Denver-area dog park scheduled to close, but its founder isn’t done fighting for the space, a memorial for her son

“I feel him when I’m here.” Quackenboss said, remembering her son. “I can hear him going, ‘Go mom!’”

KEVIN-lighter
Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss holds a memorial plaque for her son that she's removed from the space before it closes. March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss holds a memorial plaque for her son that she's removed from the space before it closes. March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

At 11:30 Thursday morning, a crowd of four- and two-legged protesters gathered inside the Elk Meadow dog park. The humans in attendance held signs reading “defend our park” and “boot the poop not the pups.”

The park, which is set to close April 4th, means more than open space for dashing dogs to Judi Quackenboss. It’s also a memorial to her son John, who died in a plane crash in 2000. Today, Quackenboss removed two plaques from park fences before Jefferson County officials close it down.

“I feel him when I’m here.” Quackenboss said, remembering her son. “I can hear him going, ‘Go mom!’”

Five-year-old Allison Griego holds a protest sign at Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Five-year-old Allison Griego holds a protest sign amongst frolicking dogs. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

In January we reported that Jefferson County Open Space would be closing much of the park due to high levels of dog poop that officials say runs off into the watershed below.

Quackenboss and her supporters think otherwise. She is open about her skepticism of Jefferson County’s claim that E. coli is entering nearby streams. For her, the park’s closure is a step backwards — she wants to see a second dog park open in the vicinity.

Supporters shouted, “Thank you, Judi,” and “We love you,” as she removed the bolts from her son’s memorial plaque.

“We’re not even close to done,” Quackenboss said afterward. She asserted, confidently, that the park will re-open and John’s memoriam will be back in its rightful spot soon enough.

The group plans to rally on Saturday, rain or shine, at the RTD Bergen Park Park-n-Ride off Highway 74 in Evergreen at 2 p.m.

Dogs at play at Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Dogs at play at Elk Meadow Dog Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Dogs at play at Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

A very friendly dog. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Judi Quackenboss at Elk Meadow Dog Park, which she helped found. March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Judi Quackenboss at Elk Meadow Dog Park, which she helped found. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Dogs and protest signs at Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Dogs and protest signs. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Mary BEth Fuss (left) and Colleen Condon stand with their dogs Jack (left) and Greta at Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Mary Beth Fuss (left) and Colleen Condon stand with their dogs Jack (left) and Greta. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Elk Meadow Dog Park, March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Four-leggers running free. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss removes a memorial plaque for her son before the space closes. March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss removes a memorial plaque for her son before the space closes. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss holds a memorial plaque for her son that she's removed from the space before it closes. March 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  elk meadow dog park; evergreen; colorado; kevinjbeaty; parks; denverite;

Elk Meadow Dog Park founder Judi Quackenboss holds one memorial plaque for her son, John. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)