Every day dogs ecstatically enjoy their freedom to run loose on paths and trails, splash and swim in water, and exercise to their heart’s content…all in a 40-acre off-leash paradise in Redmond, Washington. Accompanied by their masters and mistresses, they can run happily chasing balls and other dogs, and find stepped inlets to a waterway.
Those of us who travel with canine companions are constantly looking for places to exercise our dogs in a clean, healthy, welcoming environment. So often we are limited to small pet areas in RV parks or next to hotels that are meant to just allow our dogs to surreptitiously perform their post meal “evacuations” and between meal “liquid lettings.” It is not the usual overnight stay that has set aside a sufficiently large area—let alone one with varied interesting things for dogs to do—to adequately exercise our furry family members.
However, in Redmond, east of Seattle, there is an answer to the search for quality dog runs—Marymoor Park. The King County government once threatened to remove the dog park from Marymoor Park, but SODA (Save Our Dog Areas) was established by the people who used and loved the park and who promised to be responsible for stewarding, maintaining and improving the beautiful acreage entrusted to them. The county government acquiesced and SODA regenerated the off-leash recreation area of Marymoor Park, converting it into one of the best dog parks in the USA!
The Marymoor Off-Leash Recreation Area is more than just a park for dogs, though. It is a place for people to enjoy the company of their dogs off-leash, meet and greet other dog owners (and their dogs), and enjoy the natural beauty of this ecological “preserve” touching Lake Sammamish. The Off-Leash Recreation Area of Marymoor Park includes fields, woods and a man-made river (the slough) with five access points allowing mutt and pure bred alike to swim and fetch tennis balls (available at the entrance). With over six miles of looping trails, paths, walkways, and bridges, pooches and humans are offered a variety of walking and running experiences. Fences keep dogs and people out of sensitive bird nesting areas.
There are acres of natural fields available for dogs to romp, fetch, and explore, and their human caretakers to take in Mother Nature. The forest canopy shelters wildflowers, and water lilies poke from expanses of their companion pads in the slough and lake. There are even apple trees from an old orchard that dot the grassy landscape in parts of the off-leash area.
Leaving the off-leash area, inquisitive dogs and their human buddies can traverse a walkway with bridges that lead to a wooden pier ending amidst lily pads at the northern shore of Lake Sammamish. Looking beyond the quilt of floating flowers and round leaves, they will note how the lake’s waters open and allow fishermen in their bass boats, kayakers and rafters, plus the odd canoeist, to enjoy their aquatic interests.
Marymoor Dog Park truly provides entertainment for people as well as dogs—more than 800,000 visitations are made to Marymoor Dog Park each year, making it one of the most attractive destinations for regional recreation!
In addition to caring for the Marymoor Dog Park, SODA also maintains an off-leash area for dogs at Grandview Park in SeaTac, Washington. You can learn more at soda.org.
Bob Labozetta and his wife, Susan, are full-time RV travelers. He is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance.