Winter dog park

Kyle and Juliane Farlow pet their dog, Pako, a goldendoodle, while Grover, a Bernedoodle, and Piper, an Italian mastiff, come over to play at the winter dog park in November at Teton County Fairgrounds. The seasonal dog park is open from early November to late April.

A pup party on Wednesday will mark the last day of the winter dog park at Teton County Fairgrounds.

The human-canine duos who enjoy the seasonal park continue to push for a permanent, year-round space to roam, sniff, socialize and do their business.

Companion animal advocacy organization Paws of Jackson Hole, which partners with Teton County Parks and Recreation to manage the dog park each winter, will host a closing day soiree, programs manager Jess Farr said. From 2 to 5 p.m., people are encouraged to stop by with their pups, costumes optional, to enjoy the final day with a cold beverage or a game of cornhole.

“We’ll be out there chatting with people who have been using the park all year,” Farr said, and to collect email addresses of those who want to stay apprised of the efforts to build a year-round park.

Despite opposition from neighbors who have thwarted previous efforts to establish a year-round park, PAWS continues to work closely with the town and county to plan the layout of a park and to find an appropriate space to build a place for furry family members to recreate.

“The ball is moving,” Farr said. “And our tails are wagging. That’s more promising than it’s been in the past.”

Right now, with dogs prohibited on the green space of every town park, people like Farr, whose only children are the four-legged kind, feel left out.

“It would be nice for people who have dogs as family members to have a place to go so they can socialize, recreate, and not have encounters with wildlife or be running into the street,” she said.

Frequent dog park user Bob Caesar drives from his home near Kelly every day to exercise his Australian shepherd at the temporary fairground facility.

To the question “Why a year-round park,” Caesar responds: “I have a year-round dog” who needs socialization and exercise.

Many other communities like Kemmerer, Powell and Sheridan have public dog parks, Caesar points out on the Facebook group “Jackson Hole needs a great dog park.”

“We could make such a great statement to be on the cutting edge of this stuff,” Caesar said. “If we could just get the public land we could have a heck of a good dog park.”

Caesar is just one of many impassioned park users who have taken ownership of the winter park, Farr said.

“They’re all cleaning every time they’re there, getting signatures,” Farr said. “It’s really lovely to see people come together because this is something that really serves them.”

The dog park fencing will come down Thursday, and surrounding Bridger-Teton National Forest winter wildlife closures come to an end Friday.

Contact Johanna Love at 732-7071 or jlove@jhnewsandguide.com.

Johanna Love steers the newsroom as editor. Her time off is occupied by kid, dog, biking, camping and art. She loves to hear from readers with story tips, kudos, criticism and questions.

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