Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off-Leash Dogs in Cambridge's Fresh Pond Park

Boston Globe ran a story about a move by the City of Cambridge to license Cambridge residents' dogs in order to allow only Cambridge dogs to run off-leash at Fresh Pond:
But the Cambridge Water Department, which oversees the park, wants to ban nonresident pooches from roaming off leash and plans to outfit Cambridge canines with bright red medallions, so the rangers who patrol the park can see which dogs belong and which do not.
Cambridge already officially allows off-leash dogs in Fresh Pond Park, but the Water Department feels that there are so many running around now and pooping that the water supply is getting contaminated.

Since off-leash and on-leash dogs both poop equal quantities, their solution is to cut down on the number of dogs in the park by not allowing the out-of-town dogs from going off-leash. Officially-sanctioned, off-leash dog areas in parks are so uncommon that they are magnets attracting dog owners from a much larger region. At least some people in Allston believe that this is what happened in Ringer Park a couple of years ago, although it was never officially-sanctioned as an off-leash dog area. (A Yahoo!Group called "Ringer Dog Park" was formed circa 2003.)

Boston hasn't officially allowed "Dog Recreation Spaces" (the official term) until a City Ordinance (11.10-2) passed by the Council two years ago provided the mechanism for neighborhood groups to apply for, construct, and maintain them.

The South End has the first such park, Peters Park, created under this new Boston City Ordinance. The park has been allowed to be used as a dog recreation space for a number of years; the dog owners there applied to convert it to official status under the ordinance, which required a number of improvements. It cost around a quarter million bucks. Reading on the topic:

11/14/04: Puppy playpens? Council mullsmethod to create canine havens
10/21/05: They say the place is going to the dogs
1/30/07: Tails wag for first sanctioned dog park
3/4/07: Tails wag the park, now set for fancy fences, close watch

1 comment:

briancam said...

National Historic Site listed "Fort Washington" has received from the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) OVER $400,000 for Historic Fence Restoration from 1975 to 1993. Prior to NOV/2005, installation of the "Temporary"? Chain Link fencing, blocking all entrances and turning the 150 year old historic fence into a dog cage in Dec 2005, dog use was light with most dogs using Dana Park. Now Dog use has increased at least Five Fold. The 232 year old Historic Earthworks constructed by order of George Washington, which is the reason why Fort Washington exists, have craters in them, not from British bombardment, but from dogs burrowing large holes in them. Cambridge Dog Owners’ Group (CDOG), has lobbied the city for 10 years + for the $4000 worth of fencing at Fort Washington. Dog use is destroying the OLDEST original fortifications, built by Revolutionary Soldiers under the command of George Washington, and is the last physical remains from the Siege of Boston.

I oppose == Cambridge Dog Owners’ Group (CDOG), which represents responsible? dog owners in Cambridge, Massachusetts in regards to the Fort Washington Fence Argumentation in 11/2005.

I wrote the Authors of "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management" available online at and their Response is as follows:

"Lucy and I worked together on earthworks management for years. Our position remains that the best preservation is to keep the earthworks under a healthy, protective vegetative cover and STAY OFF them......if the dogs are allowed to continue unrestrained, the inevitable erosion and destruction will follow. The earthworks manual is now a website - link below. Let us know if we can interpret any of the management recommendations. " Shaun Eyring == "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management" available online at Shaun Eyring and Lucy Lawliss at or 202-354-2090.

Following scientifically researched "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management" Policies by the NPS, is the best way to preserve the Three gun half moon battery earthworks at Fort Washington, and would restrict dog use and erosion.

State Act: Chap. 460 hasn't transferred Fort Washington to the National Park Service, Yet. However, this LAW makes Fort Washington an excellent candidate for National Historic Monument Protection, which would put it under the "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management"

Be it enacted, etc., as follows:
The city of Cambridge is hereby authorized to convey, without monetary
consideration, to the United States of America the site of Fort
Washington, located on Waverley street in said city, comprising approximately
forty-two thousand one hundred and twenty-three square feet,
as shown on a map made by the city of Cambridge and dated December,
1964 and filed in the assessor's office as No. 66 and called "Washington
Square", on condition that the United States of America shall preserve
and maintain said site as a national historic monument for the inspiration
and benefit of the people of the United States, under authority of
an act of Congress (74th Session) approved August twenty-first, nineteen
hundred and thirty-five. Approved May 17, 1965.

This refers to the "Historic Sites Act of 1935", became law on August 21, 1935 (49 Stat. 666; 16 U.S.C. 461-467)

Closing ALL FIVE Formerly OPEN Entrances to Fort Washington in November 2005, contradicts the Dana's (Donors of Fort Washington 1857) stipulation "that the premises when suitably enclosed and adorned by the City, shall forever remain OPEN for light, air, and adornment, for the convenience and accommodation of the owners of estates in the said Pine Grove and the public generally."

I attended meeting of the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) held on Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 6:00 PM at 806 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge Senior Center. AGENDA
1. Public Hearings: Alterations to Designated Properties
Case 2066: Fort Washington Park, 95 Waverly St., by City of Cambridge. Install automatic irrigation system. COST = $40,000+.

I testified to the CHC that THIS CONTRADICTS "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management" === Sustainable earthworks management practices and include the following basics:

1 Minimize energy expenditure, such as the number of maintenance interventions requiring motorized equipment;
2 Restrict the need for irrigation to small areas or rare occasions such as extreme droughts or during plant establishment;

The CHC voted to ignore "Sustainable Military Earthworks Management" and the automatic irrigation system will be installed in 2008.

I also testified this will do nothing to reduce the DOG caused erosion as the Three Gun Battery Earthworks are unprotected from further dog erosion. CHC Chair William B. King stated that it was "Politically Advantageous" to install the automatic irrigation system. COST = $40,000+, for Dog owners. Strange, I thought CHC's purpose was to enforce Historic Preservation laws? Cambridge currently has 2,133 licensed dogs living in the city, according to the Animal Commission in Jan 2006. Licensing a dog costs $5 per year for spayed pups and $15 for those not spayed. CDOG member Catherine Fabio said dog owners might? be willing to face an increase in these fees in order to help fund more off-leash areas in the city, but two years later no fee increases. At this rate, License fees will pay off the automatic irrigation system in 3 to 4 years. CDOG opposes dog license fee increases to wealthy dog owners living mostly in Condos, formerly Rental property. My Grandmother was a seamstress and rented from 1950 to 1979 living at a Magazine Street Rental, now Condo and moved to the Manning senior citizen building until passing on in 2000. She loved dogs and cats but like most Cambridge Renters could ill afford a pet. Cambridgeport, now has many $1,000,000 + Condos and is an expensive place to live.

Please view the Cambridge Dog Owners’ Group (CDOG) distortions and misinformation at of my video at