Ashland adds to list of parks that will be dog-friendly

Activity-laden Lithia, North Mountain remain off-limits
Parks Commissioner Stefani Seffinger walks Wednesday with Lily through Bluebird Park, the latest park to be designated dog-friendly in Ashland.Julia Moore

Ashland has added downtown's tiny Bluebird Park, the undeveloped Kestrel property on Kestrel Parkway and Glenwood neighborhood park to its list of dog-friendly parks.

Only heavily trafficked Lithia Park, which follows Ashland Creek and has many natural areas, and North Mountain Park, home to a wildlife area and sports fields, remain off-limits to dogs.

For decades, Ashland banned dogs from most developed parks, but parks commissioners have been relaxing restrictions for the past two years.

Ashland had been labeled one of the most dog-unfriendly cities on the West Coast.

Parks Commissioner Stefani Seffinger said the commission on Monday moved to add three additional properties to its list of dog-friendly areas because the Ashland Chamber of Commerce is developing a parks and trails map.

Commissioners likely would have considered adding properties later this fall, but decided to look at the issue earlier so the map could include updated information.

A majority of commissioners previously had been against designating Bluebird Park as dog-friendly because of its small size and proximity to Ashland Creek.

The downtown park sits at the intersection of North Main and Water streets.

Seffinger said dog waste-bag dispensers will help keep Bluebird Park clean. Dogs and their owners will have a place to go in downtown Ashland and can view the creek, she said.

Glenwood Park on Glenwood Street previously was off-limits because it included no paved areas. In a pilot project to ease dog restrictions, commissioners had adopted a rule that leashed dogs stay on paved surfaces or within six feet of such surfaces.

However, they rescinded that rule in May, opening the door for dogs to roam across grassy areas in parks where they're allowed.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department is reminding dog owners to be responsible and obey the laws that are still in place.

Dogs must remain leashed and they are not allowed in any park playground or ball field.

Owners must carry a means to pick up dog waste at all times or use bags available through Woof Waste dispensers set up around town.

Those who do not pick up after their dogs risk being cited, parks officials said.

To view an updated list and maps of dog-friendly parks, open spaces and undeveloped properties, see www.ashland.or.us/DogFriendly or stop by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Office in upper Lithia Park, at 340 S. Pioneer St.

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.


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