Oakmont’s Dog Park – Open at Last!

Sue Aiken's dog Emma, the first dog out of the gate to explore the new dog park. (Photo by Julie Kiil)
Sue Aiken's dog Emma, the first dog out of the gate to explore the new dog park. (Photo by Julie Kiil)

With an obvious lack of appreciation for the significance of the moment , Emma, the mostly white cattle dog, trotted down the entrance ramp on a sunny Nov. 20 afternoon to become the first to enter Oakmont’s newly dedicated dog park.

Yet it really was a significant moment — one that crowned a nearly three-year effort to relocate Oakmont’s canine community after many years exercising on the Polo Field to occupying an official place to run. And run they can — the .96-acre finger-shaped spot behind the Community Garden on Stone Bridge Road isn’t exactly a park, but it could be a candidate for the longest enclosed dog run in Sonoma County.

Oakmont’s Dog Park committee “worked tirelessly to make this happen,” said Paula Lewis, at a dedication ceremony that featured a ribbon cutting by Steve Spanier in his final official act as OVA Board president, dog park committee members, guests and at least a half dozen dogs of assorted sizes — including Sue Aiken and her Emma.

The Happy Trails Dog Park actually came in under its approved $177,000 budget. And as Oakmont board member Heidi Klyn noted, it came about after several other possible sites were eliminated, and had to endure “rains, a pandemic and fires” before its completion by Mitchell Landscapes of Petaluma.

The park is reached by a handicap accessible path beside the community garden and a hillside platform and ramp that slopes gradually into the long enclosure. A gravel strip runs up the center to allow residents to easily traverse the length of the park and still maintain contact with their dogs. It all makes for a unique canine experience.
So how did 6-year-old Emma get to be Happy Trails’ first dog? “No reason,” Aiken said. “It just worked out that way.”

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