Friday, September 19, 2008

RRPC: It Isn't Easy Being Green - If You're a Tucson Park!

A green and pleasant place for Cayenne and Pepper!

Yes, it's Round Robin time again! This week we're indebted to Julie of "Julie's Web Journal" for the topic "It Isn't Easy Being Green!" Conveniently for me, it's a perfect excuse to post some of the photos I've been taking all week of one of Tucson's few green spaces.

More or less in the center of town in Tucson, Arizona is a complex containing two city parks, Randolph Park and Gene C. Reid Park. Except for a nice older neighborhood in the northwest quarter of the grid, the two parks take up the whole square mile from Broadway Blvd to 22nd Street, from Country Club Road to Alvernon Way.

At the Alvernon end of things is Randolph Park, which is basically a golf course and tennis courts. An annual charity tennis tournament used to be held there, and for years before they moved it I was able to swoop in on the weekend and interview actors there, or at least chat a little and get their autographs. Somewhere, I think, I still have a photo of William Windom playing tennis.

Tuffy the Toro circa 1997"Elvis" and Tuffy the Toro (disco version) on
Turn Back the Clock Night, Hi Corbett, circa 1997

The rest of the complex is given over to Reid Park. There are some parks and recreation buildings on Randolph Way, next to my beloved Hi Corbett Field, once and future home of the Tucson Toros! Yes, my favorite team is coming back with the old name and in the old ballpark, but this time as part of the Golden Baseball League. Maybe tomorrow I'll photograph the venue again for you, but just know it's the heart and soul of the complex for me.

Cayenne, Pepper and friend at Miko's Corner Playground

Also are Reid Park is Reid Park Zoo, a Cancer Survivors's Plaza with sculptures, a bandshell in which open air concerts are sometimes held (I once attended a John Kerry rally there, but the candidate was nearly an hour late and I had to return to work), picnic areas, lots of trees and grass and a duck pond or two, and Miko's Corner Playground. Miko's Corner is where the dogs and I have been going all week in the late afternoon.

Follow the leader!

Miko's Corner Playground is Tucson's primary off-leash dog park, located in the northwest corner (more or less) of Reid Park. It is named after a police dog, Miko, who was killed in the line of duty on 2006. Miko's Corner Playground just opened on December 1st, 2007, replacing a much more basic facility, a rather dusty fenced area a short distance away that was converted from a Little League field. That had to be closed because the grass just couldn't be kept going there due to inadequate irrigation and all the dogs coming through. It was turning into a dust bowl.

Are you done drinking, or just distracted?

For Miko's Corner, they built a beautiful walled and fenced 2-acre enclosure, with trees and grass and covered picnic tables and park benches, a dirt track around the perimeter, and two water fountains built to accommodate both dogs and humans. Several sets of rakes and hoes are set near big green trash cans, so people can clean up after their dogs (this is required).

Pretty green and idyllic, isn't it?

And it's great! There's a small dog enclosure and a large dog enclosure, side by side so the dogs can sniff each other through the fence without being harrassed. People come with their dogs several times a week, chat with each other a little, and pet each other's dogs. Frisbees or the equivalent are thrown for the dogs who like that sort of thing, and the place is littered with green tennis balls for dogs to chase. Dogs who don't chase balls, including Cayenne and Pepper, will often chase the dogs who are chasing the balls.

Look again! Even here, the grass gets rather patchy.

But there's a problem. This is Tucson, in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It's very hard to sustain a carpet of green grass around here. Only a few kinds of grass are hardy enough for the 100+ degree summers, and you have to water the entire area, thoroughly and frequently. Over at Tucson Electric Park, where the Sidewinders played and the Diamondbacks have spring training, the county has repeatedly gotten into trouble with the ball clubs for not adequately maintaining the grass in the infield and outfield, which both hurts the quality of play and can be rather painful for the ballplayers.

Paw prints in the dirt, extending into a once-grassy patch of ground.

Even using the right kind of grass (presumably), even with the expensive drip system, Miko's Corner has lots of places where the grass is patchy at best. Every day, a few hundred dogs are running over it, humans are following with the tennis balls and the pooper scoopers, the sun beats down and the grass is pounded into the dirt. The parks and rec people may be doing everything right, but you can't reseed every bare spot the moment it appears.

Still, it's, well, mostly green, isn't it?

Really, though, it's still a lovely, green space in the middle of the city. The trees and grass make the place a little cooler than city streets, the dogs are safe and having fun, and people have a place to exercise and enjoy their dogs. It's not perfect, but it's certainly good enough.

Besides, dogs like to lie in the dirt!

And dogs seem to appreciate the variety!

Now let's go see everyone else's photographic impressions of being green:

Linking List

Julie - Posted!
Julie's Web Journal

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mavarin

Carly - Posted!

Wammy - Posted!
The Ellis Family Cincinnati

Gattina - Posted!
Keyhole Pictures

Martha - Posted!

The Work off the Poet

Marie - Posted!
Photographs & Memories Memories


Photographs & Memories Too - Posted!

Maria **Welcome New Member**
Maria's Space

Valerie **Welcome New Member**
Soulfully Blond

Jennifer Robin - Posted!
Robin's Woods

Vicki - Posted!

Erin **Welcome New Member** - Posted!
Life of a College Student

Gina - Posted!
Gina's Space

Momma - Posted!
Sandcastle Momma

Em Dy - Posted!
Captured Beat

Ourhomeschool - Posted!
...Through the Eye of my Camera

Kiva - Posted!
Eclectic Granny

Steven - Posted!

Connie **Welcome New Member** - Posted!
Far Side Of Fifty

And yes, you're welcome to join in too! See the Round Robin blog for details.



Wammy said...

I want to go where it is warm and sunny. The dog park is awesome. Some green I can see. Looks like everyone is haivng fun.

MariesImages said...

Looks like very happy dogs!!!
Love the last one...Ü He looks exhausted from having so much fun!

Gattina said...

The dogs seem to have a lot of fun on the green grass !

Carly said...

Happy puppies, what a nice way to spend the day. :) Parks are my joy in general, but dog parks are so much more fun.

MyMaracas said...

That last shot is a real keeper! Looks like lots of fun at the parks.

Sandcastle Momma said...

That looks like so much fun! I love the last shot - that is one tired but happy pup!

Sandcastle Momma said...

That looks like so much fun! I love the last shot - that is one tired but happy pup!

Kiva said...

Who would have thought that Tucson was so green? FOFL when I saw the "follow the leader photo"

Far Side of Fifty said...

Thanks for your green view, it must be a struggle for the Park Dept. I enjoyed the tour! Great looking dogs!

Steven said...

The dogs look so happy! I don't think I've seen this much green from you before. Beautiful park. I think it's worth the water but it's so expensive to keep green in the hot summer. Even Houston had it's dry spells.

Nice green!