Columbia Parks and Recreation
Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs
Columbia has three fenced dog parks and three other leash-free areas approved by the City Council. Dogs off leash must be under the control of the owner. Dog owners are required by city ordinance to remove droppings from any area visited.
Areas described below are approved as leash-free areas except on established trails. Dogs on an established trail shall be on a leash and reined in to within four feet of the responsible person whenever approaching or being approached by another trail user.
Except for the areas described below, dogs must be on a leash in all city parks and trails.
2500 Chapel Hill Road
The dog park from March to November is an area about five acres in size between the former swimming lake and large fishing lake with fencing on three sides, with the lake serving as the west boundary. Dogs can enjoy playing in the 16-acre fishing lake. Dog park users can park in shelter parking lot. The restroom by the shelter is open April 15 to October 15.
*Due to improvements underway at both TLRA dog parks, availability of the facilities will alternate as work proceeds. One of the two dog parks will be open for use through the construction and re-seeding period.
For the freezing season from December to March, a winter dog park is set up to help safeguard dogs from falling through the lake ice. It is a fenced area about 8 acres in size surrounding the former swimming lake. The former swimming lake is pumped down to a level of about 3 feet, creating a pond with a surface area of about 0.8 acre. The creation of the winter dog park was in response to the Fire Department's request after having been dispatched nine times during the 2008-2009 winter season to rescue dogs that had ventured out onto the large fishing lake and fallen through the ice. Although the restrooms are winterized and closed October 15 to April 15, the Parks and Recreation Department provides a port-a-pot for the winter dog park users.
2799 N. Garth
The 3-acre dog park at Garth Nature Area is fenced all around and has a pond and picnic tables. Parking is available and a port-a-pot is on site. A permanent restroom facility is on the list of projects to be funded by the 2010 Park Sales Tax Ballot and is tentatively scheduled for Fiscal Year 2014, pending the public hearing process and City Council approval. Dog owners may also enjoy taking their dogs on leash for a walk on the 1.6 miles of wetland trails nearby or getting on the 4.8-mile Bear Creek Trail.
5009 Aztec Blvd.
Indian Hills Park has a 1.5-acre fenced dog park on the west side of the park off the parking lot. There are restrooms nearby, which are open April 15 to October 15. The dog park was part of the improvements to Indian Hills Park completed in 2011 that were funded by the 2005 Park Sales Tax Ballot.
2011 Old 63 South
Dogs have almost 200 acres to roam in this beautiful nature area. This park has woods, open fields, bluffs, and Grindstone Creek running through the middle of the property. However, dog owners must keep their off-leash dogs away from the Hinkson Creek Trail that also runs through the property. There is a parking lot off of Old 63 South and a port-a-pot on site. A permanent restroom facility is on the list of projects to be funded by the 2010 Park Sales Tax Ballot and is tentatively scheduled for Fiscal Year 2014, pending the public hearing process and City Council approval.
Dogs have about 70 acres to run leash free in the Bear Creek Nature Area located on the north end of Cosmo Park. However, dog owners must keep their off-leash dogs away from the Bear Creek Trail and Rhett's Run Mountain Bike Trail that also run through the property. Park users can access this nature area from Skate Park parking lot.
2701 Forum Blvd. or 2500 Chapel Hill Road
Hinkson Woods Conservation Area Map
The Hinkson Woods Conservation Area is owned and managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. However, it has been designated as one of the public leash-free dog areas in Columbia. This 70-acre tract in southwest Columbia has about 30 acres of forest land, while the remainder is open grasslands. To access this area, park either at the MKT Forum Blvd trail access or at the Twin Lakes Recreational Area. Follow the MKT Trail west of Twin Lakes to the Hinkson Woods sign. The MKT Trail can be accessed from Twin Lakes by following the trail around fishing lake. Individuals should keep their dog on leash until entering the Hinkson Woods Conservation Area.
(Dog Park Etiquette signs are posted at City of Columbia dog parks)
May 31, 2012
Help a shelter dog get some much needed exercise and fresh air through the Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound program. Find out more in the March-July 2012 issue of the Leisure Times.
May 16, 2011
A new dog park has been completed at Indian Hills Park located at 5009 Aztec Blvd. Dogs can run leash free in this fenced 1.5-acre area that can be accessed from the parking lot on the west side of the park.
November 2, 2010
The Park Sales Tax passed with 64% voting in favor. Included in the 2010 Park Sales Tax funding is $250,000 for improvements to Twin Lakes Park and $215,000 for trailhead restrooms that serve the leash-free areas at Garth and Grindstone Nature Areas.
October 14, 2010
About 30 people gathered for the Twin Lakes Recreation Area interested parties meeting held on October 14. Park users viewed plan proposals and offered their input. Funding for improvements to the park is identified as one of the 2010 Parks Sales Tax projects. The proposed improvements to Twin Lakes Recreation Area will go through the City Council process, which will also include a public hearing on the project.
September 30, 2010
Parks and Recreation will host an interested parties meeting at Twin Lakes Recreation Area to discuss future improvements to the dog park, as well as improvements to Little Mates Cove. The meeting will be held at 6:00pm, October 14, at the Twin Lakes Shelter, Twin Lakes Recreation Area, 2500 Chapel Hill Road, Columbia, MO. Click here to view the draft plan.
April 13, 2010
On Tuesday, April 13, at the Twin Lakes Shelter, park planners held a meeting to evaluate how the winter dog park worked and discussed long range improvements. Approximately 12 people were in attendance. Topics that were brought up included improvements to the winter dog park area including grading, turf establishment, "mud free" entry ways and the inclusion of other amenities such as benches and shade for park users. Other than that, most users felt that the winter dog park accomplished the established goals of providing a safe winter place for dogs. Park staff is currently working on many of the suggested improvements.
Other concerns expressed by those that attended the meeting were that the original dog park is getting such high use that it is destroying the turf. Park planners discussed the only way to improve the turf is by closing the original dog park in either late September or early October so that turf establishment would have appropriate weather to germinate. The current original dog park is only closed December, January and February and it is impossible to establish turf during this time period. The discussion was to close it earlier in 2010 so that new seeding would have a chance to establish prior to the winter. This is a temporary solution only to be considered due to the request of dog owners.
Other discussion included the future of the Little Mates Cove swimming lake and it's impact on the winter dog park; increasing the size of the dog park, capturing more land to the east; a perimeter lake trail and impact on the original dog park; lake improvements ranging from dredging to even draining and changing the size and shape of the large fishing lake. These topics were explored only as a brainstorming session and not to indicate any plans whatsoever. There are not any attempts to close or restrict use other than the short term plans to help improve the turf. Prior to any changes being made, many more public planning meetings will be held.
On any major physical improvements to parks and facilities, the Parks & Recreation Department prides itself on public input and responding to the concerns of the citizens, plus prior to any funds being spent on capital improvements, a public hearing before the City Council must occur and these are usually preceded by many public meetings.
Finally a list of proposed "Dog Park Etiquette" was presented to those in attendance. These rules were supported and even some comments about making them official rules and regulations were discussed. The proposed rules as presented at the April 13 meeting included:
Park planning staff will continue to accept additional comments on the rules. It is anticipated that a final decision on the rules and regulations for the dog park will be made following the completion of the Indian Hills Dog Park, later this summer or early fall.
November 16, 2009
Modifications to the Twin Lakes Dog Park Operations (Implemented after 10/28/ 09 mtg):
October 28, 2009
The following items were discussed at the dog park public planning meeting held on October 28, 2009.