SomeBlaine residents have “ruff” day at the park

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2007 by ack Kintner

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Some Blaine residents have “ruff” day at the park

By Jack Kintner

Thanks to a dedicated group of local volunteers working through the Blaine parks board, Blaine now has an off-leash dog exercise area in Skallman Park, near the Blaine Airport off Yew Avenue.

Though Lincoln Park is also off-leash, it is not fenced. Elsewhere leashes are required for dogs on public property throughout Blaine.

Off-leash volunteers started a chapter of the non-profit Grateful Dogs to be able to receive in-kind contributions and organize their efforts.

Last week they erected a fence that divides the .6-acre area into two compounds. “One side is for little dogs, or timid ones, and the other larger area for bigger dogs who need to run,” said organizer Terry Johnston. And run they did at Monday’s “leash cutting” ceremony attended by about 50 people and about half that many pooches.

It’s free and basically unsupervised, but common-sense rules for the off-leash area are posted in the parking area just east of the Blaine public works building. Among other things, they require owners to scoop their dog’s waste and to carry a leash while inside the compound. Aggressive dogs or dogs in heat are not allowed.

Skallman Park, which should see a lot more use with this new facility, was set aside in 1977 by public works employees in honor of their boss, long-time Blaine public works director Trav Skallman.

Volunteer Jan Hansen said that he would have approved of the use, describing him as a man who happily volunteered to enhance Blaine’s parks.

“He directed that the former city dump be carefully covered with fill, making it possible to plant it with trees and grass. That’s now Marine Park, and after he retired he could still be seen at the viewing platform of the park with nails and hammer in any weather. I’m sure he would be pleased with dogs and their humans enjoying Skallman Park,” Hansen said.