Dog Policy: SHARING Seattle’s Parks and Natural Areas?

Seattle Parks and Rec is reviewing the off-leash dog policy, and will present a draft plan on January 1, 2016.

Surprised? So were we—especially when we saw the range of options they are looking at.

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Misleading information given at the Focus Group at Camp Long. This is actually not a Vancouver BC city park, it is outside the city, and it is a 2160-acre University property. It would be the equivalent of a state park or county park in our system.
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Seattle’s public beaches are few and far between, and are important places for baby seals and other wildlife.

We have asked Parks to put a hold on this planning process. We want them to start over and include other interested groups from the beginning. At this point, we are only concerned with the Planning Process: we want it to be inclusive, impartial, and accurate. You can read our specific concerns in more detail in our letter to Parks here. You can read their reply to us here.

We support welcoming leashed dogs in lawful areas. But, changing the leash law to allow off-leash dogs on Seattle park nature trails or beaches would drastically affect the balance of sensitive wildlife habitat and the nature-experience for many people. Nature should be a safe and welcoming place for all creatures, within the bounds of sustainability.


We support:

•we support leashed dogs in lawful locations.

•we support fenced, off-leash areas in appropriate locations.

We oppose:

•we oppose changing the leash law to allow off-leash dogs on Seattle park nature trails or beaches, or in inappropriate locations.


Sharing Nature

Nature should be open to all people, not all uses.

But, Parks’ system favors specialized-user groups, each wanting their own access to nature, and each with a ready following of supporters that can lobby for their own groups. This specialized-user system is unfair and unsustainable.

Instead, we advocate for passive-use. We must share—but let’s share on equal footing. Passive uses are compatible with other uses—they do not require their own set-aside spaces and are compatible with other uses and with the other living creatures that depend upon nature.

Nature is about the future. Seattlites are being asked to live more densely and to adjust our expectations: less driving, fewer parking spaces, fewer yards or single-family neighborhoods. We also need to adjust our expectations for  specialized-uses in natural areas. We all deserve a livable, nature-rich city.


For more information:

4 thoughts on “Dog Policy: SHARING Seattle’s Parks and Natural Areas?

  1. I’m not sure why we would allow dogs off leash in parks. Then it is not safe for everyone. I am a dog walker and a dog owner. Many dogs I come in contact with are not in fact friendly towards other dogs. So when I am out with any of them walking in parks or even in a neighborhood, and other dogs are off leash it becomes a problem. A lot of what I see is people thinking it is okay to let your dog off leash and run around because they love everyone and listen. When in reality, your dog does not have a rock solid recall, anday of those people think every dog is friendly, they aren’t. Creating all parks off leash so “everyone can enjoy them” is really limiting the people that will get to enjoy it. Instead of wasting the time on this, they should be educating the population on dog etiquette.

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