Due to a conflict with wildlife, dogs are not allowed at Metro parks, natural areas or facilities.
In order to protect wildlife habitat, and for their own safety, pets are not permitted at any Metro park, greenspace or facility. Seeing-eye dogs, or other service animals that are on the job, are permitted in Metro parks but must be under control at all times and pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after them.
We are frequently asked about the reason for Metro’s no-dogs-allowed policy (Metro Regulatory Code, Title 10.01.220). The primary reason for the rule is the conflict pets (particularly dogs) produce in parks and natural areas managed for fish and wildlife habitat and large gatherings of people in Metro’s developed park facilities.
For example, Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area and Oxbow Regional Park are open year-round for public use and enjoyment, but these natural areas are managed in a way that protects habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife species. Visitors to these places have a unique opportunity to experience native plants and animals in a natural environment. Dogs, by nature, can significantly alter a visitor’s experience and can damage sensitive habitats or restored habitat sites as well as harass or kill vulnerable wildlife.
The no-dogs policy also applies to heavily-used parks such as Blue Lake Regional Park. On a busy summer day at Blue Lake, there are often as many as 8,000 people picnicking, walking, biking, swimming and playing various field games in the park. A crowded environment such as this can prove to be unsafe for people as well as for pets.
A dogs-on-leash rule has proved ineffective in the past, because many people disregard the policy. We also have experienced that a number of pet owners do not take the responsibility to pick up pet waste. Patrolling park grounds to assure that dogs are under control, contacting those who are not being responsible with their pet and cleaning up after pets to assure a safe visitor environment has proved to be an inefficient use of very limited staff time.
With the exception of special service dogs, Metro will continue its current policy of excluding pets from their parks and natural areas to help assure a quality visitor experience and help protect the natural resource values in these places.