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Beach Fanatic
Feb 9, 2007
I no longer stay in Dune Allen
I would love to help. I don't actually use the park even though I have a dog, but that's only because he gets a little too overstimulated when there are so many other dogs around. However, I'd still be willing to buy a permit or to make a donation towards upkeep. I think many dog owners around here (and there are a lot) would be willing to buy a pass.

Does anybody know what the annual maintenance cost is?
And thank you so much for being interested in the topic and helpful even though you aren’t an active user at the park. You and folks like you may be even more important than the daily users. It shows how this is broader than just the immediately affected.


Beach Comber
Jun 22, 2016
Point Washington
I joined the Facebook group. I also posted on NextDoor (Point Washington and surrounding neighbors), about the potential closing and about the Facebook group and this thread on SoWal. Thank you elgordoboy for the link the the Facebook group. I also shared the Facebook group with my Facebook friends, which includes a couple of dog rescue organizations and dog groups.
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Jimmy T

Beach Fanatic
Apr 6, 2015
I totally agree that we need a nice off-leash park. Over the years, I have referred tons of tourists to Alaqua Unleashed. Let's get the county and TDC involved.

Sun Chaser

Beach Lover
Aug 18, 2015
Miramar Beach
This just posted on Alaqua Unleashed's Facebook page:
Alaqua Unleashed


Special note about Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park:

Ten years ago, Alaqua agreed to take over management of Walton County’s only dog park, “The Bark Park’, to prevent it from closing. The park consisted of two fenced areas for large and small dogs to exercise off leash. We renamed the park “Alaqua Unleashed” and since that time have assumed management and all financial costs of the park, which has been free for the public to use with only a suggested donation for visitors. We provided upgrades over the years, such as adding an agility/training area, port-o-let bathrooms, and fenced a third area for use due to the other areas being conducive to severe flooding.

Years of wear and tear have taken its toll on the park and it is in need of a major facelift. In addition, due to the remote location and vast size, complaints of visitors and unruly dogs caused concern for the safety of human and canine visitors. Alaqua came up with an improvement plan for the facility, which included a paid staff person onsite to monitor the facility and membership plan. Our proposal also included permanent restrooms (the county had approved them in the past but never installed them), additional seating and covered pavilion areas, expanded parking and parking lot repair, and an outdoor event venue. The cost of this plan was going to be significant, so we approached Walton County and the TDC to propose a partnership to share in the expenses. The land is county owned and our comprehensive plan showed that statics greatly supported visitors traveling with their dogs and the trends of the importance of dog parks to these visitors.

Unfortunately, no funding is available to us for this plan and in the midst of a capital campaign to build our facility on 100 acres in Freeport, it is not an option for Alaqua to assume the entire cost on land that does not belong to us or continue the responsibility for the park without the needed improvements. The current state of the park is not in line with Alaqua’s branding and hard work to be a model facility in our community.

In October 2019, we notified Walton County that we wished to terminate our agreement and exercised our six month notice.

Alaqua Animal Refuge and its board of directors appreciate everyone who supported the park over the past decade. It was our pleasure to serve our community and its canine friends.

Thank you,

Laurie Hood
Founder, Alaqua Animal Refuge

Sun Chaser

Beach Lover
Aug 18, 2015
Miramar Beach
Article today in Walton Sun on dog park:

Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park to close in Walton County

If you live in Walton County, and especially if you don't live here, and are a visitor who brings your dog on vacation with you, please join our Facebook group. Of course, please comment here on this thread as well.

Facebook group is South Walton Dog Park. Log into Facebook | Facebook

County Commissioners and especially the Tourist Development Council needs to hear from our visitors about our unique dog park.
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