Board of Park Commissioners to host hearing on People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan

The Board of Park Commissioners will hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the Draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan. The meeting will take place at Miller Community Center (330 19th Ave E) on Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m.

The plan will guide the operations of existing off-leash areas, and provides strategies for development of future off-leash areas. It provides direction on how to spend Seattle Park District funding designated for existing off-leash areas over the six-year term of the Park District funding plan (2015-2020). The Draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan is available to view online.

The Board of Park Commissioners will receive oral and written testimony, and will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent based on the feedback they receive from the public.

Seattle currently has 14 fenced off-leash areas totaling 28 acres. The People, Dogs and Parks Plan offers recommendations on how to add new off-leash areas, and how to improve off-leash area conditions and user experience.

New off-leash areas may be added through new park development, existing park redevelopment and community requests, on park land or non-park public land.

All new off-leash area proposals will be reviewed by a committee of dog- and environmental advocates, community members, animal behaviorists and Parks staff, who will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent.

The Plan recommends that future off-leash areas be fenced, does not recommend allowing unleashed dogs on trails, and recommends against establishing more off-leash areas on beaches. User conflicts, limited enforcement and maintenance resources, and environmental concerns limit the capacity for adequate management of unleashed dogs in city parks outside of fenced off-leash areas.

The plan proposes the use of Seattle Park District funding to improve existing off-leash areas based on site assessments included in the plan, and to explore possibilities for partnerships and sponsorships to expand resources. It also proposes the creation of a license for dog walkers, and limiting the number of dogs in a dog-walker pack to three unless dog walkers complete an approved animal behavior training program.

Locals who want to give input but are unable to attend the meeting can give written comments, which bear equal weight to verbal comments. Please email comments to rachel.acosta@seattle.gov.


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