Visitors have a unique opportunity to experience native plants and animals in a natural environment at Metro parks and natural areas, from Smith and Bybee Wetlands to Canemah Bluff. Dogs and other pets can damage sensitive habitat and threaten wildlife the region has worked to protect.
Supporting parks for dogs
Metro is working hard to protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and provide opportunities for people to connect with nature. Although Metro doesn't allow dogs at most of our sites, we believe it's important to invest in parks, trails and natural areas where dogs are allowed, on leash or off. Thanks to voter investments in the 1995 and 2006 bond measures, Metro has provided $69 million to local parks providers and supported dozens of destinations where dogs are allowed, including:
- Ardenwald Park
- Barton Park
- Browns Ferry Park
- Carver Park
- Clackamette Park
- Cross Park
- Homewood Park
- Marylhurst Heights Park
- Midhill Park
- Robinwood Community Park
- Donald L. Robertson Park
- Duniway Park
- Fairview Woods Wetlands Park
- Westmoreland Park
- Willamette Park
- Fanno Creek Trail
- King City Community Park
- Jackie Husen Park
- Noble Woods Park
- Rock Creek Greenway
- Rood Bridge Park
- Stella Olsen Park
Birds and other animals think of dogs – even the friendliest ones – as predators. Animals have a keen sense of sight, smell and hearing; the presence of a dog, even on a leash, will disrupt their normal behaviors. We also know that in natural areas where dogs are not allowed, people see more wildlife and can get closer to it. To ensure the policy is consistent with the best available research, our science team recently reviewed 54 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, as well as 23 professional reports. The research is consistent and compelling.
Read more about the science behind the policy
Among the 100 largest cities in America, Portland already leads the country with the most off-leash dog parks per capita, with 5.4 such parks per 100,000 residents, according to the 2015 City Park Facts report from The Trust for Public Land.
People have many options throughout the region when they want to spend time outdoors with their pets, but very few places they can depend on to protect sensitive habitat and provide a unique experience in nature.
The pets policy also applies to heavily used destinations such as Blue Lake Regional Park, where several thousand people are picnicking, walking, biking, swimming and playing games on a busy summer day. Introducing pets to a crowded environment can pose safety risks for both people and animals.
Metro does allow dogs at boat ramps and select locations with designated regional trails. For example, at Graham Oaks Nature Park in Wilsonville, dogs are permitted on-leash on the Ice Age Tonquin Trail because it is a regional trail. Please bring any necessary cleanup materials. Please leave pets at home when visiting a site that does not allow pets.
Seeing-eye dogs or other service animals are permitted at all destinations.
Although Metro doesn’t allow pets at most of our sites, we believe it’s important to invest in parks, trails and natural areas where dogs are allowed, on leash or off. Metro has supported a number of dog-friendly destinations throughout the region with money from the natural areas bond measures that voters approved in 1995 and 2006.
These bond measures designated money – $44 million in the 2006 bond and $25 million in the 1995 bond – to local cities, counties and parks providers to acquire land or make improvements. Voter investments have supported dog-friendly destinations such as Forest Park in Portland, Cook Park in Tigard, Hood View Park in Happy Valley and dozens of other sites.
Read a column about the dogs policy by Dan Moeller, conservation program director at Metro Parks and Nature