Dog Parks Lead Growth in U.S. City Parks

April 15, 2015
Washington D.C.

Off-leash dog parks are growing faster than any other type of park in America's largest cities, The Trust for Public Land announced today in releasing a new report on city park systems.

Portland has 5.4 dog parks per 100,000 residents, ranking it number one nationally on a per capita basis. Norfolk, Va., is second, followed by Madison, Wis., Henderson, Nev., and Las Vegas.

The number of off-leash dog parks grew 6% last year and is up 20% in the past five years, according to the 2015 City Parks Facts report, now available at www.tpl.org/cityparkfacts.

"Across America, city parks are going to the dogs-in a good way," said Adrian Benepe, Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land. "People in cities really love their dogs and they want places to get them outdoors for exercise, as this report shows."

"In our research, and working closely with the communities we serve providing recreation spaces, we've seen tremendous growth in both dog parks and outdoor adult fitness spaces, which help provide amenities for a wider family dynamic in parks," said Anne-Marie Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for PlayCore. "We're proud to be able to partner with The Trust for Public Land on this important research."

The dog park data in the 2015 City Park Facts report is a part of a detailed compilation of data about parks in the nation's 100 largest cities. The report showed total spending on parks and recreation in those cities rose 2.8% to $6.73 billion in 2014.

The report also ranks other types of parks on a per capita basis. It shows:

  • St. Paul, Minn., has more ball diamonds, followed by Chesapeake, Va., and Minneapolis.
  • Chula Vista, Calif., is first in skateboard parks and Sacramento, Calif., is second.
  • Two Ohio cities, Cleveland and Cincinnati, have the most municipal swimming pools, and Madison, Wis., and Minneapolis have the most beaches.
  • Tulsa, Okla., has more disc golf courses than any other city.
  • Cincinnati has the most nature centers
  • Baton Rouge, La., has the most recreation and senior centers.
  • Washington, D.C., leads all cities in community gardens.