BI dog park ready for bark

Strawberry Hill Park is going to the dogs.

The park is expanding its off-leash space for big dogs to 5 acres and for small dogs to about 2 acres. The plan is for both to be open to the public this weekend.

“We have to make sure the fences are secure so no dogs can go over or under,” said Dan Hamlin, Park Services Division director.

Both parks are fenced in so dogs and their owners can roam freely on a treed hillside. Invasive plants have been removed by crews, horticulture manager Travis Horst said.

The dog parks are near parking and the skatepark, and just south of the expanding mountain bike park.

The entry area will be improved and expanded, two large training bays will be added, and slatted fencing will be added to reduce distractions.

Nearby is the large “air lock” entrance for dogs to acclimate to the park’s surroundings and a dog washing station with a hose and spray wand to clean pets before leaving the park. There is a separately fenced, mini-dog park for small, shy or recuperating dogs. Visitors will find park benches, a perimeter walking trail, auto-fill water bowls, and free dog waste collection bags and receptacles.

The park is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, to well-behaved dogs, ages 6 months or older, who have had their vaccinations. Owners are encouraged to be attentive to their dogs throughout their park visits and pick up their poop.

Take the quiz online at to see if yours is ready to go.

Meanwhile, the skateboard park is being renovated and expanded. But Hamlin said it could be a couple of years before it opens due to the expense and fundraising. Of course, the process would go much quicker if a large donation is given. Another possibility might be opening the park in phases. “It would be nice if we could do it all at once,” Hamlin said.

The 16,660-foot skate park approved in concept by park commissioners last April will feature an expansive, open “street skating” area with ramps, stairs, rails and many other elements typical of an urban skating environment.

An undulating “pump track” will wrap around the skating plaza, allowing a long, continuous ride through momentum-building curves and bowls.

The park is designed for skaters of all skill levels and will welcome not just skateboarders but roller and inline skaters and scooters as well.

The current facility is for more advanced skateboarders.

As for the eight-acre bike park, commissioners also approved its expansion last spring. Forest thinning is currently underway.

Hamlin said it likely will be done between the other two. Like the skatepark, it will depend on permits and fundraising. Because it’s not as costly as the skatepark, he thinks funds will be secured so that construction could start in early 2025 with completion six to nine months later.

There will be skills and starting areas along with jump lines and overpasses. Courses are marked with different colors just like on ski resorts to show the level of difficulty.

Green is easiest, blue intermediate, black difficult, red most difficult and purple is for climbing.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance designed the new mountain bike course with the help of local mountain bikers. The park district will construct the course with the support of the BI Parks and Trails Foundation. Features will include wooded trails, berms, jumps, and more, with areas for bike riders of all ages and skill levels.

The park will be funded by the community and gifts from the foundation.

Parks meeting

Strawberry Hill Park was also discussed at a recent Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Recreation District meeting.

Senior planner Matthew Keough said staff has worked with a consultant and may bring the concept plan for adoption by the board as early as March. The general plan is to have a central open play area in the middle of the park with distinct special-use areas around the perimeter.

Parking ease and circulation was designed with a second entry to create flow. A trailhead and dedicated forest area with trails as well as loop trails throughout the park were included. It was noted that an undefined sports complex area and adjacent pervious parking area is part of the concept plan on the Comcast Property addition.

Commissioner Tom Swolgaard said there are four things going on that have already been approved: the bike park, dog park, skate park and batting cage, which is the next project to be done.

Commissioner Jay Kinney said it would be incredibly expensive to realign Field 3, and trees would have to be removed to expand rightfield.

Kinney said that last week the pickleball group had a meeting at which building-covered pickleball courts were discussed at either Battle Point Park and/or Strawberry Hill Park. He suggests that the designated sports complex area be made larger for pickleball and/or tennis courts.

Commissioner Tom Goodlin said keep in mind a potential future option is installing artificial turf on the two fields on the northeast side of the park. Goodlin said for the sake of discussion, if the board does decide to go out for a bond for the Ray Williamson pool renovation it could consider including money for Strawberry Hill Park. Kinney said that is a great idea but only if it would help get the bond to pass.

Mary Meier, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, spoke in support of loop trails in the park, particularly on the Comcast Property. She also mentioned that there is funding in place for interpretive signage to continue to tell the story of the park back to the Hayashida family.

Kinney said there has been conversation about potentially renaming Strawberry Hill Park after the Hayashida family and that ought to be thought about again. There was also talk about whether Native American tribes used that spot or if they were mostly on the shoreline.

BIMPRD courtesy image
Map of area

BIMPRD courtesy image Map of area

BIMPRD courtesy images
Skateboard park

BIMPRD courtesy images Skateboard park

Bike park

Bike park