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Rover Report: Off-Leash News and Views

As dog-walking weather returns to the Bay Area, so do our occasional reports on the status of local off-leash opportunities. Dog play areas (DPAs) are under discussion in several East Bay communities, and we’re keeping an ear cocked for the release of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Supplement Dog Management Plan.


The new year saw another new twist in Oakland’s 10-year effort to bring a DPA to the Lake Merritt neighborhood. At a City Council meeting on Feb. 5, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan again declined to break the council’s 4-4 tie vote on whether or not to allow a new DPA at Astro Park, near the intersection of MacArthur Blvd. and Lakeshore Ave. Quan instead asked the council to delay the vote until April 15, when the city is expected to present a new design for an alternate lakeside DPA site at Snow Park, about half a mile away. Quan says the Snow Park alternative has received support from opponents of the proposed DPA at the Astro Park site and also from the pro-DPA Oakland Dog Owners Group (ODOG). Lake Merritt Dog Park supporters are urged to attend an April 10 meeting to give input on the design elements for a Snow Park DPA. To learn more or get involved, visit or email


Dog park fans in Dublin are awaiting the results of the city’s 2013 Community Survey on Parks, a public opinion survey created by city staff to learn how the community feels about park priorities and the possibility of developing a third DPA in Dublin. The City Council has deemed the dog park study a key initiative this year. Dublin currently maintains the 2-acre Dougherty Hills Dog Park for full-size dogs and a quarter-acre play area for small dogs at Bay Commons, but locals believe these DPAs are too crowded. Bay Woof will keep readers posted on the results of the survey, which ran through February.


The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is reviewing its ban on off-leash dogs following a request from a resident of the East Avenue Park neighborhood, who told the district’s directors that the 30-acre East Avenue Park is safer for off-leash dogs than HARD’s four existing DPAs. The issue has been referred to HARD’s Program, Policy, and Public Relations Committee for further review.

San Francisco/Marin

Don’t forget to bark your mind during the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s (GGNRA’s) public comment period on the new Supplemental Dog Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, now planned for release later this spring. For background, check out Bay Woof’s story on this issue at, and keep a nose on the proceedings at While the park is developing the new regulation for dog walking in GGNRA, no changes will be made to the status of the areas of the park currently open to on leash and/or voice control dog walking. For a listing of GGNRA areas where dog walking is permitted, visit