Port seeks solutions to dogs roaming Greenbank Farm

To address ongoing issues with dogs straying into farmland at the Greenbank Farm, the Port of Coupeville is considering adding fencing and signage to make boundaries of the off-leash areas crystal clear to the public.

At the port’s regular meeting on Wednesday, the commissioners and port staff discussed ideas on how to address the problems with roaming pets and their owners.

Kim Gruetter of Salty Acres spoke of her troubles with dog owners not respecting agricultural boundaries. Salty Acres farm brought its crops and flowers at the Greenbank Farm earlier this year.

Some dog owners have been respectful when she has asked them to not trespass over farmland, she said, while others have been rude and confrontational.

The miles of recreational trails run through land managed by the port and forestland owned by Island County. According to the port’s website, dogs may be unleashed once they are “behind the red flags on the hills.”

The port plans on seeking donations, and if needed, dipping into maintenance funds for physical markers making the boundary line clearer, Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said. The port is working on estimating how much the project will cost.

“We want to get back to enforcing off-leash areas,” Michalopoulos said at the meeting.

At the port’s Oct. 9 meeting, a handful of residents on the port-sponsored “dog walking advisory committee” will present specific suggestions about ways to approach the off-leash problems and the need to make boundaries clearer to the public.

Known as Greenbank’s dog park, the acreage of the off-leash area is designated for “low-impact recreation,” where well-behaved dogs can be let loose and horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed. Dog owners not following rules can be reported to the port or Island County animal control.

The port passed a resolution in 2009 updating the boundaries and rules for the off-leash dog area, which was first established in 2005.

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