Who Let the Dogs Out? Upcountry Dog Park Opens

December 5, 2015, 2:07 PM HST · Updated December 7, 6:29 AM
Debra Lordan · 12 Comments
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Grand opening of the Upcountry Dog Park at Eddie Tam. Photo by Debra Lordan.

Over 75 dog owners, park supporters, county personnel, and past and present members of the Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park committee attended the “unleashing” ceremony for the new dog park at Eddie Tam on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Approximately 50 canines accompanied their owners to the grand opening celebration, which began at 9 a.m.

The park is the result of a partnership between Maui County officials and members of the Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park Committee that began in 2006. The new facility is located in the Eddie Tam complex on two acres of gently sloping land off Hale Kipa Road behind the Maui County Recycling Center.

Maui’s largest off-leash dog park promotes canine socialization and exercise.

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    The blessing was conducted by Kahu Alalani Hill, then Mayor Alan Arakawa, County Council Chair Mike White, and Department of Parks & Recreation Director Ka‘ala Buenconsejo, Parks & Recreation Supervisor Sue Kiang and UDP Committee President Fred Fisher spoke at the event.

    Then, “Who Let the Dogs Out” played over the PA system, while Mayor Arakawa unhooked a long string of leashes, and Maui’s dogs and owners eagerly streamed into the large and small dog sections of the long-awaited park—without incident.

    After the presentations, the mayor told Maui Now that he could not bring his dog, because he had another event to attend immediately after the park opening.

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    “But I’ve always believed dogs need a place to run around,” the mayor said. “I’ve never had a house dog, only farm dogs; outdoor dogs. We’ve had as many as 10 or 15 at a time.”

    Councilman White is also a dog lover. He said he knows “how much happier they are when they can get out and get good exercise and how much happier dog owners are when their dogs are happy.”

    White added, “This is a really important thing for the county to do… to provide a place where residents can take their dogs to play, safely and securely.”

    UDP Committee President Fisher thanked board members, volunteers, the Upcountry community and the county for their support and aloha while making the dog park a reality. “It’s been a team effort.”

    The Maui Humane Society conducted dog licensing at the event, and Valley Isle Animal Rescue and Your Vet Maui provided additional information.

    Valley Isle Animal Rescue's Dennis Burns and Katie. VIAR photo.

    Valley Isle Animal Rescue’s Dennis Burns and Katie. VIAR photo.

    Valley Isle Animal Rescue’s Dennis Burns brought along Katie, the nonprofit’s mascot, who, he said, was hit by a car years back.

    VIAR works with the County of Maui to take care of the “on call” emergency animal services from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

    An obvious animal lover, Burns said he has 15 dogs at home. “Six are adoptable,” he said. Call 463-4194 to inquire about adopting one of his rescue animals.

    The park includes six-foot fences, double gates between separate areas for large and small dogs, drinking water for dogs and owners alike, benches, bag dispensers and trash containers.

    Upcountry Dog Park rules are posted at the park’s entrance; dog owners will be required to follow them. Dogs should be flea- and tick-free. Dogs must be licensed as is required by Maui County Code. Dogs can be licensed at the event at the Maui Humane Society. Bring proof from your veterinarian that your dog being neutered or spayed and a dog license will cost $7; otherwise the cost is $31.

    The Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park committee is selling UDP T-shirts to raise money for additional benches, additional signage and a bulletin board. To purchase a T-shirt or to make a donation, call (808) 298-7402.

    The new facility, open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., includes plentiful parking and ADA spaces, all accessible from Hale Kipa Road.

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    Sharon Heinzman, Myrna and Asta live only a couple blocks away from the new dog park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Small dog section of the Upcountry Dog Park at Eddie Tam. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Small dog section looking toward the double gates at the Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Upcountry Dog Park Grand Opening. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Small dog section of the Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Large dog section of the Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Kahu Alalani Hill gives a treat and blesses the feet of one of the first dogs to enter the new Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Some of the first guests enter the new Upcountry Dog Park at Eddie Tam. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Upcountry Dog Park Grand Opening. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Upcountry Dog Park Grand Opening. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Upcountry Dog Park Grand Opening. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Upcountry Dog Park Committee President Fred Fisher welcomes all to the Grand Opening of the new facility. Debra Lordan photo.

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    County Council Chair Mike White (left to right), County Parks & Recreation Supervisor Sue Kiang, Mayor Alan Arakawa and Kahu Alalani Hill at the Grand Opening of the Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Mayor Alan Arakawa at the Grand Opening of the Upcountry Dog Park at Eddie Tam. Debra Lordan photo.

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    Kīhei residents Carol and Ken VanHorn, and Santa’s helper, Cody, attended the Grand Opening of the Upcountry Dog Park. Debra Lordan photo.

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    San Francisco residents Joe and Ciara Romson brought along a mini-replica of their dog, Shasta, to the opening of the Upcountry Dog Park. They accompanied Kahu Alalani Hill, who will perform their marriage ceremony on Tuesday. They plan to move to Maui in five years, when they will visit the park with “the real thing.”

    Maui Now Story LINK
    Upcountry Off-Leash Dog Park Grand Opening Dec. 5

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    Robert and Bridget Santry, and their dog, Rowdy, stand with Peter Tierney of SPCA Maui and his dog, Lucy. They are neighbors in Makawao, but this is the first “face-to-face” meeting between the dogs, thanks to the new facility. Debra Lordan photo.

    Debra Lordan
    Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Maui Now since December 2014.

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