An Evergreen man wants to light a fire under Jefferson County to bring a dog park back to Evergreen.
Geof Erdahl sent a video recently to Jeffco commissioners with a suggestion to put a dog park in Elk Meadow near the large parking lot off of Bergen Peak Drive. Erdahl has even written a song to explain to county officials his dogs’ need for a dog park.
The Pawlift Park lyrics go, in part, “So I need many steps, dashing to and fro; Keeps things running smoothly, you see, and it socializes me, takes the edge off my energy; As I play with my friends evergreen, in a dog park with boundaries.”
Erdahl explained that he hoped to generate renewed interest in a dog park, a topic that has seemed to become dormant since Jefferson County Open Space closed the 107-acre dog park on Stagecoach Boulevard in 2017. JCOS cited overcrowding, parking issues, animal waste and erosion as reasons for its closure, and the closure caused an uproar in Evergreen.
Erdahl has created a plan that addresses JCOS’ issues with the park it closed. He has suggested this location because it has nearly direct access from Evergreen Parkway, and a large parking area and bathrooms already exist.
He is suggesting a park that would encompass 60 acres in five stages. The first stage would be one acre that would allow JCOS and the public to build trust. That one acre then would be part of a 15- to 20-acre Stage 2. Stage 3 would also be one acre and incorporated into a 15- to 20-acre Stage 4. Stage 5 would be another 15 to 20 acres. Once Stage 5 was opened, Stages 1 and 2 would be closed and remain fallow to allow the area to regenerate.
Erdahl envisions deer fencing between stages, and one area would be used by small and senior dogs.
Jeffco officials have suggested that Erdahl contact with Friends of Evergreen Dog Park, which was formed in 2017 as the Stagecoach dog park was closing. According to Dale Glover, who leads the organization, FEDP has looked at several locations in the Evergreen area over the last couple years to no avail.
“With the real estate market changing, it’s getting more difficult to find land that isn’t near homes, where neighbors might object,” Glover said, though he added that the organization hasn’t given up hope.
Some discussions started in August when Open Space officials asked the Evergreen Park & Recreation District board what its requirements might be if it were to enter into an agreement with JCOS to manage a dog park.
EPRD board President Monty Estis said discussions have not moved further since the board met in a closed meeting to discussion dog-park possibilities.
Matt Robbins, spokesman for Open Space, said there hasn’t been much movement on discussing a dog park, but it was still on Open Space’s radar.
“We still believe that there’s an opportunity for a dog park in the region, but we are hoping that we would get some assistance with that,” Robbins said. “We want it to be local, not regional.”
Robbins explained that putting a dog park on Jeffco property automatically makes it a regional park, and the county is concerned about over-usage.
“(Erdahl) is coming from a position of compromise and being responsive to some of the challenges of a dog park,” Robbins said. “We are hoping something will come to fruition. We know there are people who want a dog park.”