Although a number of guests and officials brought their furry four-legged friends to the Aug. 14 grand opening of Rocky Fork Metro Park, the facility's dog park is not yet open.

Although a number of guests and officials brought their furry four-legged friends to the Aug. 14 grand opening of Rocky Fork Metro Park, the facility's dog park is not yet open.

However, dogs are welcome on most of the trails, according to Dan Bissonette, manager of the park at 7180 Walnut St. in Westerville.

Bissonette said some construction still is needed and Metro Parks officials are waiting on the turf to be durable enough for use.

"In addition to construction that's still needed, such as fencing, gates, benches, a shade structure and agility obstacles, the major holdup is because the root system is not mature or strong yet to recover from the wear and tear that the dogs generate," he said.

Bissonette said he was unsure when the dog park would open.

"It depends on the growing season and growth this fall to decide when it will be mature enough," he said.

The park has trails where leashed pets are welcome, with the exception of the North Meadows Trail, he said.

The park also has one off-leash trail designed for dogs.

"Dogs are welcome to be off leash on the Dog Trail, but are asked to be leashed when entering and exiting the trail," Bissonette said.

Rock Fork Metro Park also has no trash receptacles.

Like the Walnut Woods and Prairie Oaks parks, the new Metro Park has a carry-in, carry-out policy and has bags near the shelter houses visitors can use for waste and recyclables.

Dog-waste receptacles should be added to the park soon and will be exempt from the policy, Bissonette said.

"Carry-in, carry-out does not apply to pet waste," he said. "It is for all the rest of the litter that visitors generate."

He said the goal is for people to bring their own bags to the park when using the picnic facilities.

"The intent isn't that we would provide the bags forever," he said. "We hope the thinking is, 'Here's a bag given to me now, but I'll bring my own trash bag next time.' "