By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Wiggly Field just might be one of the happiest places in Monroe.
Early on a Friday afternoon, the 3-acre off leash dog park is a playful blur of four-legged critters running after balls, chasing each other, and navigating the park’s agility equipment. There are a lot of wagging tails and smiling dog owners, as people chat about their dogs and watch them romp around the park.
From tiny terriers to large golden retrievers, all of the furry-faced occupants of Wiggly Field seem to have one common goal: to run and play as much as possible.
Monroe resident Anja Swenson and her Jack Russell terrier Tula are regulars at Wiggly Field. Swenson has been frequenting the off-leash area for close to a year and appreciates the layout and size of the park, along with the types of people she meets there. She considers it a very friendly place.
“The people are, for the most part, very dog-savvy, and create a lot of harmony,” said Swenson.
Swenson also talks about the parks department’s attentiveness to the concerns of dog park community. They’ve addressed issues brought to their attention such as bringing in extra wood chips for areas of the park prone to becoming muddy, along with new gravel for a section of the parking lot.
“We feel like we’re looked after,” commented Swenson.
Open since the leash-cutting ceremony in July of 2008, Wiggly Field was developed as the parks department started to recognize the growing need for an off-leash area in Monroe.
The park is situated in the south section of the Sky River Park and is open year-round from dawn until dusk. Its use has been very consistent.
“It’s really meeting a need and we’re quite happy with how it’s turned out,” said Mike Farrell, Director of Monroe Parks and Recreation.
Including an unobstructed grassy area for dogs to run, Wiggly Field also features a classic, albeit non-functioning, fire-hydrant; post-and-rail style fencing which can accommodate the occasional flooding of the area; posted rules for humans emphasizing good “petiquette;” and also an agility course which was originally used by the Monroe Police Department’s K9 unit.
The course was crafted for the police department by an Eagle Scout and includes steps, a balance beam, two tunnels and a varied-height jump.
The agility equipment was donated to the park when it opened. Now, with the park in its fifth year of operation, some of the pieces are looking a little worn.
“The goal we have right now is to begin replacing and repairing some of the agility equipment,” said Farrell.
Wiggly Field has always relied strongly on volunteer support and donations from local businesses and the community. The parks department is currently planning to start replacing the equipment this winter, but have a limited budget that would only allow them to replace one piece at a time. They would welcome assistance from the public, through either donations or volunteer work, to aid in the park’s renovations.
The parks department is also seeking donations to assist in the addition of a canine drinking-fountain. Although a few strategically placed water bowls have been donated, there is no water source, and it is currently a good idea for park goers to bring water for when their pups get thirsty.
Local businesses and residents raised over $4,000 in 2008 for the fencing and the park signage. The Monroe-based organic dog treat company Wet Noses came forward and began supplying the park with convenient plastic “mutt mitts” for people to utilize when cleaning up after their pets.
“We’re a very dog-friendly community,” stated Farrell.
People wishing to contribute to the park can do so via donations and/or volunteering. Please contact Parks and Recreation at (360) 863-4559.
Sky River Park is located at 413 Sky River Parkway in Monroe. Free parking is available.