The Bryan County Bark Park is becoming ever more popular with dog-owners and pet pals. The off-leash, fenced park features nearly two acres of wooded area and a lighted fountain, as well as a separate area for small dogs.
Richmond Hill resident Allan Ramsey started taking his weeks ago.
“I like taking him there to try to get him socialized,” said Ramsey, who’s been taking his 5-month-old German shepherd, Bane, to the park for about a month. “They say to socialize them while they are still a puppy because by the time they become an adult it will be too late. He is still pretty shy. There are a couple of dogs he remembers, one a Siberian husky.”
Ramsey said the park offers water spigots for the dogs, and is near a walking trail.
“You walk down a sidewalk to the park and you’re supposed to keep them on a leash, but once you get in there it is fenced in and you just let them roam and play with the other dogs.It’s a pretty nice size,” he said.
Ramsey said because he keeps Bane’s shots up to date he has little worry of his dog being exposed to diseases.
“It’s nice to be able to talk to other dog owners. It’s a good place to get information, like where to go to get training for your dog,” he said.
Not only is the park attracting locals, it’s beginning to attract travelers, according to Mark Bolton, who frequents the park.
“We never really thought of the Bryan County Bark Park as a tourist destination, but already in the few months it has been open we have stumbled upon visitors who were traveling I-95 with their dogs and seeking a place to stay overnight where their dog could get out and run off-leash.”
One couple told Bolton they chose to stay in Richmond Hill a few days after finding the park online.
Ensuring dogs can enjoy a safe place to play and socialize is what the park is all about. The park operates through a tax-deductable, non-profit organization. Volunteers give their time and service to improve the park.
Recently, Richmond Hill resident and park frequenter Matthew Wienckoski and friends from Fort Stewart’s 5th Air Support Operations Squadron built a “hitching post” where owners can hang leashes.
Members of the RHHS Interact Club, an outreach of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill, cleared overgrown brush along the walk to the park.
Volunteers are also hosting Bryan’s Bash, an auction, dinner and drinks event to raise money. They currently need $20,000 to pay for construction debt.
Wendy Bolton, park president said, “It is heartwarming to see how much support we have, as well as how many dogs and their families are enjoying the facility. We need everyone to dig deep to ensure that our community continues to enjoy a safe, happy place for dogs to run free and to help make our upcoming fundraiser a huge success.”
WTOC news personality Sonny Dixon, will be emcee and auctioneer at Bryan’s Bash on Saturday March 21. The event will be at Richmond Hill City Center at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $60 per person and include dinner and two drinks. Roger Widener will perform. A cash bar will feature both alcoholic and non-alcoholic dog-themed cocktails.
For information, visit www.bryanbarkpark.com