Duck Island in Ann Morrison Park is going to become Dog Island.
That means the southwest corner of the city’s largest park is going to be developed as a year-round spot for off-leash dogs to run in the grass, frolic in the sand and play in the water.
A $50,000 donation from Together Treasure Valley, along with a $50,000 grant from the Harry W. Morrison Foundation, have moved the $440,000 project forward — though Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway was not ready Tuesday to give a timeline for starting or completing the fenced, off-leash 5.5 acre area within the 153-acre park.
“The bulk of the cost will be in dredging the pond, to clean up all those years of muck from the ducks and geese,” said Holloway, who spoke by phone Tuesday from a Boise City Council meeting.
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The council approved the plan for Dog Island as part of its consent agenda, Holloway said.
The goal of Dog Island is not to drive the ducks and geese out of Ann Morrison Park, though bird poop is the biggest complaint from users of all local parks, Holloway said.
“We need a place inside the Downtown core with water that people can access with dogs,” he said. “We wanted to create a safe space, and it really is an ideal place.”
It has become even more needed since the city banned dogs from Quinn’s Pond and Esther Simplot Park ponds due to concerns about high levels of E. coli bacteria in the water.
Boise has four off-leash dog parks: Military Reserve, Morris Hill Park, Pine Grove Park and Sterling Park. Nine parks offer designated off-leash areas and times: Ann Morrison Park (Nov. 1 to March 1 only), Castle Hills Park, Cypress Park, Manitou Park, Optimist Youth Sports Complex (Nov. 1-Feb. 28, and June 1-Aug. 31 only), Redwood Park, Sunset Park, Williams Park and Winstead Park.
A year-round, off-leash dog park within Ann Morrison Park garnered the second-most interest from the public when surveyed in 2016 about possible new features — behind only a new, interactive fountain that kids and others can play in (click this link to see the park’s master plan).
Phase one of Duck Island will include dredging the pond and adding the beach and benches. Phase two will include a shelter and possibly a fly-casting dock for fishing.
What about the ducks and geese displaced by the dogs? Many people like to feed the birds, though park officials and signs urge them not to.
“My guess is that they’ll move to another part of the park, or across Americana to Kathryn Albertson Park. I don’t anticipate there being a big issue,” Holloway said. “We do recognize people love to feed the birds. Though we have asked people to not feed the birds, we don’t enforce that.”