Local pups and their people braved rain and muddy paws Saturday to spend the day at the Mary Warner Mack Dog Park on the Anne Springs Close Greenway when the 12-acre park opened its gates to the public for a quarterly open house.
“We are hosting our quarterly dog park open house. We will do another one in August, but today we are just inviting the community in to see our beautiful dog park. We have over 12 acres of off leash dog park. It is awesome. It is the premiere dog park of the Southeast,” says Heather Stahr, Member Services manager for the Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Stahr estimates that about 550 families, including over 1,000 dogs, are current members.
Mina McLean MacDonald, Community Event Coordinator for Greenway, says the open house is a way for non-member dogs and their families to see what the park has to offer.
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“The dog park is really unique," she said.
"We have the upper two acres that’s sodded and has the little pine grove in it, so there’s lots of space for running and throwing a ball. Dogs get to play in groups when they’re out here. There’s some socialization that happens with the humans, too. People bring in some toys sometimes for the dogs to chase or fetch, but the unique thing about this dog park is the back 10 acres that we have. It’s also fenced in, and it has about a mile and a half of trails through this wooded area, so dogs can go running and exploring and sniffing — lots of sniffing."
MacDonald said it's an ideal destination for dog owners who don't have a yard.
"It just gives them a couple different opportunities," she said. "If you live in a townhouse or you just live in a community where you just don’t have a big back yard, your dog suddenly has 12 acres to roam and play. There’s also a small lake at the bottom of the fenced in area where the dogs can actually swim. People take tennis balls down there and throw them so their dogs will jump in the water. It’s a lot of fun.”
The park is named after Mary Warner Mack, a young local woman who passed away unexpectedly before the park opened.
“Mary Warner Mack was actually the first valedictorian at Nation Ford High School," MacDonald said.
"She and her family were very involved out here on the Greenway. She and her golden retriever Ava would run the trails out here, and unfortunately she passed away rather suddenly very young. Over 700 people made donations to create this dog park in her memory. We do have some statues representing her and Ava, and of course the trails that are in the dog park are named for her and in her honor. We have Falcon Loop for the Nation Ford Falcons; There’s Ava’s Walk. It was really amazing to watch the community just rally around this family and to create something so special in her memory,” MacDonald explains.
The Mary Warner Mack dog park membership is a $10 per month upgrade to an annual family or individual membership to the Anne Springs Close Greenway, and it includes up to four dogs. Potential canine members must be spayed or neutered, and owners need to provide proof of up-to-date vaccination records, MacDonald says.
More information is available at ascgreenway.org or by calling 803-547-4575.