Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking Seattle dog owners to take an online survey to help it develop an Off-leash Area (OLA) Strategic Plan which “will guide the operations of existing OLAs, explore alternative service models and create a strategy for the potential acquisition and development of future OLAs.”
The plan will also provide direction on how to spend Park District funding designated for OLAs and identify a long term plan for the City’s existing 14 OLAs, including maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of OLA projects.
Seattle is widely considered one of the dog friendliest cities in the country, and in many respects it is, but with regard to off-leash dog parks, Seattle is lagging behind other cities both in the number of dog parks and amount of land devoted to dog parks.
Consider these facts from Citizens for Off-Leash Areas, a nonprofit group that advocates for & manages Seattle’s off-leash dog parks:
- Dog parks are up 20% in the last five years in America’s largest cities, but Seattle has only opened 2.3 acres in the last fourteen years, more than half of which is in one underutilized area under I-5.
- Seattle has 14 dog parks providing 26 acres of off-leash land (almost half of which is in Magnuson Off-Leash Area), where other neighboring large cities average 32 dog parks each with an average of nearly 120 acres per city.
- In Seattle, the majority of us must drive to our dog parks, which is not ideal in a traffic-laden city concerned about the environment, and not true in Portland or Vancouver BC.
- Seattle only has one small dog beach in Magnuson Park. Many other dense urban cities across the country have opened multiple large dog beaches.
- Seattle has no off-leash trails, whereas many other cities have opened off-leash trail systems in approved parkland.
The downtown area is the best example of why Seattle needs more off-leash areas. With downtown and South Lake Union already booming, our population is expected to grow by 120,000 in the next 10 years, but currently we only have 2 tiny off-leash dog parks downtown: Denny Dog Park and Regrade Dog Park.
But Seattle Parks won’t designate enough money to give us more, larger off-leash dog parks unless it believes there is adequate demand for them. That’s why it is important for all dog owners in Seattle to take the survey.
It only take about 10 minutes to complete, so please block out some time to take it. All you have to do is click here and you’ll go directly to the survey.
To learn more about the survey and how it will fit into Seattle Parks’ strategic plan, go to the Seattle Parks Department website.