Shelburne Dog Park has been in the spotlight recently due to environmental issues. The spot, which is popular with many area residents and their canines, has been a point of concern in recent weeks as the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has suggested that the park is located on a Class II wetland and may need to be removed. Due to this suggestion, an expert was enlisted to conduct a wetlands delineation on May 11.
The issue arose earlier this year when the DEC found that an area that had previously been mapped as wetlands, and was being monitored by the neighboring power substation, had been filled in. This triggered an investigation by the department.
On Feb. 24, the Shelburne Village Dog Park Committee received an email stating that the park may not be in compliance with the Vermont Wetland Rules. In an email to town staff and Shelburne Village Dog Park Committee Chair Kay Boyce dated Mar. 9, DEC district wetland ecologist Tina Heath highlighted what was discussed during a site visit. Heath outlined compliance directives including removing all fill, structures, and the waterline from the wetland and buffer zone, and restoration of the wetland and buffer zone. The DEC’s concerns led the Selectboard to conduct the wetlands delineation.
At this time, the dog park remains open for public use, but the only volunteer activity allowed within the park is maintenance of existing gate latches and fences used to secure dogs within the property. No new activities are to be undertaken.
Due to the uncertainty facing the park, the Shelburne Dog Park Committee has slowed its fundraising and membership drive efforts.
Town staff met with an ecologist from Arrowwood Environmental on May 11. After a brief evaluation of the dog park, she opted against a full delineation, saying that the dog park was obviously located on wetlands.
The results of her visit will be presented at the May 23 Selectboard meeting.