Black Elk-Neihardt Park is one of Blair's hidden gems, and now two residents are hoping to add to its recreational uses under proposals recently revealed.

Brent Fullmer wants to create a 3.2-mile natural surface trail throughout the park. The multi-use trail would be built in four sections, including through some of the park's wooded and more secluded areas.

Doug Cook wants to build a 20-acre dog park in the southern portion of the park.

Twenty acres for a dog park is just too much. Such a large area would be difficult to maintain and the terrain on a portion of that property is rugged and steep.

Only four years ago, a design in the northwest section of Black Elk-Neihardt Park included a 1-acre section for small dogs and a 3- to 5-acre section for large. This would seem more reasonable.

While the current proposal for the dog park conflicts with the trail proposal, there is no reason these two ideas can't coincide. A smaller facility and the trail could draw more visitors to this already popular park.

Blair could use Jewell Park, located on the eastern edge of Bellevue, as an example. The 63-acre park includes a 3.4-mile trail through a wooded area and both large and small dog runs.

Having both would allow dog owners and non-dog owners to enjoy the park, while maintaining the beauty for which the park is known.

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