Johnsburg Has Gone to the Dogs!

While you’re probably aware of many of the great family-friendly activities available in Gore Region, you may not know that the Town of Johnsburg has lots to offer your four-legged friends, too! Recently, Johnsburg demonstrated its devotion to its residents’ furry best friends by opening the new Town of Johnsburg Dog Park.

After retiring in 2015, Linda Cobb left Syracuse, New York, and returned to Johnsburg, where she lived previously. While she was thrilled to once again be living near longtime friends, she became concerned that the unfenced yard of her new home in North River wasn’t ideal for her dogs, Poppy and Danny. After Poppy ran out of the yard and across an adjacent well-traveled road one day, Ms. Cobb began brainstorming ways to make the area safer – and more fun – for all dogs.

Ms. Cobb connected with Lisa Giknis, a Lake George resident and business owner who was influential in establishing a dog park in her hometown. Linda soon began gauging interest in bringing a dog park to Johnsburg by informally surveying local dog owners. The responses she received were overwhelmingly positive. Older residents, in particular, were receptive, expressing that a dog park would offer the double benefit of providing a place for them to socialize while their dogs exercised.

Linda also spoke with North Creek business owners to assess their thoughts on what could be increased four-legged traffic in town as the result of a nearby dog park and found that many shops and eateries were already dog-friendly. Some even keep dog treats on hand for their canine patrons. Ms. Cobb continued her thorough efforts to vet her dog park idea by reaching out to seasonal residents of the Town of Johnsburg. She reasoned that if both seasonal and permanent area residents were in favor of a dog park, it would be easier to make the case to town officials that supporting a dog park in North Creek would be a boost to both the economy – drawing more visitors to the business district – and to community spirit.

Over the course of a year, Linda researched community improvement grants, looked into prospective sites, and shared her plans with other Johnsburg residents. This past June, Ms. Cobb pitched her concept for a dog park in North Creek to the Town Board. She explained to them that her mission, and the mission of those who were actively supporting the development of a dog park alongside her, was to create an off-leash, free dog park where dogs and their owners could have positive interactions with one another in a safe, well-maintained space.

A Location Was Settled Upon

Linda elaborated that a dog park would promote responsible dog ownership and meet a need for a significant portion of the local population – older adults, many living in isolated areas, who aren’t always able to walk long distances or engage in vigorous play with their dogs in order to give them the physical activity they need. Ms. Cobb described the future dog park as a “canine complement” to the town’s playground, beach, and other public park areas.

With the assurance that no permanent changes would be made to the agreed-upon location – primarily meaning no concrete was to be used to set fence posts – the Town Board gave their approval for Linda to move forward if she was able to secure funding.

Construction Begins

Thanks to awards received from two grant opportunities Ms. Cobb applied for, funding was in place to purchase fencing, fence posts, and a gate. Lisa Giknis and the Town of Lake George donated 100 yards of fencing and a 35-gallon water tank. The Dog Park Pals, a steering committee convened by Linda and five area friends, volunteered their time to break ground on the dog park, and their efforts were supplemented by another local volunteer who donated his time and use of his construction-grade equipment to dig fence post holes and begin putting in fencing. Everyone’s hard work paid off, and the Town of Johnsburg Dog Park opened officially on October 20, 2019.

“I’m just so proud of everyone,” Ms. Cobb said. “It was beautiful to see how well everyone worked together to make this happen.”

The park has already seen its share of traffic in the short time since its debut. At its busiest, Linda estimates the park has hosted roughly 20 dogs at a time. She and the rest of the Dog Park Pals continue to monitor and maintain the site, and Linda is pursuing additional grant funding in hopes of adding amenities such as a kiosk featuring the park rules and eventually a picnic table and benches.

Rules of the Dog Park

The dog park is divided into two areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs. The dog park’s rules were formulated based on New York State regulations and best practices gleaned from other successful public spaces for dogs. Linda emphasizes the dog park is for friendly dogs and notes that mean or uncontrollable dogs will be asked to leave. Dog owners are asked to keep the leash in hand at all times and pick up after their pets. Trash bags and waste receptacles are available, as is a shovel for filling any holes your dog may dig.

The dog park’s rules also note that puppies under four-months-old and small children should refrain from coming to the dog park for their safety: due to their smaller size, they’re at greater risk of being knocked down by even the most well-meaning larger dogs. Dogs who come to play at the park must be licensed, and no dogs will be excluded based solely on breed.

Ms. Cobb and company have worked hard to ensure the Town of Johnsburg Dog Park is a safe, enjoyable place for all. Located on Route 28 in North Creek, the dog park can be found by taking the first left off of Ski Bowl Road. It’s the park area adjacent to the beach.

You can learn more about everything going on at the Town of Johnsburg Dog Park by checking out its Facebook page. Or, you can head over, with your best dog friend in tow of course, and experience it for yourselves!