Directions to "FIDO's Backyard": From I-79 in Fairmont, West Virginia, use Exit 136. Follow signs to East Marion Park. Proceed into the park and look for Pavilion #5 signs across the parking lot and to the left. Follow that road to the end at the softball field parking lot. On the far left, a road will lead you around and down the hill behind the ball field. You will come to the parking area and the entrance to the dog park.

If you would like to make a donation, please send your check made payable to MCPARC with "FIDO" noted in the memo to MCPARC, 319 Monroe Street, Fairmont, WV, 26554.

Go to for more information about our park as well as other parks and activities available in Marion County, West Virginia. Check out the "virtual tour" of FIDO's Backyard!

If you would like to be added to our FIDO e-mailing list, please send your request to

Welcome to FIDO's Backyard!

Welcome to FIDO's Backyard!

New bench in memory of Shadow - Brett Schrader's senior project

New bench in memory of Shadow - Brett Schrader's senior project

Pathways within the park - Michael Garcia's senior project

Pathways within the park - Michael Garcia's senior project

"FIDO's Backyard" Grand Opening Celebration was held on Sunday, May 30, 2010

"FIDO's Backyard" Grand Opening Celebration was held on Sunday, May 30, 2010
Brewster is seen here posing prior to the Grand Opening

Senior Project Donation

Senior Project Donation
EFHS's Brandon Spicer presents his completed bench to FIDO president, David Garcia

Rendition of FIDO Dog Area at East Marion Park

Rendition of FIDO Dog Area at East Marion Park
By: Bob Moore, Marion County Art Teacher

Wooded Area

Wooded Area
This area is enclosed and ready to check out!

Open Flat Area

Open Flat Area
As of Sept. 2011 - fenced and ready! New pictures soon!

Donation in Memory of "BomBom"

Donation in Memory of "BomBom"

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The latest news is that we are waiting for the fencing and signs to be completed. Our grand opening celebration will follow soon after those park necessities are finished. We'll keep you posted as we know anything.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meeting on August 25th

Dear Dog Lovers,

FIDO will be having a meeting on Tuesday, August 25th, at 7:00 P.M. at Pavilion #5. The pavilion is located at East Marion Park (Wave Tek) and is near the dog park site. We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer 2009

Work has been mostly completed at the dog park site as MCPARC and FIDO volunteers cleared away trees and brush. We hope to have the area fenced sometime in July when the fencing materials are received. Once the signage is obtained and posted, the park will be open for public use.

A FIDO meeting will be held in the future in order to plan for an official opening ceremony. Thank you to all of our supporters as we continue to move forward with the dog park!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three Rivers Festival Parade & News

FIDO was represented well in the Three Rivers Festival parade through the streets of Fairmont by Kahlua, Majic, Deke, and Brewster. Thanks to Megan, John, Sonja, David, and Kelly for escorting the dogs and getting the word out about the dog park.

A lot of work is being done to make preparations for the fencing to be put up soon. If all goes well, the park will be open in June. A work day is scheduled for Saturday morning, May 23rd, from 9AM until around noon. Bring your work gloves if you are able to help clear some brush.

Our next FIDO meeting will be a cookout held on an upcoming Saturday afternoon. More information on that later.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Next Meeting April 27th

Please plan to attend our next meeting to be held on Monday, April 27th, at 7:00 P.M. We will meet at Pavilion #5 at East Marion Park which is near the dog park site. Leadership Marion is hosting a Cash Bash on May 16th at Westchester Village and half of the proceeds will be going to FIDO, with the other half going to the United Way. Please consider purchasing a ticket - we will have tickets available at the meeting or contact me at

Hope to see you at the meeting! It should be a nice evening to explore the site as well.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meeting postponed until April 13th

Due to inclement weather, our next meeting will be held on Monday, April 13th. (Originally scheduled for April 6th). We will begin at 6:30 P.M. with a site walk to see how much progress has been made in clearing the wooded area. The business meeting will follow at 7:00 P.M. at Pavilion #5 which the area closest to the site. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Unique park for dogs By: Mallory Panuska

‘Unique park’ for dogs
FIDO members working to secure funding, clean up areaBy Mallory PanuskaTimes West Virginian
FAIRMONT — Marion County dog owners are getting closer to having a local place to take their furry family members for recreation. Members of the Fairmont Interested Dog Owners (FIDO), a group formed recently to create a dog park in county limits, have secured three to four acres of property at East Marion Park for the endeavor. Members of the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission (MCPARC) also helped the group get this land for the project, which is located behind the softball field at the East Side recreational facility.And now, with spring on the horizon and the weather warming up, FIDO members are making efforts to secure funding and begin cleaning up the area.FIDO frontman David Garcia explained that the park will be shaped like a figure-8 with a mixture of open space and woods. “I think ours is going to be unique in that we have a flat area and a wooded area,” Garcia said. “it’s really going to be a unique park.”Garcia said the group, which is made up of about 20 core members and a total of about 80 others who attend the meetings, borrowed ideas from a dog park in Morgantown.He said the open space will be for the dogs to run around and play fetch and mingle with other dogs, and the wooded space will be for the owners and their pets to walk and hang out in the shade. He said there will be a large portion for big dogs and then a smaller portion dedicated to little dogs so the breeds can be separate. And all around the park there will be signs posted with a set of rules, Garcia said. These rules include making sure the dogs are supervised and under control and also ensuring that if a dog gets out of hand or is not compatible with the other dogs that the owner must apprehend it.Garcia said that he doesn't anticipate too many issues because the park will be neutral territory, and most dogs only get territorial in their own domains.In total, Garcia said the first estimate for the park came in at $21,500, with the main expense being a $16,000 fence that will be put up around the open portion. Last week, Garcia approached the Marion County Commissioners on behalf of FIDO and requested funding help for the fencing. And as dog owners themselves, the commissioners said they were in favor of the concept of creating this type of park.“I’m sold on the whole idea,” Commission President Randy Elliott said. “There are dog owners in this county who go to Morgantown to go to a dog park. It’s a great thing that we don’t have in this county, that now we can have.”Elliott said he and the other two commissioners would look into FIDO’s request and decide what kind of help they can give.Garcia said the group is also hosting an elimination dinner with the United Way on May 16 and is also planning to apply for some other grant funds.In addition to the fencing, Garcia said the group is also looking to purchase signs and benches and also wants to set up a place for the dogs to have fresh water as well as places for waste disposal.If all goes well and the funding comes in, Garcia said he hopes to have the fence up and the park ready for use around June. Garcia said FIDO is planning a work day to clean up some brush and trees at the site in the near future and that anyone who wants to help is encouraged to do so.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

FIDO T-shirts!

At the last FIDO meeting, we discussed ordering t-shirts which could be worn during work days at the park and to fund raisers supporting the group. We have been working with Acorn Graphics in Fairmont to design the shirts. Here are the details:
- Shirts will be the color Sand - which is a light tan color
- Size available are youth sizes and adult sizes up to 3XL
- On the front, we propose the 4x4 FIDO logo on the left chest (where a pocket would be but the shirts don't have pockets)
- On the back, we propose a 12x12 design (which is standard size) which would have a big paw print in the middle, the FIDO webpage underneath the paw, and the phrase "More Than a Walk in the Park" in an arch over the top of the paw print. The phrase on the back is certainly up for suggestions so if you have any, please feel free to email the group or myself ( with your ideas. If we are able to put together an order for 30-35 shirts, the cost should be around $8.00 a shirt (ballpark), or a little more if we order less shirts. We're just going to focus on t-shirts for right now, but hats and other items may be close behind if this goes well. If you are interested in ordering a FIDO t-shirt, please let me know what size and how many of each size so we can get a count for the April 6 meeting. We would like to have the t-shirts for the Cash Bash fund raiser on May 16, so we would like to place the order immediately after our next FIDO meeting, so please have your orders to me by April 6 either via email ( or phone (412-719-9305).
Thank you!!
- Wendy Jo Spurling

"FIDO goes before Marion County commission to bark for dog park funds BY: Jim Bissett for the Dominion Post

Happy panting and tireless Frisbee-fetching, yes. Leashes, no. Those will be the only rules Marion County's canine population will have to abide by in the county's first-ever dog park, which is scheduled to open this summer. The group that will oversee the operation, Fairmont Interested Dog Owners (FIDO) came out during an evening session of the Marion County Commission on Wednesday to bark for park funds. The park's area takes in three acres in a northern quadrant of East Marion Park, which is just off the city's East Side. David Garcia, the group's president, asked commissioners for $8,000, which is about half the total cost for the fencing that will allow dogs to roam off-leash. The park will be part of the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission's (MCPARC) network, Garcia said. "We're pretty excited about it," he said. "So many dogs are tied up in the yard, so this is a place where they can really run." As in running in social circles, said Garcia, the proud owner of a golden retriever named Brewster. "The dogs will be able to socialize and get some exercise," he said. "And when you get a bunch of dog owners around, you've got an instant bond." Counting fences and new signs, Garcia said, the technical cost of the park will be $21,500. Operating it under MCPARC means the group won't have to apply for nonprofit status. The park will be a mix of hilly, wooded trails and flat expanses free of trees, he said, and the area FIDO marked had been unused previously. Having a park catering to a canine clientele in the county means owners will no longer have to drive to Morgantown and other locales in order to see Spot run, Garcia said. The county will fetch an answer for FIDO next week, Commission President Randy Elliott said, adding that he and his fellow commissioners are all dog owners. "I don't have to tell you you're preaching to the choir with us," he said to Garcia. FIDO also wants to get the city of Fairmont involved, which might not be barking up the wrong tree, since Deputy Mayor Bill Burdick (the proud owner of Katie, a black lab) is also a member. For information on the organization and the park, visit Commissioners, meanwhile, are on a short leash this week. They'll meet Friday morning to sign off on he county's roughly $10 million operating budget for fiscal year 2009-'10.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Check out this link to a news story and clip about the dog park. We had lots of help that day and have made great progress!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We need your help!

As we are already halfway through March, we are really needing to get the site area cleared. David and Steve walked the site this past Saturday to determine what needed to be done. They began work clearing the area with help from a great bunch of MCPARC volunteers. Now we really need help from our FIDO members.

Please look ahead on your March and early April calendars - every Saturday morning that it doesn't rain will be an opportunity to help. The outlook is good for a nice day this Saturday, March 21st - we will begin at 9AM. Also, David and I will be at the park tomorrow, Wednesday night, beginning at 5:30 P.M. until dark. If you can come for a couple of hours or only one, please plan to help out. We have put in a lot of hours in planning for our dog park; let's be sure to put in the sweat equity as well.

The only thing you have to have when coming out to help at the site is a thick pair of gloves. If you own a chainsaw, weedeater with blades, or scythe please bring it along.

If you could let me know when you plan to help, it would be great to know who to expect. Thanks for considering putting in a little time for our dogs.

Friday, March 13, 2009

First Work Day Planned

Our first work day for the dog park will be held on Saturday, March 14th, at 9:00 A.M. Please bring work gloves if you plan to help out. Feel free to come and check out the property if you are not able to pitch in at this time to get a glimpse of our vision for the first dog park in Marion County.

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Meeting

Our next meeting for FIDO is Monday, March 9th, at 7:00 P.M. in the J. Harper Meredith Building. We will be discussing our progress and planning some work days at the property. Hope you can make it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Section of East Marion Park Approved as Site for Dog Park

BYMALLORY PANUSKA TIMES WEST VIRGINIAN FAIRMONT — A section of East Marion Park was offi­cially approved as the future site of a countywide dog park last week. Dan Talbott, executive director of the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission (MCPARC), explained that the park will be located in an area that measures between three and four acres behind the softball field at the East Side recre­ational facility. MCPARC is working in conjunction with the Fairmont Interested Dog Owners (FIDO), a group pro­moting construction of the park. “We’ve been working with a group of really, really great people,” Talbott said of FIDO. “We are working with this group in helping them help their cause.” Currently, an engineer is working on the specifics of the project, which will ideally be either a completely or par­tially fenced-in area where responsible pet owners can bring their dogs, Talbott said. He said the area will also be “off-leash,” which he explained is a term used all over the country that refers to an area where owners can let their dogs off their leashes to run around and play with other dogs. But the dogs must always be controlled and must stay in the designated area, he added. Talbott also said that the area will be a mixture of open field woods, which will offer benefits to pet owners utiliz­ing the facility because the trees would offer shade in the summer and some protection from the elements, and the fields will give them room to play catch and other games with their dogs. Other benefits can be found within the social aspect of the park, Talbott said. “A dog park is more than taking your dog for a walk,” he said. “It’s a social thing. It helps the owner get exercise as well as the pet. It’s just good for the community.” FIDO’s next meeting was to be held this weekend, and Talbott said members will be discussing fundraising efforts for the park as the next step in moving the project for­ward. He added that the group will also need to solicit the City of Fairmont to consider passing a special ordinance to allow for the park to be constructed at that location because it is within municipal limits.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MCPARC Meeting

David and Dan presented information to the MCPARC Board of Directors this evening. Thanks to several of our FIDO members who were in attendance to show support including Aaron Pollock, Stephanie Wilson, and Wendy and David Spurling.

After some discussion, the MCPARC Board approved our proposal of using the property at East Marion Park with the following provisions:
1) a survey be done of the area
2) the city approve an ordiance for an off-leash area
3) a detailed report of the projected costs

Thanks again for all of your support. You can still send in donations to MCPARC or pledge for later. We will continue to keep you posted. Our next official meeting will be held on Monday, February 9th, 7PM in Room 104 of the J. Harper Meredith Building.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

East Marion potential location for dog park

By Paul FallonTimes West Virginian
FAIRMONT — The proposal to build a dog park in the area moved one step closer to reality Monday night. One of the major obstacles that must be overcome for the dog park to be constructed is locating property. And members of the group promoting construction of the dog park, Fairmont Interested Dog Owners (FIDO), are asking that a portion of East Marion Park be used for the proposed dog park.The particular portion of land is approximately three acres and is located behind the softball field, said Dan Talbott, executive director of the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission. MCPARC is sponsoring FIDO. “We think this is a really good spot for the dog park,” Talbott said. A dog park is a fenced in area where people can take their animals to play. The dogs can be let off the leash once they are inside the fenced-in area. The proposed site is close to water, which is a necessity for a dog park, said Dave Garcia, the lead member of FIDO. Garcia added that additional parking can be built near the site. “It’s a really nice place, and it’s centrally located,” Garcia said of the site. Garcia added that the site was also wooded in areas and open field in other. This would benefit pet owners utilizing the park because the trees would offer shade in the summer and some protection from the elements. The clear fields would also give the pet owner the opportunity to play catch with their pets, among other games. Although the group is asking for that particular piece of property, no concrete decision has been made. Therefore, the site for the park may change in the future if problems with the East Marion Park location arise. Although members of FIDO have possibly located a site for the park, they still need funding to help construct the facility. “Fencing is going to be the most expensive thing we’ll have to buy,” Garcia said. “It has been estimated that we’ll have to buy about $15,000 worth of fencing to enclose that area.” Anyone wishing to donate money to help fund the dog park may do so by sending a check to: MCPARC, 319 Monroe St. Fairmont, WV 26554. Checks should be made out to MCPARC but designated for FIDO in the memo line. Talbott pointed out that donations are tax-deductible.

Another Step Closer

The group has taken another step closer to making the dog park a reality. A motion was made and passed that the East Marion Park site (behind the softball field at Wave Tek) be pursued as our intial dog park in the county. A presentation will be made to the MCPARC Board of Directors on Tuesday, January 20th, at 6PM at the J. Harper Meredith Building, fourth floor. Plan to attend and show your support if at all possible.

If you are interested in making a contribution to FIDO, our suggested levels of giving include $25 individual, $50 family, and $250 founder or business (to be recognized at the park), although any amount would be appreciated. Make checks payable to "MCPARC" with a designation in the memo for "FIDO" and send to: MCPARC, 319 Monroe Street, Fairmont, WV, 26554.

The next FIDO meeting will be held on Monday, February 9th, at 7:00 P.M. in Room 104 of the J. Harper Meredith Building.