Seattle Parks and Recreation has released the long awaited People, Dogs, and Parks Plan draft, a document focused on updating the off leash dog policy in our city parks.
The ‘draft‘ is very long (161 pages) and shows the extent to which Parks went in researching, reviewing, and justifying their options on this very contentious issue. Highlights of the recommendations (pages 41-43) include:
- No unfenced or mixed use off leash areas in parks
- No offleash dogs on trails in parks
- Current offleash budget to be spent on maintenance of current areas, not creation of new ones
- No new offleash areas with beach access (i.e., on Puget Sound)
- Several suggestions for finding/creating offleash areas outside of Seattle Parks property
With limited greenspace, we believe the needs of ‘all people’ outweigh the desires of specialized user groups. Off leash dog owners should not get special privileges for their off leash dog recreation at a cost to other park users, wildlife, and the well being of the park ecosystem. We support passive use in our greenspaces, which does includes dog owners who leash their dogs. We hope, as stated in the draft document, other more appropriate recreation area options become available for what is clearly a dog recreation need.
As this is still a ‘draft’, it has not been approved, and the Board of Park Commissioners, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Council will be watching public comment and reaction closely. We encourage everyone to either testify in person, or send a letter to the Parks board by July 28, 2016. (See details in letter below) :
From DOGSANDPARKS@TALK2.SEATTLE.GOV on 6/22/16:
The Draft People, Dogs and Parks Plan is now posted for public review and comment. The Draft, released for public review on June 21, 2016, will not be finalized until late September, 2016. A public hearing by the Board of Park Commissioners (Board) will be held:
July 28, 2016
6:30 – 9:00 pm
Northgate Community Center
10510 5th Avenue, NE
Seattle, WA 98125
Public testimony at the Board meeting will be limited to two minutes per person. Public comment may also be submitted in writing and will have equal weight as oral testimony. Written comments should be addressed to: Rachel.Acosta@Seattle.Gov and should be submitted by August 17, 2016 in order to allow the Board to review all public input prior to the September 8, 2016 Board meeting. The Board will make recommendations to the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation at the September 8, 2016 meeting of the Board.
The September 8, 2016 meeting of the Board will be held:
6:30 – 9:00 pm
100 Dexter Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
This plan has also been sent to the Seattle City Council who may review it in the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee.
The Superintendent will finalize the plan after considering public testimony, receiving recommendations from the Board, and input from the Seattle City Council.
ABGC/Park Board Coordinator
Seattle Parks and Recreation
100 Dexter Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109
For more from the Seattle Nature Alliance on this issue, see our earlier post, Seattle should not approve off-leash in natural parks. As you will see at the end, we love dogs, but recognize the limitations and responsibilities that come with dog ownership in a dense urban area.