PLACES TO RUN FREE

Three off-leash dog parks coming to Olympia this summer

McLane, Ward Lake and Evergreen Park locations have been secured

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Olympia city officials recently finalized a lease with Olympia School District for a 5.5 acre plot of land near McLane Elementary School, which will be utilized as an off-leash dog park sometime during summer 2021.

In fact, three off-leash dog parks are set to open at the same time this summer, with the other two set to be on existing park property.

Lara Keehan, Parks Planning and Design Manager, told Olympia City Council members during a meeting yesterday that the process of finding and acquiring permits for the three sites has taken two years.

The site near McLane Elementary is the largest of the three parks. Between now and its opening sometime in the summer, there will be 30 parking spots installed by the site. It will have separate areas for large and small dogs.

According to the lease between the city and school district, the parcel will be leased to the city for a period of 10 years. In exchange for use of the land, the city is expected to maintain the property and manage weeds and other invasive plants.

The next largest dog park will be at Ward Lake Park, to the north of Ward Lake. It will also be separated into separate areas for large and small dogs. There is an existing 10-spot gravel parking lot at the site, which won’t be modified.

The smallest of the three parks will be at Evergreen Park near the Thurston County Courthouse. Keehan said there will be street parking available, and an adjacent church agreed to allow people visiting the park to use their parking lot, except when there’s a service happening and the lot is used by church parishioners. The park isn’t large enough to be split into two areas for different sized dogs.

All three parks will have dog waste stations that park’s department staff will empty daily, said Keehan.

The sites were purposefully spread apart, so there would be options for people living in different parts of Olympia. The parks will open at the same time, so no one park is overwhelmed with people. The exact opening dates have yet to be announced.

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