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Feature Story

April 2014


Dog Park Popularity Leads to New Association

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Parks & Recreation Commit to Healthy Eating & Activity - March 2014

To Combat Bad Air, Change Bad Habits - March 2014

Sports Participation Report Reveals Mixed News - February 2014

Coalition of Mayors Urges Parks Funding Renewal - February 2014

CDC, AAHPERD Release Guide for School Activity Programs - January 2014

AAHPERD Becomes SHAPE America - December 2013

The Outdoor Foundation Releases 2013 American Camper Report - November 2013

Are You Walk-Friendly? - November 2013

AAHPERD Releases Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education - October 2013

Local Parks Identified as Allies in Arthritis Prevention - October 2013

Warning: Don't Overlook Your Restrooms - September 2013

Take Action to Reduce Childhood Obesity in September - September 2013

The Y Expands Mentoring Program - August 2013

Amusement Parks & Attractions Industry Generates More Than $200 Billion, Supports 2.3 Million Jobs - July 2013

National Parks Munchies Go Healthy - June 2013

NDPA Seal of Safer Pool Practices to Promote Water Safety, Drowning Prevention - May 2013

Individuals, Organizations Recognized for Conservation, Tree Planting - April 2013

IHRSA Reports: Health Clubs Still Going Strong - April 2013

The statistics are in: There are more dogs in U.S. households than children these days. Spending on pets is at an all-time high, with people choosing premium products, healthier foods, more frequent veterinary visits and regular trips to the groomer for their canine companions. People want their dogs to be happy, healthy, look good and smell good. People also are spending more on training, boarding and dog daycare than ever before. It is no wonder, then, that of all the features to choose form, off-lead canine play areas lead the list in planned additions to recreation parks throughout the United States. It is also estimated that canine-specific parks will continue to grow by leaps and bounds—not only in major urban areas, but in small towns, gated retirement communities and even rural areas.

"The growth in dog park popularity is almost mandating an organization to help people find answers to questions they have about a multitude of things regarding starting or maintaining a dog park," said Roseanne D. Conrad, president of the newly formed National Dog Park Association.

After struggling for almost four years to develop a member-based dog park in her rural area in Central Pennsylvania, Conrad knew that starting the association was something she was called upon to do. She and her staff want to provide an organization to assist and support developers, administrators and managers of existing and developing off-lead dog parks in their missions to provide a safe, clean, exciting and healthy recreational park for canines and their human companions.

"I have talked to a number of people who have struggled in their attempts to get dog parks started in their respective communities," Conrad said. "Zoning ordinances, community misconception and funding constraints are some of the problems voiced, but there are other concerns as well. In the excitement to open a dog park, some developers have created parks where problems exist almost from the start. Lack of proper planning can really make a mess of things."

Conrad is no stranger to parks, recreation and dogs. She currently serves as executive director of a sports and recreation park (for humans) and as corresponding secretary of a newly developed 10-acre, off-lead member-based dog park in Central Pennsylvania. She also is in the planning stage of developing the first bike park in the same region. She has decades of experience in nonprofit administration, fundraising, promotional marketing with a concentration in special event planning and implementation.

"My love of dogs stems from the cradle," Conrad said. "I have always had a dog or two by my side, and they absolutely define who I am."

Conrad's business, GPPInc., will manage the NDPA and plans for programs and benefits are developing. NDPA will provide the opportunity for annual memberships in a variety of categories.

"A priority is to start a standards committee who will be charged with developing a set of standard practices for which municipal and private dog parks may refer to during the planning, building and operating phases of their parks," Conrad said.

The organization will provide consultation in many areas of dog park development and management, including research, feasibility studies, planning and development, marketing, graphic design, website and social media development and networking. Other benefits are being researched, including a group liability insurance plan and product discounts from manufacturers and distributors.

For more information, visit www.nationaldogparkassociation.net.


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