, the Peninsula School District, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One and CHEW.
In 2011, PenMet Parks entered into a five-year lease with the Peninsula School District for the 97-acre Bujacich property to provide running trails and off-leash dog trails. A snag occurred when PenMet Parks came up against a Pierce County rule that requires such a park to have on-site or nearby parking available, a factor that would’ve eaten up the whole park budget, Lee said.
That’s when Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One allowed PenMet Parks to use the parking lot at Fire District 5 headquarters.
“It is the perfect partnership,” Lee said of the cooperation between the various entities. “It was kind of a marriage made in heaven.”
The Bujacich property is located at 10200 Bujacich Road NW, south of Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One headquarters.Reporter Brett Davis can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brett.