Ever wonder why weekend traffic has gotten so bad in recent years?
I give you dog owners, a group on which to sit-stay-lay the blame.
They’re an itchy bunch that doesn’t think twice about driving from one end of the county to the other so that Mack and Jo and Ginger and Diesel can visit their favorite dog park.
They’re easy to spot. Just look for the slobber on the back windows.
As Mack and Jo and Ginger and Diesel will tell you, there are a lot of really cool off-leash parks to choose from in Snohomish County.
With help from my pooches, Harlan, a rat terrier from Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Bridget, a Corgador (Corgi-Lab mix) thrown out of a car window in Tennessee (I like to think she was able to glide to safety with those ears), Washington North Coast Magazine reviewed a pack of dog parks.
To visit any of them, dogs need a license and up-to-date shots.
Off Leash Area
Edmonds, aka OLAE!
498 Admiral Way, Edmonds
This is the Club Med of off-leash dog parks. It has a big area to run, an agility course and a saltwater beach. Check the tide tables before you go. Dogs may be able to slip through the perimeter fence at low tide.
This park is so nice that some go the extra mile to get here.
Chris and Amanda Kirk of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, traveled more than 300 miles so that Rosie, their 10-year-old Labrador, could visit the famed Edmonds dog park.
Chris Kirk saw dogs “frolicking in the Sound” from the train — he works for BNSF Railway — and just had to bring Rosie here.
“We have a dog park in Coeur d’Alene, but nothing like this,” Amanda Kirk said. “She’s having a heyday!”
This is a great place to chase tennis balls through the waves. How can I describe the joy on my graying 10-year-old dog’s face when she runs through the tide pools?
This beach also is nice enough for company. I invited a dog-free colleague, Herald writer Sharon Salyer, to accompany me, and despite being hit by “sand and slobber,” she enjoyed the outing.
Off-Leash Dog Area
6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish
Christina Huerta of Everett likes to bring Jack, a 7-month-old Siberian husky, and 13-year-old Mocha Jo, a border collie, to Willis Tucker, her favorite. The park has three fully fenced venues: a 6-acre meadow, a smaller forested area and a shy dog area.
“I like the hills and trees,” Huerta said.
Cleo, a cross between a Jack Russell terrier and a cotton ball, is a sucker for the park, according to owner Jill Jordan.
“She starts crying when we get to the parking lot,” Jordan said. “It’s her favorite.”
Dogs and their owners can get their exercise walking on the trails. Rob and Kathryn Pimental of Everett say it reminds them of Redmond’s Marymoor off-leash park but smaller and closer to home.
Tennis balls are scattered throughout the park — not that Bridget cares. Fetching and retrieving are beneath her, and Harlan loses interest after a single toss.
Tails and Trails Dog Park
1301 Fifth St., Mukilteo
Does your dog like to chase balls or race around a track? This is the spot for her. There’s no vegetation and it’s small enough to keep the easily distracted in your line of sight.
“It’s like a big yard,” said Jonah McVay of Lynnwood, who likes to visit with Diesel, a “pit-Lab-pointer,” and Snow, a white retriever.
“It’s a pretty good place until it freezes over, then it can get really muddy,” added Molly Hamel of Marysville. But that’s easily remedied with a pair of rubber boots (I bought mine at Goodwill). Store them in the car trunk. No need to wash them.
Perks for dogs include an agility course and shy/small dog area. Every so often, someone drops off a big bag of new tennis balls at the park.
You can take your dog on the Japanese Gulch trail next to the park, but she needs to be on a leash. Bring your own water.
Bridget, in particular, likes to practice her “stop, drop and roll” maneuver here. If it’s muddy, that means a B-A-T-H the minute we get home.
1127 Olympic Blvd., Everett
This one’s got amazing views and beachcombing. The footbridge to the park crosses over the railroad tracks — just mentioning because I once had a Labrador who was scared of heights and didn’t like walking across the bridge at Carkeek Park in Seattle.
The north side of the beach is the off-leash portion. Good dogs who come when they’re called should be OK here. Dogs with a mind of their own might be safer on a leash. The dog park isn’t fully fenced, which means they can wander onto the railroad tracks.
There are no trash cans on the beach, so if your dog has a business transaction, you have to pack it out. It’s the “roughing it” of dog parks.
Michaela Williams of Lynnwood, and Luna, an Australian cattle dog, find the park soothing — Williams for its setting and Luna for the surf.
My Harlan, a dog of the Great Plains, had his first taste of saltwater here.
Lowell Dog Park
46th Street and S. Third Avenue, Everett
Are you hungover? Facing an existential crisis on a Sunday? This is a quiet, out-of-the-way spot to let your dog run around while the aspirin kicks in.
The dog park is a small but fenced area, located north of the tennis courts in Lowell Park.
Forget the Frisbee? There’s a pile of them inside the fence.
For such a small area, there seemed to be a lot for Bridget and Harlan to sniff, including clumps of grass and bare dirt.
I love that there’s a glass bus shelter inside the dog park. Am I waiting for Godog?
The bus will never stop here, but you can plant yourself in one of the plastic chairs and feel like you’re going places.
Strawberry Fields for Rover
6100 145th St. NE, Marysville
This off-leash park is a favorite. It’s grassy, 3-acres huge, and neat and clean. This is the Land of Oz for dogs without the wicked part. Harlan thinks he’s running through the fields of Nebraska again. And for humans, it’s an enjoyable hike from the parking areas to the dog park. Alicia Elder of Everett was impressed when she brought her two goldendoodles; mom, Nola, and, son, Charlie, here for the first time.
A co-worker recommended it to her. “I love it,” Elder said.
There’s an agility course and room to run and run.
Rebecca Thorley, a Seattle resident, makes it a point to stop at Strawberry Fields with Tilly, a border collie-terrier mix, and Rupert, an Airedale. Thorley has business in Smokey Point twice a month, and even though the park is out of the way, she always stops. “I make sure I come here,” she said. “It gets them really tired.”
And that’s the real reason for bringing Ike or Bella or Mister Skinny Pants (Harlan’s pet name) to their favorite park — tiring them out so that you can have a life.
Washington North Coast Magazine
This article is featured in the summer issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.