DOROTHY MELIA, San Clemente
Greetings from North San Clemente.
As the summer activities draw to a close, I’m reminded of the many beach communities up and down the California coast that allow off-season, time-restricted use of their beaches for walking and running dogs off-leash.
The city of San Clemente’s approved Master Plan for Beaches, Parks and Recreation identified a dog beach and off-leash dog areas as two of the top five priority recreation facility needs for our citizens.
I believe that it is time for the Parks and Recreation Commission and the San Clemente City Council to re-visit the idea of providing a stretch of beach within the city limits for early morning and late afternoon dog walking and running. This idea works successfully for many highly populated beach communities.
North San Clemente residents are also underserved in regard to a dog park, since the closest one is five miles from the northern border of our city. San Gorgonio Park is beginning the process of a site-specific Master Plan.
This is an ideal opportunity to explore creative ideas for a dog park or an area designated for off-leash use. The far northeast corner of the park is an ideal location, virtually unused and fenced on the east side that borders the I-5 Freeway.
There is no question that the Parks Commission and city council can act quickly to accommodate the needs of the community, as evidenced by San Gorgonio’s impressive new pickleball courts. Yet for every one pickleball player, I would venture to guess that there are 100 dog owners who need an area where they can safely and legally exercise their dogs off-leash.
As the San Gorgonio Park Master Plan progresses, I would encourage dog owners to contact the Recreation Department commissioners and make their dog-related needs known.