This year, member comments centered on trail improvement, mud issues, planting, hygiene and preservation of the grassy areas. Here are all the comments we received and our response:
Q#1: What projects do you think should be undertaken for the future?
Trail improvement: “Removing large pieces of gravel and finding more paw friendly alternatives”
Our response: We will continue to work with the Township on trail issues. With respect to the large less comfortable stones on the path at the far side of the park, the Township has found that trying to finish off paths using the fine gravel works on level paths but does not work on slopes, where gullies develop. We are exploring viable alternatives. Meanwhile, we have found that for humans, shoes with thicker soles help—and the dogs are free to go where they please!
Mud Problem/Planting Plans: “Center area of mucky water—plant?” ** “Less mud!” ** “Putting down stones or mulch to get rid of the mud.” ** “Mud control in far end of park near boardwalk” ** “Continue the good work on flooding & planting.” **
Our response: One of our top priorities is to continue ongoing planting efforts to reduce mud, replace tree cover, and enhance the wildlife habitat. We plan to continue our planting program, expanding to the area around the blue Dog Park sign as well as in the wildlife garden, riparian areas, and the boggy areas. We will seek out expert ecological advice on use of mulch and stones/gravel to reduce mud.
Hygiene/Grass Preservation: ** “Protection of the grassy areas.” ** “Small signs advising people to stay on the path except for poop pick-up. I’m thinking of a few signs along pathway such as “keep off the grass” signs you see around town. I believe many people come to the park who do not belong to our association and may or may not adhere to our rules and may or may not have off-leash permits for their dogs. I’ve heard people say they think they don’t need to clean up poop when it’s up on the hill or in the middle of the meadow. They do! But a little signage might reinforce rules to non-members and casual drop-in visitors.”
Our response: Good suggestions, which will be considered. FYI we consider the addition of signage something of a balancing act. The up side of signage is that it may influence behavior in a good direction; the down side is that signage tends to undermine one of our main missions which is to preserve the natural atmosphere of the park. Our experience with park signage to date suggests that its effectiveness is less that one would hope.
Amenities: “Dog water fountain and rinsing station” ** “trash can deeper in the park”
Our response: As always, when it comes to park amenities we try to balance member need, the cost and maintenance burden on the township, and our goal of maintaining the wild, “walk in the woods” feel of our park. At this time, our thinking is a more minimalist approach on such conveniences best fulfills our mission.
Q#2: Any other comments or thoughts you would like us to consider?
“Although I don’t have a dog, I support the park’s promotion of and use of native plants.” ** “Love the park and love the improvements, including the respite garden and memorial trunk.” ** “It’s a wonderful park!” ** “Thank you!” ** “Keep up the great work!” ** “Keep up the good work—well done on improving the park!” ** “Thanks for running the park.” ** ”Thanks for all you do!!” ** “Thank you for creating and maintaining a lovely respite for humans and hounds!” ** “We absolutely love the creek! Thank You.
Our response: Thanks for the positive feedback—it keeps us energized!