Off-leash dog park coming to Farmington
By Angie Landsverk
An off-leash dog park will open in the town of Farmington on Saturday, Aug. 26.
There will be free admission and access to the park from 9 a.m. to noon that day, with membership dog tags for sale.
The park is called Tails to Trails and is located at E1580 County Trunk Q.
“It’s just under 30 acres. There are mowed trails throughout it, so you never have to walk the same path twice,” said Kika Udoni, ToTo Foundation’s project manager.
ToTo Foundation, Inc. is a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting wellness through people and pets.
The dog park is it latest project and the main one for Udoni this summer.
Fundraising to build the park began about a year ago after a private party bought the 28-acre parcel and sold it to the foundation.
Turning what was once a cornfield into a dog park cost about $280,000.
Dave Johnson is the park’s major contributor and benefactor.
He said it is important for the community to have a place like this.
“This is going to be a very unique dog park, very special. It was a pleasure to give,” said Johnson, who has two border terriers.
Hundreds of individuals and businesses financially supported the project.
The dog park’s other major contributors were Faulks Brothers Construction and the Woodpile Foundation.
Bob Faulks, the construction project manager, said approximately two-thirds of the $280,000 has been raised.
“We’re fundraising to cover the last one-third of the cost,” he said.
Udoni said Purses for Pooches, held in late July, raised more than $6,000 to go toward the project.
A winter gala called Mutts & Martinis is planned for Dec. 1.
The ToTo Foundation is currently taking on 100 percent of the park’s maintenance.
Membership fees will go toward that, as well as for any additions the foundation makes based on the suggestions of the users, Udoni said.
She said the park’s user fee system is being modeled after Waupaca County’s boat ramp fee program and will be an honor system.
ToTo anticipates opening the park at sunrise and closing it at sunset, with the park’s gates locked overnight, Udoni said.
Udoni said the park will be open year round, with the trails plowed in the winter.
The foundation is looking for someone to donate a trailer for hauling the snow plow equipment.
The cost for a 2018 annual membership is $35, and a day pass is $4.
The cost for an annual dog lover’s membership is $25. That membership is for those who do not have a dog but want to visit the park to walk on its trails or view the wildlife.
People may mail membership checks to the foundation at: ToTo Foundation, P.O. Box 214, King, WI 54946. They should include their address, so a dog tag may be mailed back to them.
They may also visit totofund.org/news/tails-to-trails-annual-membership-pass to purchase memberships online.
In addition, there will be a spot in the park to place fees for daily passes and memberships.
Tails to Trails is modeled after the dog exercise area in Portage County’s Standing Rocks Park.
While the two-acre dog park in the city of Waupaca is part of the Waupaca County park system, Tails to Trails is currently not part of that system.
A committee is dedicated to the off-leash dog park’s upkeep for the time being, Udoni said.
The foundation will see what the future holds.
The project is near and dear to the hearts of many foundation members, so turning it over would take a mutual understanding, she said.
The new park’s features include a 90-foot deep hand pump, installed to provide fresh and safe running water for dogs to drink, Udoni said.
There is a five-foot high fence around the park and a fenced-in area for dogs under 30 pounds.
Boy Scouts built nine Leopold benches that are located throughout the park.
It was an Eagle Scout project for two of them.
Boy Scouts also built a ramp for the ability area and other items, Udoni said.
The park has four miles of level trails and a 12-foot deep swimming pond for the dogs.
“I didn’t grow up with a dog. My first day on the job, we went to about 12 different dog parks,” she said.
During those visits, questions were posed as to what features those in charge of the parks most wished they had.
A pond for dogs to swim in continually came up in those conversations.
Faulks said 12,000 plugs and plants, representing 23 different species, were planted in Tails to Trails.
“In the spring, every couple of weeks, something new will bloom,” he said.
The park’s one-acre wetland is meant to be a teaching space.
Faulks said they will raise the wetland’s water level about 6 inches in the fall to protect the plants from winter kill and a freeze out.
“We’re trying to leave the rest of it as natural as possible,” he said.
When people enter the park, they will see a dog bag station.
Faulks said dog owners only need to clean up after their pets when the dogs make a mess on a trail.
An observation mound in the middle of the property allows people to get an overall view of the property and surrounding area.
Faulks said that feature was the idea of Roger Holman, Waupaca County’s former parks director.
ToTo saw a need for a park like this in rural Waupaca and hopes to obtain easier access to it for the veterans living nearby in King.
Future plans also include adding a celebration wall and trees.
During her involvement in the project, Udoni saw how much people in the community care about others.
She also said, “I haven’t seen a dog that doesn’t have a smile on its face after running around here.”