Welcome to Southland Off Leash Dog Park!
Now that the weather is getting nice and because the dogs love to swim and go to the off leash parks I thought I would make it my summer’s goal to go to all the off leash parks in Calgary and do a review. This is called RUFF Ruminations after all! If you live in Calgary and have a dog (or just want a walk) let me know and we can meet up :D Now for this post my pictures are in order of the journey traveled rather than what might fit with what I have written, I hope it is not too confusing.
|This is the parking lot, I would say this was not a busy day as it was a little cooler|
I am going to start with Southland Off Leash Park since it is the closest and used to be our favorite, not so much anymore now that the city so kindly ran a bike path through the middle of it.
Southland Dog Park used to be better taken care of and there was the Southland Natural Park Society that tried to keep it nice and work with the City of Calgary Parks and Recreation.
|for some reason the city has closed the|
outhouses in favor of porta potties I
assume they are easier to care for?
Unfortunately the City had plans for the Southland Dog Park that weren’t exactly in lines with the needs of the majority of users. As a result the Southland Natural Park Society disbanded due to the City not making attempts to listen to all users. I do really feel that City of Calgary Parks is trying its best to make this a terrible place for dog owners.
|The end of the nice part of the park and the beginning of the dirt|
Now I don’t mind the bike path and I think it is much better that they fenced it rather than allowing dogs and cyclists to end up in accidents. I DO think it was poor planning to run the path through the middle of the park rather than on the outside edge. Although I think the path should have gone along the highway, I will concede that a better choice would have even been along the river’s edge; anywhere but straight through the middle.
|The beginning of the gates, I do like that they fenced the parking lot it did reduce the amount of users letting their dogs run through it.|
What irks me most about Southland Off Leash Park is that when the city was spending millions building fences and paved bike paths they made promises to also improve the dog park. I saw few improvements beyond the expanded and paved parking lot, in fact I would argue that they took away many of the elements of the park.
|Imagine this after a rainfall! And you will know why we don't go near this park unless we are mud prepared! I don't know why the city doesn't just cover this area in gravel or some kind of hearty ground cover|
I am going to review the park in 3 sections since there are 3 major routes that most people take. Of course my review will have a family element since Grady also comes with me to the park.
Park: Southland Off Leash Park – river path loop
Location: West of Deerfoot Trail at the end of Southland Drive
River/Water access: yes
Path material: dirt and sparse gravel
Garbage access: parking lot receptacles only
Parking: paved parking lot
Level of use: Very busy if the weather is nice regardless of time of day
Family: Dress for mud and dirt, there is lots of it down by the river!
Now for the rest of the pictures:
|It is pretty much dirt (if it is dry out) or mud all around the North side of the parking lot|
|At the bottom of the hill we start to see some grass and the beginning of a pathway system|
|Mud! the reason we wear clothes that can get dirty! I shake my head at those girls that show up here in high heels and white shorts, don't get mad when my dog mucks you up!|
|I think it is good that some of the areas are left to be natural, the city ought to tell the fisherman as they are the ones cutting and climbing fences to get in, not dog owners!|
|Down the dirt path to the river|
|Rebar doing what she does best!|
|The water is not too fast here and decently deep, although it is a popular spot and I have a challenge finding a place to throw the toy without worry that Rebar won't get it. She won't go if she thinks another dog is going to go|
|Gates 4 and 5 if you are counting, again you are supposed to put your dogs on leash|
|This is the 2nd swim area which used to be a very steep and eroded bank but the city put in these concrete steps which are great for the erosion but they should have put in one more step as it is a 2ft+ drop from the last one to the river bed.|
|The river is quite slow here and not deep until further out. It is a great place for swimming if your dog takes a long time to go get their toy (which mine do A LOT) it is also a nice place to sit and watch the ducks etc.|
|I had Grady stand for scale so you can see how big the drop is.|
|I forgot to take a picture of gates 6 and 7 that we went though but those would be the last gates. This picture shows the pathway back to the parking lot. as you can see we are back to dirt|
|More dirt, again I think gravel paths would cut down on this loss of plant life|
|Dirt all around the parking lot|
|This lovely shot shows what happens when you take away the lost and found cabinet. People shove things in the fence, real lovely looking.|
So I guess you can see why Southland Dog Park is no longer our favorite location to go swimming. It is over crowded because the City is not implementing any new dog parks of its size or resources and it is poorly cared for.