This month marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Remington Dog Park, just across Bridgeway from the floating homes community. The park owes its existence to Dianne Chute, an insurance broker who provided coverage for many floating homes, and who was devoted to her golden retriever, Remington.
Addressing an October 1990 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, she commented on the unintended consequences of Sausalito’s leash law, which states that dogs must be on leash when off of their owner’s property.
“Everyone I know is a responsible dog owner,” she said, “yet because of the leash law, we are forced to break the law. I feel like a criminal.”
After presenting a petition signed by 150 like–minded citizens, Dianne added, “enforcing the leash law is like the city banning cars without providing an alternative means to get around.”
In true Sausalito fashion, that meeting led to a series of debates about whether the park should be temporary or permanent, and where it might be located.
Dianne favored the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) park. She stated in this newspaper that a masterplan for MLK was long overdue and preferred the area between the gym and tennis courts because, of the alternatives discussed, it posed the least amount of work. In January 1991, the city council designated that section an off–leash area where dogs could be exercised.
Diane formed the Dog Owners Group (D.O.G.), composed of dog owners dedicated to developing an adequate local space for exercising their pets, and Marinscope reported that “support of the concept has been overwhelming.”
Fundraising efforts included soliciting private donations, selling hotdogs at the Caledonia Street Fair, selling drinks at the Vintage Boat Show, and holding a lasagna dinner/raffle, which was attended by 125 people. D.O.G. raised over $2000, combined with $2800 the city donated to the project, to complete the fencing of the off–leash area.
Dianne’s powers of persuasion, and—well—dogged determination, were beginning to pay off.
Marinscope city editor Tina Bournazos wrote: “get a group of Sausalitans together all working towards a community goal and the results are almost always remarkable. This time the group is dog owners, the goal is building a community dog park, and so far the results have been impressive.”
It all became official on November 24, 1991, with a gala, ribbon cutting and grand opening.
Two years later at the 1993 Take Pride in California Awards ceremony in Sacramento, Dianne Chute was honored for her volunteer efforts on behalf of the state’s public and private lands.
An avid sailor, Dianne also became the first female commodore of the Sausalito Cruising Club, and upon her death not long ago, she left part of her estate to Call of the Sea to fund sailing scholarships for girls and young women. Remington would have been proud.