Raising the woof: Dog park in line for additions

Work will begin soon and continue into the summer

Matt Molenar plays with his dog, Sirius Black, on Wednesday, April 27, at the Rita Valentine Park near downtown Steamboat Springs. Renovations for the park will start this week and bring in new benches, a four-pole shelter and a wider walking path.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Rita Valentine Dog Park on Angler’s Drive will soon be getting some upgrades.

“We have so many dog users in Steamboat Springs, so we’re glad to be bringing some upgrades and renovations to it,” said Aaron Stafford, the city’s parks supervisor.

Construction is slated to start in the coming week, and the work is expected to continue into the summer.

This week, construction crews will be grading a portion of the park and pouring concrete to make a base for what will be a four-pole shelter with a steel roof. The shelter will have views in all directions while also providing some much-needed shade in an otherwise sunny park.

Beginning in the middle of May, weather permitting, an existing single-track trail loop will be formalized into a 6-foot-wide soft-surface crusher fine trail. Crusher fine trails are made of small rock particles and are designed to blend with natural environments.

The main trial of the park underwent the same renovation work last summer.

Benches will also be added, both below the new shelter and at other parts of the park. Currently, the only place at the park for humans to sit is at a loose picnic table in the middle of the park.

Construction will not affect the park’s hours, and activity in the park will not be restricted due to the ongoing work, according to Stafford.

The project is being completed through a partnership between the city of Steamboat Springs and Steamboat Digs Dogs, a local nonprofit that works to secure funding to build, renovate and expand local off-leash dog parks.

Steamboat Digs Dogs also advocates for policies favorable to off-leash dog handling, including the expansion of off-leash dog areas in town.

Construction first started in summer 2020 and has made incremental progress each year, including a grove of aspen trees that will provide shade in the coming years and a formal structured entrance with a map and information about the park.

Adding a fence around the park’s perimeter was proposed several years ago, but that proposal was eventually shot down.

“It’s such a great space, right? Awesome place to bring your dog,” Stafford said.

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