Residents of Prince William County have been clamoring for a dog park for years. Finally one has arrived, thanks to Merrifield Garden Center. The park, the first of its kind, has been open for about 6 weeks. Merrifield has had a presence in the county for about a year and a half. However, up until recently, they only had a satellite shop. The new center which looks like a huge sports arena from Wellington Road is not completely finished but open to the public. If it is anything like the parent company in Fairfax, it will be a wonderful garden experience. According the Manassas News and Messenger:

And it’s something Merrifield president and co-owner Bob Warhurst said he’s wanted to create for a long time.

Merrifield has had a presence in Prince William for about a year and a half, but its present facility has been open only since mid-November.

The chain’s other two locations, in Fairfax County, don’t have enough room for a doggie den. But when Warhurst realized he could transform an overflow parking area, he went for it.
He said he felt sorry for canines who rarely got a chance to run around.

“I’ve had several people come here since we’ve had this dog park and say, ‘Oh my goodness, this is the first time I’ve had my dog off-leash for two years,’” Warhurst said.

The setup was fairly simple: The Merrifield folks put down a couple inches of mulch and fenced off two areas.

“We have one that’s 40-by-40 for little dogs, and we have one that’s 50-by-80 for larger dogs,” Warhurst said. “I think the real winner here is the dog.”

I haven’t taken our dogs yet. That might just have to happen this week. Reading about the simple set up, I am wondering why it has take this long to finally get a dog park in our area. There seems to be plenty of county land. I would think a dog park would count as open space.

One might ask the same question about why there is not sky viewing area here in Prince William. We used to be able to use the Battlefield picnic area. That open space was ‘remodeled.’ Then we used the horse trailer lot for night viewing. Now that has been barricaded off to night traffic.

These types of places, dog parks and night viewing areas, use few resources in the long run and give residents a great deal of pleasure. Most businesses make poor hosts to night viewing areas. The lights needed for security and advertisement are detrimental to night viewing.

Check out the doggie park and let us all know what you think. WARNING: Merrifield Garden Center is hazardous to your pocketbook!

64 Thoughts to “New Dog Park Opens in Gainesville”

  1. michael

    If you include the maintained trails, the grades on all routes become Grade III to IV depending on your aerobic capacity.

  2. michael

    For anyone interested (thinking of you Moon), grades are determined in the US by:

    Yosemite Decimal System
    The Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) of grading routes was initially developed as the Sierra Club grading system in the 1930s to rate hikes and climbs in the Sierra Nevada range. The rock climbing portion was developed at Tahquitz Rock in southern California by members of the Rock Climbing Section of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club in the 1950s.[6] It quickly spread to Canada and the rest of the Americas.

    Originally a single-part classification system, Grade and Protection Rating categories were added to the YDS in recent years. The new classifications do not apply to every climb and usage varies widely.

    When a route also involves aid climbing, its unique Aid designation can be appended to the YDS free climbing rating. For example, The North America Wall on El Capitan would be classed “VI, 5.8, A5[2]”. [7] or Medlicott Dome – Bachar/Yerian 5.11c (X,***)[8]

    Guidebooks often append some number of stars to the YDS rating, to indicate a climb’s overall “quality” (how “fun” or “worthwhile” the climb is). This “star ranking” is unrelated to the YDS system, and varies from guidebook to guidebook.

    [edit] YDS Grade
    The YDS system involves an optional Roman numeral Grade that indicates the length and seriousness of the route. The Grades are:

    Grade I: one to two hours of climbing.
    Grade II: less than half a day.
    Grade III: half a day climb.
    Grade IV: full day climb.
    Grade V: two day climb.
    Grade VI: multi-day climb.[9]
    Grade VII: a climb lasting a week or longer
    The Grade is more relevant to mountaineering and big wall climbing, and often not stated when talking about short rock climbs.

    [edit] YDS Class
    The system consists of five classes indicating the technical difficulty of the hardest section:

    Class 1 is walking with a low chance of injury and a fall unlikely to be fatal.
    Classes 2 and 3 are steeper scrambling with increased exposure and a greater chance of severe injury, but falls are not always fatal.
    Class 4 can involve short steep sections where the use of a rope is recommended, and un-roped falls could be fatal.
    Class 5 is considered true rock climbing, predominantly on vertical or near vertical rock, and requires skill and a rope to proceed safely. Un-roped falls would result in severe injury or death.
    In theory, Class 6 exists and is used to grade aid climbing (where progress is made by climbing directly on equipment placed in or on the rock and not the rock itself). However, the separate A (aid) rating system became popular instead. (See Aid climbing)

    The original intention was that the classes would be subdivided decimally, so that a route graded 4.5 would be a scramble halfway between 4 and 5, and 5.9 would be the hardest rock climb. Increased standards and improved equipment meant that climbs graded 5.9 in the 1960s are now only of moderate difficulty. Rather than regrade all climbs each time standards improve, additional grades were added at the top – originally only 5.10, but it soon became apparent that an open-ended system was needed, and further grades of 5.11, 5.12, etc. were added.

    While the top grade was 5.10, a large range of climbs in this grade were completed, and climbers realized a subdivision of the upper grades were required. Letter grades were added for climbs at 5.10 and above, by adding a letter “a” (easiest), “b”, “c” or “d” (hardest).

    As of 2008, the hardest climbing routes in the world are grade 5.15b [1][2]. Ratings on the hardest climbs tend to be tentative, until other climbers have had a chance to complete the routes and a consensus can be reached on the precise grade.

    The system originally considered only the technical difficulty of the hardest move on a route. For example a route of mainly 5.7 moves but with one 5.12a move would be graded 5.12a. A climb that consisted of 5.11b moves all along its route, would be 5.11b. Modern application of climbing grades, especially on climbs at the upper end of the scale, also consider how sustained or strenuous a climb is, in addition to the difficulty of the single hardest move.

  3. michael

    AI stands for Alpine ice, technically eastern mountains rarely create Alpine Ice, but frozen snow is also not Water Ice (WI) so when it happens I rate it AI. There is no mixed climbing grade for “buzzard” done by anyone I know, and I have not mixed climbed it yet (getting too old). If you did it would probably be M2 in the cracks you can possibly climb with crampons on. I can’t say because I haven’t tried it on “buzzard” yet.

  4. Moon-howler

    Why do you do it? Because it’s there? Would you consider climbing Mt. Hood or Rainer?

  5. michael

    I enjoy solving difficult problems, I am also a melancholic personality with a real and confirmed changing of seratonin levels that tends to push me to seek greater excitement and satisfaction with life that is exciting. I am easily bored.

    Mt Hood:no Rainer:yes but I am 52 years old and I have to limit my expectations and desires to those of a 52 year old, in better shape than most, but no longer 20.

  6. Moon-howler

    People have to get rescued off of Mt. Hood every year it seems. Often there is no rescue. Do you feel that the people rescued should have to reimburse the funds involved in the rescue?

  7. Gainesville Resident

    I always wondered about the people who get rescued in the Grand Canyon if they have to pay for that service. All 3 times I’ve been there I’ve seen people being brought back up by mule who went down too far into it and underestimated how difficult it was to hike back up. It is very easy going down of course, and takes at least twice as much time to go back up the same distance as going down.

  8. IVAN

    Renting a mule to come back up is $1200, if you need to be helicoptered out it’s $5,000. You better know what you’re doing when you start down.

  9. Moon-howler

    Jumping Jackrabbits! That is expensive. What if you don’t have it? Do they take your first born?

    I bet those mule people, scruffy as they look, are multi-millionaires.

  10. Moon-howler

    Ivan, your pictures were fabulous! They also made me appreciate even more the feat you all accomplished. What is the actual distance?

  11. IVAN

    Moon, 7.3 miles down and 10.2 miles up. I think the mule pricing is to discourage people from just wandering down and expecting to hitch a free ride back up. The Park personnel are very careful to warn anyone hiking in to be well prepared i.e. proper equipment , plenty of water etc. Besides, the mules are also used to pack supplies down to the floor and pack out trash. They have other jobs than just trucking tourists in and out.

  12. Moon-howler

    Wouldn’t you hate to be one of those mules. I could see that some of those paths were very narrow. My acrophobia would kick in and I would be a goner, if my knees didnt go first.

  13. Gainesville Resident

    I would like the take the mule trip into the canyon and out now that I’m not in shape to hike it anymore, but the height on the mule on those narrow stretches would scare me. When hiking it I hugged the wall of the canyon in those spots. There are some places that are very narrow – in fact when the mules pass by you are really right between them and the wall of the canyon, with very little room to spare. Doesn’t make for much fun on the hike when the kick up dust, and even moreso, when they decide to perform a bodily function right as they pass by you!

  14. Gainesville Resident

    At $1200 a pop for bringing people out of the canyon, that’s a nice business. Maybe when I retire I should buy two mules (one for me and one for the rescued person) and start a business out there rescuing people. One person a day would give a nice income!

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