No bones about it: Dog owners fight to preserve Fiesta Island park

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SAN DIEGO – Some local dog owners are fighting to keep the spacious Fiesta Island Dog Park exactly as it is amid a discussion that could slightly shrink the park’s footprint.

The fate of the dog park will be taken up Thursday morning by the California Coastal Commission. The quasi-judicial state agency will consider a plan referred to as Option A to build a new two-lane road and fencing in addition to repurposing 6 acres of shoreline in the dog park as a public park for swimming and a non-motorized boat dock.

Another plan, Option B, would maintain the area exactly as it is with no additional development.

Under Option A, the commission says the remaining 87 acres would remain as an fenced, off-leash dog park. As is, the body argues the half-mile beach area is underutilized.

“In short, Option A would still maintain a significant 87 acre area for off-leash dogs while enhancing coastal access for other uses like boating and swimming,” the commission said.

Dog owner Kathryn LaPointe brings her dogs for a run at Fiesta Island Dog Park every day. She says it’s the most affordable way to exercise the pups while enjoying nature.

“My dogs escort me around,” LaPointe said. “I walk around. It’s my exercise. It’s my mental health.”

Carolyn Chase, president of FIDO, an organization fighting to preserve the dog park, said it’s “every dog’s favorite place.” She argues there’s no other place like it in San Diego given its spacious grounds.

“We want it to stay the way it is because if you put a road through it, it’ll be too small, but if you say you can use the rest of the island that’s too big,” Chase said. “This is the Goldilocks theory. This area right now is just right.”

She also points out dogs take full advantage of the beach while at the dog park. 

“If you go right over there you’re going to see dogs on the beach and dogs on the water and people on the beach and on the water,” she said. 

But some paddlers in the area are on board, writing to the commission that they’re looking for more storage and launch space for non-motorized watercraft. Still, hundreds of letters written to the commission are in favor of preserving the dog park. 

A petition to keep the dog park as is was circling and recently ended with more than 9,000 signatures. 

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