Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

May 2019

Dog Parks Still on the Rise

By Deborah Vence

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently released data on the nation's dog parks, revealing that 810 off-leash dog parks exist in the country's 100 largest cities, which represents an increase of 37 parks over 2018. Since 2009, the first year that the survey included dog parks for these cities, their number has increased by 74 percent, or 344 additional dog parks.

"Dog parks are built for dogs, but are fantastic resources for people," said Diane Regas, president and CEO of TPL. "As anyone who has chatted with a neighbor while taking their four-legged friend to the dog park knows, community is created there. Having places to meet our neighbors can help us find common ground and encourages everyone to get outside."

According to the data, the city with the most dog parks is New York, which has 145. The Trust for Public Land's rankings are based on the number of off-leash dog areas per 100,000 people. The top cities for dog parks in 2019 include:

  • Boise, Idaho, with 13 total dog parks, or 5.7 per 100,000 residents.
  • Portland, Ore., with 35 total dog parks, or 5.4 per 100,000 residents.
  • Henderson, Nev., with 15 total dog parks, or 5 per 100,000 residents.

Other cities in the top 10 include Norfolk, Va. (fourth place); San Francisco, and Tampa, Fla., (tied for fifth place); Las Vegas, and Madison, Wis., (tied for seventh place); Oakland, Calif. (ninth place); and Arlington, Va. (10th place).

The full rankings of the largest 100 U.S. cities, as well as information on how to create a dog park and examples of successful and unusual dog parks and dog park features, can be found at

"Dog parks are one of the fastest growing components of parks," said Charlie McCabe, director of TPL's Center for City Park Excellence. "People have many questions about 'the right way' to build a dog park and want to bring together the correct combination of people and resources. We're providing this information to serve as a guide, so these dog parks can be a resource to as many people, and dogs, as possible."

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