The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission is hosting a community forum about the parks department's restrictive policy that keeps dogs out of most developed parks.
The forum begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, in Pioneer Hall, 73 Winburn Way, across from Lithia Park.
Parks officials said the conflict between those who want dogs in parks and those who don't want to encounter dogs is increasing annually.
"We are hoping for a large turnout of people with views on whether or not dogs should be allowed in parks, and which parks should or should not include dogs," said Parks Commission Chairman Mike Gardiner.
Dogs are not allowed in Lithia Park or Ashland's neighborhood parks, but they are allowed at the Dog Park, on many trails and in many parks that are undeveloped or in wooded areas.
Dog owners are often asked to remove their dogs from Lithia Park and other park facilities. There are several reasons dogs are excluded from parks, including sanitation, protection of flora and fauna, and concerns for others' safety, parks officials said.
At the same time, there seem to be more people who own dogs in town and who visit Ashland with dogs, parks officials said.
"All those people are looking for safe, fun places to take their dogs," said Parks Director Don Robertson.
He said one of the most frequently asked questions heard by parks workers is, "Where can I take my dog?"
Current dog-friendly park facilities in Ashland include:
- Hald-Strawberry Park
- Siskiyou Mountain Park
- Oredson-Todd Woods
- Cottle Property
- Liberty Street Access
- Bear Creek Greenway
- Granite Street property
- Burnson property
- Lawrence property
- Ashland Dog Park
- On the roadway of South Pioneer Street as it winds through Lithia Park
A map of dog-friendly areas can be found online at www.ashland.or.us/dogfriendly or in a brochure distributed at the Ashland Parks & Recreation office, located at 340 S. Pioneer St. in upper Lithia Park.
For information, call 541-488-5340.