Off-Leash Areas: Howe Farm Ready for Action, SK Park a Possibility

Dogs owners have been out in force taking advantage of newly renovated off-leash areas at Howe Farm County Park.

Danny Horovitz of Kitsap Dog Parks Inc. said completion of the project, along with an expanded parking lot and single-stall rest room, is cause to celebrate.

“We’re real excited to have it open,” said Horovitz. “A lot of people want this. A lot of people are using it.”

A ribbon-cutting is planned for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Kitsap Dog Parks and South Kitsap School District are negotiating with the county on an agreement that would allow both entities to play a role in Howe Farm’s use. The school district, with WSU Kitsap County Cooperative Extension, would like to use part of the land for agricultural and vocational classes. Dogs Parks Inc. would like to develop trails for dog owners.

Horovitz said his organization and the district are ready and willing to cooperate.
“There’s excitement for both groups to be working together,” he said.

While the news at Howe Farm is upbeat, some dog owners have complained to the county about stepped up enforcement of leash laws at South Kitsap Community Park, according to Dori Leckner, senior parks maintenance supervisor.

The county took over the park this summer, and dog owners who have been used to letting their dogs run free are finding posted leash laws enforced by county personnel. Signs at the park notify them of the availability of Howe Farm and Bandix Dog Park, also in South Kitsap.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said the idea of having an off-leash area at SK Park is “not off the table.” Nearly a dozen special interest groups representing various sports and recreational pursuits are working with the county on future development of the park.

Anyone interested in having an off-leash area at SK Park should contact Arvilla Ohlde at (360) 337-5361.

If you are a dog owner, what are your thoughts on off-leash opportunities in Kitsap County?

5 thoughts on “Off-Leash Areas: Howe Farm Ready for Action, SK Park a Possibility

  1. I AM a ‘dog person’ and do not understand the need for off leash dog ‘parks’.

    What is the average number of dogs using the space?
    Based on the average number of dogs – what is the cost breakdown per dog to provide and maintain the space? (including the fence costs).

    Parks, yes, on lead dogs in parks, yes – but to segregate a county or city funded, public, fenced and open place for dogs and owners only is astounding.
    I noted that PO has three fenced dog parks…BI has one …Bremerton has one..maybe one more in Kitsap County …but it sure isn’t in Silverdale.

    Is PO so wealthy that its tax payers can afford to support three off lead dog parks?
    Is Silverdale so poor, it can’t afford one?

    Does PO have one fenced, dedicated public place for young children to safely play off lead?

    Our parks aren’t fenced….so where are public funded, fenced, safe areas for children to play together?
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. You are right Sharon. Just goes to show that the county places dogs above people. But of course, that is because many people believe dogs are at least just as important as people.

  3. I agree with you here, Sharon. This is a frustrating issue, specifically because the Howe Farm has/d such potential as a teaching farm for the purpose of helping the next generation understand how their food is grown/produced.

    I, too, would rather see us invest in our youth, but as dahl says, to some people, dogs take priority.

  4. Mary – There is still a plan in the works for the school district’s vocational department, working with WSU Kitsap County Extension, to develop parts of the park for teaching and demo purposes. At one point there was even a plan to have a market with produce grown by the students. According to Danny Horovitz of Dog Parks Inc., his folks are ready to play nice with the ag folks and visa versa. If Horovitz is right, old animosities have been buried. Negotiations with the county are still under way, and Horovitz said he’s unsure what role each of the groups will play at Howe Farm, but with 83 acres, it sounds like there’s room for everybody, as long as groups with varied interests agree to get along.

  5. If this is funded and supported by the tax payers, will they get a say in how their money is spent?

    Most would be 100% for any educational programs..
    Sharon O’Hara

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