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Contact: Sarah Herve, 928-524-6228 x245Petrified Forest, AZ—Calling all Bark Rangers! Celebrate International Dog Day at Petrified Forest National Park. Dogs and their humans can now enjoy some quality time together at the Petrified Fur-Rest Bark Park. The new dog park, located near the Painted Desert Visitor Center off Interstate 40, was built with the help of Petrified Forest maintenance staff, Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) participants and a local Girl Scout. The Petrified Fur-Rest Bark Park features two areas, one for big dogs and one for small dogs, benches for their humans, shade, a tunnel and even an out of commission fire hydrant.
The idea for the project came from Park Manager, Jeannine McElveen.” We get so many visitors traveling along Interstate 40 with their dogs. I kept seeing people walking their dogs in the area where the dog park is now located. It just seemed like a great place to build something fenced where dogs can safely be off leash”.
Soon after the idea was hatched, local Girl Scout, Elizabeth Parker, wanted to get involved, resulting in her earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. “I worked for 2 summers at Petrified Forest with the YCC crew. When I heard the Park Manager was considering creating a dog park, I immediately went to talk with her and came up with a plan for my Gold Award Project”. The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting and awarded to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually.
Elizabeth went on to say “I’ve grown up going to National Parks. My family has visited many of the National Parks over the years and my brother and I have the National Park passport stamps to prove it!” “We have also spent a lot of hours in the car on family road trips. During our last big road trip, we brought our dog along and spent a lot of time looking for places we could stop to let him get some much-needed exercise. Since that trip I started thinking about the fact that I live in a town along Interstate 40, the third-longest interstate highway in the country, there must be a lot of families traveling through with the same need for their furry family members. Petrified Forest being the closest National Park to my hometown, it seemed to be the perfect location”.
When asked what resources Elizabeth had to work with, she shared: “Dog park equipment is expensive, so I made arrangements with the park’s maintenance department to visit the 'boneyard', an area where the park stores old equipment and building materials. “I found lots of good things we were able to use for the dog park, including benches, an old piece of culvert now used as a tunnel, old tires, large rocks for climbing and an out of service fire hydrant. I purchased signs for the dog park along with some stepping paws for the small dog park using proceeds from my Cookie and Fall Product sales over the past few years. I also received a donation from the Holbrook Kiwanis Club and I sold dog advent calendars last year to help raise funds”.
Visiting dogs and their humans seem to be enjoying the bark park, which is the only official dog park inside a National Park. Plans for some shade structures and more wheelchair accessible areas are also in the works.
Last updated: January 11, 2024