Large Dog Park at West Hills County Park Reopened!
Suffolk Parks Action Follows Temporary Closure Due to Illegal Dumping Nearby
Maki and Rider Enjoying the West Hills Large Dog Park Photo Credit: Dana Richter Photography
The West Hills Large Dog Park on Sweet Hollow Rd. has reopened! The Suffolk Parks Dept. took the action on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, after an investigation by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation found there was no contamination in or close to the dog park. Health concerns had been raised as a result of illegal dumping at the nearby Sweet Hills Stables.
Suffolk Parks Commissioner Philip Berdolt explained the decision in a statement released to LI-DOG on Jan. 9th:
We are pleased to reopen the large dog park at West Hills. After a long investigation and extensive testing done by NYSDEC, it has been determined that there are no contaminants in or close to the dog park and therefore we are able to reopen. We thank the Public for patience and understanding during this difficult time and look forward to welcoming all the happy four legged friends back! Thank you and enjoy!
At the same time as the large dog park was reopened, the West Hills small dog park on High Hold Drive was restored to its full size. In an effort to accommodate users of the large dog park, which was temporarily closed in Sept. while the investigation into illegal dumping got underway, the Parks Dept. had installed temporary fencing in the small dog park dividing it into two. While LI-DOG proposed alternative temporary off-leash areas for users of the large dog park, the Parks Dept. noted that dividing the small dog park in two was the only option given the County’s dire financial situation. (Read about the division of the small dog park and the closing of the large dog park at West Hills Dog Park Closes Temporarily)
The temporary fencing in the small dog park has now been removed and the small dog park, which covers one-third of an acre, is once again only for dogs 25 pounds and under. The large dog park, which covers almost two acres on Sweet Hollow Rd., is for dogs 26 pounds and over.
At one time the dog park on High Hold Drive was the only dog park in Suffolk County. In 2005 and 2006, LI-DOG worked with Suffolk County Legislator Lou D’Amaro and the Suffolk County Parks Dept. to transform an often unused field on Sweet Hollow Rd. into the West Hills large dog park.
The reopening of the large dog park on Sweet Hollow Rd. follows a Nov. 2016 letter to Suffolk County residents by the Suffolk Dept. of Health Services in which the Dept. noted that laboratory analyses of soil in the vicinity of the riding stable “do not suggest excessive, widespread contamination…even though the levels may exceed those required for criminal prosecution.” In fact, contaminant levels “do not represent an unusual exposure for an active recreational setting, like the riding center,” the Dept. wrote. (Read the Suffolk Health Dept. Letter on West Hills.)
We at LI-DOG are extremely grateful to the Suffolk County Parks Dept. for its diligent and proactive approach to managing the situation with the large dog park at West Hills County Park. Both dog parks in West Hills have become important to the daily lives of many people and their dogs. Thank you, Suffolk Parks, for working to meet the needs of those of us who love and cherish our dogs!
To get the latest on the West Hills small dog park, go to the West Hills Small Dog Park Facebook Group . To check out what’s happening at the West Hills large dog park, go to the West Hills Dog Park Facebook Group.
Thank you for your support!