Tails to Trails
Dog park planned in Farmington
By Angie Landsverk
Plans are underway to create a dog exercise area on a 28-acre parcel in the town of Farmington.
The off-leash park is being called Tails to Trails for now and is going to be built at E1580 County Trunk Q.
The property is near the corner of County Q and County Trunk QQ.
“In addition to being an off-leash dog park, it will also be an instructive, environmental education area. It’s for people as much as it is for dogs,” said Christine Faulks.
She is president of ToTo Foundation Inc, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting wellness through people and pets.
Her husband, Bob, is the construction project manager.
A private party recently purchased the property in Farmington and is in the process of selling it to the foundation.
“This first phase of the project will be about $325,000,” Bob said.
He said that amount includes the costs of land acquisition, a functioning wetland and pond, fencing, a well, parking lot and trail construction, an observation mound and the planting of mature trees.
“It will be a natural area. You won’t see asphalt or pavement. The trails will be accessible,” he said. “We have a blank canvas to work with. There are some mature trees on part of the property. The rest is cornfield.”
The entire area will be fenced, with a separate fenced area within in for dogs which are small or shy.
The second phase of the project will involve the construction of permanent restrooms.
Two events are planned this year to raise funds for the project.
The kickoff fundraising event is a ladies night event at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at The Boathouse.
It will include appetizers, a silent auction and a cash bar, with a donation of $25 per attendee.
Seating is limited, and reservations and prepayment are due by Aug. 26.
People may contact Christine through Faulks Brothers Construction at 715-258-8566 to make reservations.
The second fundraising event will be a gala at the country club on Saturday, Dec. 3.
People will also be able to purchase plaques in the shape of dog bones in memory or honor of a loved ones, whether they are two legged or four legged, Christine said.
They will be incorporated into an outdoor wall.
People will also be able to purchase trees.
“So far, someone donated $20,000. Another individual donated a storefront building in Weyauwega on Main Street for the ToTo Foundation,” Christine said. “We’re looking for support, whether it’s volunteers in the future or people who are generous with a passion for parks, dogs, the environment and the community.”
They said the dog exercise area will be modeled after the best ones in the country and will be operated by Waupaca County.
The county will set up a user fee system for those who go there with their dogs.
The fee system will be modeled after the county’s boat ramp fee program.
Those who go to the dog exercise area to walk or hike without a dog will not pay a fee, Bob said.
He said work on the property began about three months ago.
“The wetland and pond are going to be built in late September, as well as the trail system,” he said.
The goal is to open the off-leash park in mid 2017, after the grasses mature.
There will be different loops of various lengths, and local Boy Scouts already built four Leopold Benches for the park, an agility ramp and plan to build more.
There will also be a dog dock, where dogs may swim and retrieve. Adjacent to that will be the functioning wetland to attract birds.
The observation mound will allow for the viewing of nature.
The intention is for it to be used year around.
They see the property in Farmington as being the right fit.
It is in rural Waupaca, where many people walk alone and with dogs on roads.
The dog exercise area will also be in proximity to where a walking trail ends, as well as near the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.
Christine is pleased with the possibilities that will offer.
“I really believe in the therapeutic nature of dogs,” she said. “I have seen the significant difference they can make in a person’s life.”
Christine heads ThedaCare’s local Hospice Pet Therapy Program, which is a volunteer position, and said dogs also visit Waupaca’s library and Chain O’ Lakes Elementary School, where students become more confident readers as they read to dogs.
She envisions pet therapy taking place in this park as well.
This is the not the first site considered for this new park.
“We were working with the city first to try to identify a city-owned piece of land,” Christine said. “Parks and Recreation was very helpful. We were not finding the right piece of property.”