Maureen Tuttle takes over as president of Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park
Ron Buchanan, who for 11 years led multiple major improvements at the 20-acre, canine-geared open space off South 21st Street, stepped down in August, but led a recruiting effort that led to his replacement as the Friends president.
Maureen Tuttle, a long-time area Cheyenne resident, agreed to take over the volunteer role in September, with help from her husband Rich.
Free and open to the public, the park gets more than 100,000 users a year, making it the “most used facility in our park system,” according to Tim Wolken, whose Community Development Department includes the county's Parks Division.
Started in 1996, the park was initially an open area with some trails, incomplete fencing (leading to dogs getting hit by cars on 21st Street), no amenities and a small gravel parking lot.
Believing that the county could use some help - and seeing increasing numbers of park users - Buchanan and other dog owners came together to form Lovers Of Off-Leash Parks in 2004 (later renamed Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park and now 1,300 strong). With the group's government advocacy, private-sector fundraising and hands-on labor, park upgrades have included stations with cleanup bags, full boundary fencing, a separate “small-dog” area, a paved parking lot, a restroom with heat and electricity and dog wading pools in Bear Creek - all of it leading Buchanan to describe the facility as a “world-class” dog park.
A retired real-estate agent, Tuttle had not previously been involved with the Friends group, but she and Rich own two rescue dogs (Annabelle and O.D.) and have used the park for 15 years. She's also had experience leading a group, as past president of the 150-member Cheyenne Mountain Newcomers.
Urging Friends members to support the new leadership, Buchanan said he is confident that Tuttle “will very capably lead us all into the future.” He has pledged to work with her in the transition.
“We saw Ron was looking for someone to replace him, so we did,” Tuttle said of her motivation. “My husband and I are very committed to the role that the Bear Creek Dog Park plays in the lives of dogs in Colorado Springs. Without the park, many people couldn't own the dogs they have or see that they get appropriate exercise. It's that crucial.”
Westside Pioneer article