Conner's Bog - A Dog's Lala Land -Summertime Bonanza
- Anchorage Unleashed
Official website Anchorage Unleashed, Inc. We advocate for and provide volunteers and financial support to local dog parks.
How The Bog Was Won
Some locals had used this wild land for decades even before this was turned into an official unleashed dog park. Through the persistent mission of the non-profit Anchorage Unleashed founded by Kayla Epstein, the 367.86 acres' Conner's Bog became one of the five unleashed dog parks in Anchorage. More power to pioneering citizens like Kayla Epstein and the rest of her team who envisioned and realized the need for our canine family to play in their own Disneyland. Here is a brief history of Conner's Bog according to Kayla Epstein.
"The area is owned by the airport but it has been used by dog walkers, runners, walkers, bikers, skijorers, mushers, bird watchers, etc. for a long time. Someone mentioned they had been dog walking there for 30 years. Just a guess, but I'd guess the activities preceded the airport. Parks and Recreation would like this area as an actual park but the airport has not been willing to trade for other land...but Parks and Recreation does share responsibility for the area.
Anchorage Unleashed investigated many areas suggested by dog walkers. I suggested four of those areas (including Conner's Bog) to the Animal Control Advisory Board's dog park committee (which I was a member) as possible dog park locations. Then they made the suggestion to Dick Traini who was then the chair of the Assembly. He created a dog park motion which included the four areas we suggested. Then Parks and Recreation came up with a dog park committee and the two dog park committees worked together. They named two other areas...one which did not go forward. The Assembly in 2004 agreed that they had the right to name dog parks (may) and not the stronger language (shall) that we wanted.
The motion passed like that but nothing happened until one year later when Dick Traini saw a wonderful dog park in San Diego and pushed to have it happen here. There were concerns about naming Conner's Bog, especially from the ski jorers who worked very hard creating the trails and maintaining them throughout the area. They also used all their resources to keep the airport from making the area into a parking lot. The ski jorers used it all winter and didn't want to invite unknown numbers to the area for fear that they would continue to come during the winter too. Having off leash dogs near ski joring is dangerous to the dogs and people. This was a problem for a few years but then Anchorage had a number of years with not enough snow for them to use the area. They later decided they wanted a more challenging area and gave up using Conner's Bog."
SCOOPIN' A POOPIN'
Not just along the trails, please. Dogs and people use the smaller trails in the woods because those places are more solemn. It is frustrating that some dog owners using this park do not pick up or refuses to pick up after their dogs. A hundred poops make a pervasive stench.
At the entrance of the park are poop bags, and a dumpster. When the regular biodegradeable poop bags are not available, the NECESSITY to pick up your dog feces by any means should be a MUST. It is best that when you pick up the poop with a bag to discard them in the dumpster located at the entrance. Most times, most regulars like me would leave the tied bag and come back for it. Sometimes, some regulars would pick up these tied bags, like I do. Be the CONSCIENCE of clean healthy parks. Anchorage Unleashed schedules Spring Cleanup every year. If you cannot attend the scheduled hours, DO YOUR SHARE any time any day.
- Wildlife Viewing at Conner\'s Bog - Anchorage Area, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Wildlife For Sure
Squirrels, birds, ducks, the occasional eagles, the rare owl, the pesky voles and the cranky moose make up Anchorage's Conner's Bog.
There are several varieties of birds and ducks at the lake. The blue jays, magpies, crows, chicadees, hummingbirds, woodpeckers. American bald eagles occasionally visit both summer and winter. It was a sight to behold one winter afternoon when I saw the owl up on the tree. I heard that tootin' first and followed the direction of the sound and there it was perched on the tree looking at the full moon. It was surreally poetic the owl perched on the top branch of the tree looking at the full moon. Those moments when wildlife appears unperturbed despite our presence.....so glorious.
Don't forget the bees, wasps, hornets and the omnipresent vicious Alaskan mosquitoes are active between May and early August. June and July the mosquitoes are blood-sucking hungry. I always bring my mosquito face net and wear long sleeves. I tease the regulars when it is mosquito season and they come to the park in their tank tops and shorts. This is just advertising for "Have lunch. It's on me." But hey if you can handle those searing bites, come at your own risk.
If you have visitors from the Lower 48 or Outside Alaska and they want to see moose for sure, I would rate it as 80% sure they would see a moose at the park summer or winter, more so during winter. As always be prepared to bring a camera and be aware to give moose plenty of space.
I was chased by a moose at this dog park last summer. I was picking up wild flowers when I realized that a moose was looking straight at me. I realized then that "S...T this is trouble." I ran frantically and was trying to decide where to go. "Head to the trees," my scared self assured me. When I looked back, the moose was after me and I had to run faster. I realized that a moose can be distracted easily because when the moose stepped onto the main trail and saw more people and dogs there, she got bored with me and headed onto the people and dogs' direction. I felt relieved. All I heard was the hurried dispersing sounds. My hands clutching the wildflowers while I tread down the lake trail back to the parking lot.
Floras In The Bloom
The short Alaskan summer yields gorgeous wildflowers. The savings on my fresh flower budget is slashed into zilch during this time of the season. Irises, fireweeds, daisies, lupines I would take home with me gladly. I would pluck several petals to sniff its mild fragrance. Take your precaution to watch out for a cranky moose. I had a cranky moose chase after me while picking up flowers last year.
The first frost this season will be rose hips harvesting on my calendar. The rose hips jelly I made from last year’s stock were a success. So there, more jellies to fill the pantry . Rose hips are laden with Vitamin C. I know my supply is organic and natural.
Sinful pleasure of plucking berries is a reminder on how mother nature graces us with beautiful colorful succulent edibles. The raspberry shrubs at Conner’s Bog produce smaller fruits. Most are tart. I have been at the stove lately concocting raspberry jellies and vinaigrettes.
The currants pictured are harder to find. I have to maneuver my steps between fallen trees, wet bogs and tall grasses. These currants are not eye level, so a lot of bending is required. I just made a wild currant chutney for the sole cup I collected.
Watermelon berry plants are seldom seen. The watermelon berries have a refreshing taste. There must be somewhere in Alaska where they thrive the best.
The more me and my dog venture the dog park, the more I am likely to find these gift giving treasures.
The joy of watching our dear family members frolic and submerged themselves at Conner’s Lake is like eating a fabulous ice cream. Innocent simple fun. There are cantankerous paw fights that parents have to be aware of. Though it seldom happens, parents should be constantly vigilant of dog language with any activity. The lake offers plenty of room to play ball and sticks. Prepare yourself to bring home muddy icky dogs unless you get to coach them to take a dip and not linger at the lake a minute more.
Wintertime, the lake is a frozen wonderland. There have been several Full Moon Meet Up events held here. Sometimes a dozen or more dogs get to party the same way as the parents get to drink mulled cider, nibble homemade snacks and cakes, and chomp on grilled hot dogs.
I love Autumn’s crisp cool air. It is invigorating. It is romantic. The scent of Christmas is not far away and I welcome the approaching arrivals of my favorite things. It was just a couple of years ago when I decided to learn what the rest of Conner’s Bog can offer. Our (my dog and I) daily treks together are becoming more entertaining for me. I got a brief tutelage of mushroom harvesting from the local Hmong people who frequent the park this time of the year. Not all the ones they showed me I have success in harvesting them on my own. Mushrooms are deceiving or I am just a slow learner. What I have become confident though are pinpointing which are the puff balls. These are my favorite so far because of their marshmallow tenderness. Puff Balls are spot-on-easy. Still, there is a specie copycat. The copycat has pimply outbreaks that would make you think twice.
The Shaggy Mane are inconspicuous. They are here. It takes patience and a good eye to find them. “They tastes like chicken.” Heard that one before? Actually, they are great with chicken or any poultry and vegetables.
The Boletes. The brown orange tinge thick-stemmed thick-capped are a-plenty. I am still getting confused picking the right ones. Last year, I harvested a lot. Some turned blue upon handling, so I have to discard them. Remember to cook these boletes immediately because if you don’t, the maggots will greet you the next morning.
There are a multitude of poisonous species as well as edible ones. Best to bring a reliable book or a person who you know do not have a grudge on you.
Connors Lake Park is located in the state of Alaska(county of Anchorage, AK) at GPS coordinates: 61.1672222, -149.9327778 (also known as latitude and longitude or lat-lon coordinates). Connors Lake Park is positioned in the center of the above map, where the elevation is 75 feet (23 meters) above sea level.
You can find Connors Lake Park on the USGS 7.5-minute, 1:24,000-scale Anchorage A-8 quadrangle topo map and on terrain maps.
Unfenced -- No Fees -- 24 Hours
No Bathrooms -- No Night Lighting
No Water Fountain
DO NOT LEAVE valuables in your car. Vandalism has occurred several times.
Off-Leash Dog Areas-Rules and Regulations
- Dogs must be legally licensed and have a current rabies vaccination.
- Dogs must be leashed upon entering and leaving the off-leash dog areas.
- Classified dogs and female dogs in heat are prohibited.
- The owner or custodian of the dog must remain in the dog area with the dog.
- Dogs must be under control as defined in Title 17. (Control by command --visual or audible commands or a combination thereof, to which the animal would respond promptly and accurately.)
- Dog feces must be cleaned up by the dog owner or custodian.
- Holes dug by dogs must be filled by the dog owner or custodian.
- Owners or custodians are responsible for all actions of their dogs.
Areas designated for off-leash dog use are shared by many park users including skiers, walkers, runners, bikers, and others. Because these areas are truly multi-use, it is important to exhibit courteous behavior or “good petiquette”. There are some simple things that can be done to make off-leash areas enjoyable for all users including:
- Always carry a leash (if you need it, you have it).
- Bring poop scoop bags from home to clean up after your pet. Please help by picking up extra. Even responsible dog owners get distracted.
- Keep you dog in sight and under control at all times.
- Control excessive barking.
- Off-leash areas are shared for a variety of activities so please be respectful of other users. Keep your dog controlled and from interfering with other people and their dogs (especially leashed ones).
- Properly dispose of all garbage in cans or take it home with you.
- Remember, you are fully responsible for your dog and his actions