According to its mission statement, the McHenry County Conservation District exists to preserve, restore and manage natural areas and open spaces for their intrinsic value and for the benefits to present and future generations. One or more off-leash dog parks would help realize this mission by:
Providing healthy exercise and reducing depression, stress, and grief for both people and dogs.
Building a community of dog lovers across all ages and social-economic classes.
Providing a safe place for dogs to exercise and socialize away from traffic and other dangers in the face of increasingly restrictive leash laws.
Reducing leash law violations by offering an alternative.
Attract new users from inside and out of the county.
A designated off-leash area will allow other, dog adverse, site users more opportunities to avoid unwanted canine interactions.
Hunting dogs are already permitted off-leash.
Interference with wildlife and harm to natural environments is a foreseeable impact of all human activity in a conservation site. But as with hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and other activities, it can be managed to maximum mitigation of undue harm.
Other neighboring forest preserves and conservation districts have found dog parks to be valuable assets to their communities..
Like any increased public use and more active recreation there will be additional costs. However there are many options to reduce the overall operating expense and even make it revenue neutral. These include volunteers, sponsorships and user fees.
Please sign our petition at change.org: https://chng.it/HdVffdHwsK