Southern Jackson County needs a dog park
Southern Jackson County needs a dog park.
The lack of one puts the area at a competitive disadvantage as it tries to put its best paw -- er, foot -- forward. This is true for both residents and visitors. For the Cashiers area to be an attractive place to live, it should be one where one can expect to find basic, needed amenities -- like a dog park. It also needs a dog park to be a fully viable tourist destination, one where canine-loving visitors can take their dogs to romp, play and interact with other dogs.
Southern Jackson County’s neighboring communities mostly all do have dog parks -- but the long drives involved make them difficult for folks here to access. Southern Jackson County needs one too.
In the northern end of the county, Sylva has a dog park at Mark Watson Park, though it has ongoing drainage problems and is reportedly often under water following heavy rains. The northern end of the county may get a new dog park if county commissioners decide to pursue a proposal to build one at a former landfill site in Dillsboro. Either way, the northern Jackson County dog parks represent a 27 mile or more drive down the mountain for Cashiers area residents.
Alternately, Cashiers residents can trek across the plateau to use the one at Highlands Recreation Park in Highlands. That Town of Highlands-operated dog park was designed by landscape architect Hank Ross, a former Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society Board member. It has received favorable reviews in that provides separate areas for small dogs and large breeds, something a needed in a well-designed dog park.
Another option is to endure another 27-mile down the mountain drive to Franklin to use one on that town’s greenway, adjacent to Big Bear Park.
“Dog parks can be a tremendous benefit for local animal-loving residents and visitors who do not have a large open space to safely allow their pet to romp and run off-leash,” David Stroud, executive director of the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society points out. “If the humans on the other end of the leash practice good dog park etiquette along with a healthy dose of common sense, a dog park can be a fun, safe and rewarding environment for exercise and socialization.”
So why not have southern Jackson County join its neighboring dog friendly communities and have a dog park in southern Jackson County? Isn’t one needed to more fully make Cashiers a wonderful place to live and a more welcoming area for visitors?
We encourage Jackson County commissioners to not automatically rule out southern Jackson County as they come to realize that a county dog park often under water -- like the current county one in Sylva -- is unacceptable. As they look for solutions to that soggy doggie situation, they should consider creating a dog park that is conveniently located in terms of proximity to southern Jackson County and throw a bone to the Cashiers area.
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