Upcountry Dog Park to Open in December
By Debra Lordan
In a multi-year effort that began in 2006, a community project created through a partnership between Maui county officials and residents will soon come to fruition.
After ongoing dialogue between the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Upcountry Dog Park Committee, the groups began laying the groundwork for an off-leash dog park through a county ordinance change in 2008.
The county and committee quickly agreed on a location for the Upcountry Dog Park—the unused county property in Makawao on Hale Kipa Road behind the Maui County Recycling Center and adjacent to Eddie Tam Park.
Grading, cleaning, clearing, tree removal and fence installation commenced early this year. Much of the natural vegetation and trees remain, with the addition of grassy areas and low-maintenance trees and other vegetation.
Currently, the county and contractors are putting the finishing touches on what will be Maui’s largest dog park.
The park, which has been specifically designed and designated as a legal, off-leash dog park, is slated to open to the public in December of this year.
When completed, the four-acre park will include six-foot fences, double gates between separate areas for large and small dogs, drinking water for dogs and owners alike, bag dispensers and trash containers.
The facility includes plentiful parking, including ADA-compliant spots.
The Friends of Upcountry Dog Park Committee has been very active throughout the process, from soliciting members and funds, writing letters to county officials, helping to draft off-leash park administrative rules, attending county-organized informational meetings, participating in the Makawao Fourth of July Paniolo Parade and a Bark in the Park event in Kīhei, and testifying at county budget hearings.
“This is a win-win for the Maui community,” said Fred Fisher, the Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park’s current president. “Well-exercised dogs are better neighbors. Animals that get proper exercise and socialization are less likely to act aggressively to other animals and people, and less likely to bark excessively. The love people share for their dogs can reach beyond economic and social barriers and help to foster a sense of community, rather than divide it.”
Upcountry Dog Park rules will be posted and dog owners will be required to follow them, allowing for the comfort and safety of all visitors, said Fisher.
Special events will be held there in the future, including a public grand opening ceremony and blessing.
“The current board of the Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park Committee is very grateful to past board members and everyone in the county Department of Parks and Recreation for their hard work and commitment to the completion of the park,” said Fisher. “It has been a very successful example of citizens and government working together for the benefit of the entire community. There has been much support from the people of Upcountry Maui and they look forward to enjoying the park with their canine companions.”
Currently, the committee is raising funds to provide comfortable, recycled plastic benches, which will be placed in shady areas, Fisher added.
For more information or to make a donation for benches, additional signage and a bulletin board, call Fisher at (808) 298-7402.