TOPEKA, KAN. – Shawnee County residents desire an additional dog park and the most preferred location is at Lake Shawnee. These are the top two results from an informal survey conducted by Shawnee County Parks + Recreation. Presently, Hills Bark Park in Gage Park is the county’s only fenced, off-leash dog park. According to the survey, 20 percent of users drive three to five miles to use the dog park and nearly 27 percent of users drive five miles or more.
“With the growth in pet ownership in the United States, off-leash dog parks are the fastest growing segment of urban parks according to the 2019 City Park Facts report,” notes Chris Curtis, SCP+R park planner and project manager.
“We wanted to learn whether Shawnee County residents desire one or more additional dog parks and the survey confirms that residents do support additional off-leash dog parks,” said Chris Curtis, park planner and project manager. He added, “The survey was done to gather information and inform our park planning process going forward.”
In the survey 87 percent of respondents favored adding an additional off-leash dog park in Shawnee County. On the question of preferred location, 32 percent of respondents chose Lake Shawnee. A handful of parks including Family Park, Dornwood Park, Crestview Park, Major Palm Park and Big Shunga Park received a percentage of responses tightly clustered in the 20 percent range. Respondents favored shade, separate areas for small and large animals, benches, restrooms and water features as preferred amenities in a dog park.
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation includes 60 miles of trails, 2,625 acres of parks and 320 annual days of sporting activities. In addition, the department offers recreation programs, educational programs and golf. A combination of tax dollars, user fees and private donations enables Shawnee County Parks and Recreation to offer parks, sporting and aquatic facilities with state-of-the-art features, and beautiful, nationally recognized gardens.