I have been reviewing the proposed changes to Double Bluff park and I believe the current proposal misses the mark. I have no problem with increasing the parking. That’s a good idea. The major problem is with the 5-foot-wide dog run. This will lead to clearly foreseeable confrontations and fights between dogs. It also detracts in a major way from the park to have chain link fence all over it.
I propose several alternatives:
1. The bulkhead, originally built by developer Bruce Reed in the 1980s for the specific purpose of taking public land for his private use, serves no real purpose now that the land is in public ownership. There are very few times when the tide comes all the way up to the bulkhead. I propose the engineers in Island County Public Works look at how to cut a new path to the beach at the corner of the parking lot and the bulkhead, near where the refuse bins are currently located. This would provide a short, direct path for dogs and their humans to the beach without impacting picnickers above and making the place look like a prison yard.
Be aware, by the way, that a 4-foot-high fence does little to restrict large dogs. They are more than capable of jumping such a fence and often do. That means that people would have to keep their dogs on leash the entire distance of the gauntlet, making them all the more nervous and likely to challenge others.
2. There are probably other solutions out there. Rather than imposing a single solution, I propose that Public Works/Parks list the very specific limitations and conditions, and then open the design of Double Bluff to the public for their ideas. We are looking for a place which serves everyone without looking like a cluttered, dysfunctional urban scene of fences and signs. I believe many people will have lots of great ideas for how to improve our favorite park.
We have actually gone to the trouble to survey visitors to Double Bluff and a surprisingly large number of people come from the mainland because there simply is no such facility there. We have something very special in Double Bluff and we need to take care that we don’t ruin that. Soliciting the public’s ideas will likely give us some far better possibilities.