Fall Planting Day 2018

With the aid of the Township Parks crew and our faithful Member volunteers, we will be planting shrubs, trees, and perennials to enhance our Park ecology and of course, to reduce mud.  Bring work gloves if you have them (extras will be on hand) to help in the effort!  Light refreshments will be provided.  As always, come and go as you please — no need to stay the entire time

Yet Another Weeding Day

The favour of your company is requested at our West Mill Creek Wildlife Garden Weeding Day

at the West Mill Creek Park Wildlife and Respite Garden. . . .

Bring garden gloves and your favorite weeding implement.  Water, Kind Bars, and good fellowship will be provided.

Dog Aggression

Trouble in Paradise?   Tips from Friends of West Mill Creek Park on how to handle dog aggression at the park

If you have an issue with an aggressive dog at the park . . .

  • As a first step, try a polite and civil conversation with the owner of the dog you are concerned about. Sometimes a creative solution can be found.  For instance, we had one situation that was resolved when the owner agreed to keep the dog muzzled while at the park.  Or, if the problem is not severe, the owners could try a mutual agreement to keep on opposite sides of the park, or to visit the park at different times.
  • If that does not work, especially if there is an injury to you or your dog, the next step is to notify Lower Merion Animal Control at 610-649-1000. Animal Control will send an officer to take your statement.  (Note:  The Lower Merion Department of Parks & Recreation administers the Off Leash Permit program, but they cannot take action absent a police report.)
  • After you have given a statement to the police, you can proceed to notify Donna Heller, Director of the L.M. Department of Parks & Recreation, at dheller@lowermerion.org , or (610) 645-6220.  Parks & Rec will review the situation and, if circumstances warrant, may revoke the off leash permit of the offending dog.
  • In all cases where there has been an injury to a person or dog, it is a good idea to document that with photos and/or a visit to the doctor or vet (as the case may be).

If you are the owner of a dog that may have injured another dog or person at the park . . .

  • After the dogs are safely separated, best practice is to contact the other owner, ask whether owner and dog are ok, and where appropriate offer to pay for any damage caused. This can be very hard because both you and the other owner may be upset, but apologies or expressions of concern go a long way to ease tensions and promote a civil atmosphere at the park.
  • Just because you have an incident does not mean your dog’s off leash permit can or should be revoked.  Accidents happen.  But remember .  .  .  NOT ALL DOGS ARE SUITABLE FOR OFF LEASH DOG PARKS. A dog may be a fine dog and a beloved family member, but still not a good candidate for off leash privileges in a public park.

Role of Friends of West Mill Creek Park

To keep our dog park a friendly and welcoming place, concerns about habitually aggressive dogs must be addressed.  Our policy is to rely on the police and township to referee disputes over dog aggression.

  • Our organization is not trained or equipped to arbitrate disputes among dog park visitors. Our role in this area is strictly limited to providing educational information to help people resolve issues as amicably as possible through the proper channels.
  • We cooperate with any inquiries about aggressive dog incidents from the police or the Lower Merion Department of Parks and Recreation.

See also our companion brochure, “Etiquette:  10 Tips for a Great Dog Park Experience,” for some really good general guidelines on avoiding common dog park problems.  Copies are usually available in the kiosk, and it is also available under the “Gettin’ Along” tab on our website.

Another Weeding Day

The favour of your company is requested at our West Mill Creek Wildlife Garden Weeding Day

at the West Mill Creek Park Wildlife and Respite Garden. . . .

Bring garden gloves and your favorite weeding implement.  Water, Kind Bars, and good fellowship will be provided.

Our Weeding Day

The favour of your company is requested at our West Mill Creek Wildlife Garden Weeding Day

at the West Mill Creek Park Wildlife and Respite Garden. . . .

Bring garden gloves and your favorite weeding implement.  Water, Kind Bars, and good fellowship will be provided.

2018 Donations

FOUR PAWS ($150 or more)

Peter & Ellen Briggs

Anne Hamilton

Beth & David Mark

THREE PAWS (($100 to $149)

Judy & Yair Argon

Jay Bryan & Nancy Winkler

John & Jessica Cassimatis

Linda & Gary Dorey-Stein

Richard Hamilton

Karen Hinckley

Michael Hoessly

Joan Logue

Ellen Reese & Gary Stein

Eileen Rosenau

Kay Sude

Sherry & Lewis Wexler

Karen Zimmerman & David Preefer

TWO PAWS ($50 to $99)

Arthur & Judy Axelrod

John & Barbara Barr

Iain & Mary Black

Karen & Joan Garbeil

Jill Cooper

Hazel Murphy

Jay & Marya Margolis

Jill & Eric Sussman

Christel Urmenyhazi

Mark & Sonya Wassmansdorf

Rick & Karen Wilson

ONE PAW (up to $49)

Janice Asher

Amy Cohen & Tom Waniewski

Michelle Detwiler & Lars Pace

Mary Field

Helene Walker

Knotweed Day the Third

Every June, we cut down invasive Japanese Knotweed in a three day Anti Knotweed Extravaganza.  Wear long pants, long sleeves and gardening gloves for protection against poison ivy, and join us!  Water and Kind Bars will be provided.

Knotweed Day the Second

Every June, we cut down invasive Japanese Knotweed in a three day Anti Knotweed Extravaganza.  Wear long pants, long sleeves and gardening gloves for protection against poison ivy, and join us!  Water and Kind Bars will be provided.

Knotweed Day The First

Every June, we cut down invasive Japanese Knotweed in a three day Anti Knotweed Extravaganza.  Wear long pants, long sleeves and gardening gloves for protection against poison ivy, and join us!  Water and Kind Bars will be provided.

2018 Survey Results Are In!

2018 Friends of West Mill Creek Annual Member Survey

This year, member comments centered on trail improvements, safety, new planting, adding seating, and additional conveniences.  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:  “We need gravel on the path from the entrance to the creek.  It is always muddy” ** “Finish the stone path on the creek side of the park”  ** “Pathway repair to encourage people to stay on the paths and protect the park.” ** “Replace the upper rock path after the board walk with smaller, more dog friendly rocks.  I find myself avoiding the rock path, and walking on the side.  My dog does also.”** “Adding new stones to low-lying muddy are near wooden walkway.”

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 don’t have an alternative at this time.  However, we have found that shoes with thicker soles help.

Planting:  “Work with Township to replace fallen trees” ** “Continue planting to reduce mud and improve wildlife habitat.” ** “I love the Ellens’ recent idea of planting flowers at the base of the Mill Creek Dog Park sign—perhaps pachysandra or something that might stay lush year round.” ** “More planting of trees and shrubs, especially in the riparian area.” ** “Additional plantings for beauty and muddy area control, especially for repairing the riparian area.”**”I think a simple solution to the super-marshy lowland area in the middle of the loop is essentially making it a “bioswale”.  Essentially water sucking vegetation that can be bought cheap and en masse.  This will serve to dry out the area and help keep some mud off the more adventurous dogs.” ** “Consider other areas where wildflower seeds can be spread to make the park rich in cool plants and flowers.” ** “For immediate gratification, more flowering native plants would be nice.  However, a wiser investment would be planting trees as recommended by the speaker from Longwood Gardens at the annual meeting.”  **”Continued work to even better control the flooding problem would be great.”

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 will soon be doing planting under the Dog Park sign as well as in the wildlife garden, riparian areas, and the boggy areas.

Safety:There are a few spots that dogs can get out of the park too easily.  A “false” path leads up to that busy road.  Can it be blocked or fencing put in at the top of the path?  Also there is a rock and dirt pile high enough for a dog to climb and reach the road near the entrance.” **”More protective fencing in areas above creek to keep dogs in if they cross over creek and climb up towards the squash club, and anywhere to make it completely closed in and safe.” **”Do you suppose there is anything we can do as a group re the intersection of Old Gulph and Mill Creek Roads?”**”Can anything be done to counter the parking lot break-ins?  Could donations pay for a camera system–or is that not likely to be effective?”

Our response:  Regarding park fencing, the path that leads up to Mill Creek Road is a Bridlewild Trail and cannot be blocked off.  As to the rock/dirt pile near the entrance, we have been discussing this with the Township for some years and there is some concern that excavating the pile will destabilize the wall.  We are thinking of trying to plant a thick hedge around this area that would discourage dogs from running up there.  We take dog safety seriously and in the past we added the entrance gate and extended existing park fencing for this reason.   But unfortunately WMC Park cannot be completely fenced.  We are planning to post signage that provides a warning to help ensure that all park users understand this.  For those who cannot rely on their dog’s recall skills, there is a completely fenced dog park area at Rolling Hill Park.

** Regarding the intersection of Old Gulph and Mill Creek Roads, we contacted our Commissioner, Dan Bernheim.  Dan contacted Officer Michael Sullivan, who deals with traffic issues at the L.M. Police Department, on our behalf.  Officer Sullivan has told us that traffic signs and signals are subject to both Federal and State regulation.  Under those regulations, neither traffic volume at the intersection nor incidence of relatable crashes qualify the intersection for an added stop sign or other traffic control device.  He also told us that studies have shown that stop signs put up where people don’t expect them can actually cause more accidents than they prevent.  So — added traffic signals at Old Gulph and Mill Creek is not an option for us at this point.  Be cautious at the intersection!

**Regarding parking lot break-ins, we will run this idea by the township, but regretfully we think the most effective option is not to leave valuables in your car when visiting the park.

Seating:  “Big stones for sitting at each stream entrance spot.”

Our response:  We are all for this idea and will actively try to find additional sitting stones.  (Turns out that rocks of the appropriate size are getting very difficult to find—last year we visited several quarries and found a total of two suitable stones which we placed at The Deep/North Beach.)

Additional conveniences:  “Water station—fountain and dog water spout” ** “A hose to spray muddy dogs at the parking lot” ** “Addition of hose and spray nozzle at park entrance to wash off muddy pups!”

Our response:  Unfortunately, running water in the park is impracticable at this time.

Hygiene:  “Some persuasive educational approach to encourage dog owners to pick up their dogs’ poop–even when it’s off the path (since it goes into the watershed).

Our response:  We have created a brochure on this subject that is available at the kiosk and on our website, and we issue reminders at our annual meeting and in our annual newsletter.  We are very concerned about this and would welcome suggestions that would further address this issue!

Q#2:  Any other comments or thoughts you would like us to consider?

“Love the stones at the North Beach.” **  “I LOVE THIS DOG & PEOPLE COMMUNITY!  THANK YOU.”  ** “We are appreciative of all the efforts that are being made on behalf of the Park.”  ** “Thank you all very much for creating a sanctuary for dogs and their humans.  We are all most appreciative.” ** “Thanks for all that you do for people and pets!” ** “Thanks for all you do!”

Our response:  Thanks for the positive feedback – and we agree it’s all the dogs and all the people together as a community that makes our park so special.