Columbia Parks and Recreation
Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs
Note: The following rules and regulations are summaries and clarifications of the City Code of Ordinances, Chapter 17: Parks and Recreation. To view Chapter 17: Parks and Recreation in its entirety, click here. To view the entire City Code of Ordinances, click here.
Park Hours: Unless otherwise posted, city parks and trails are generally open from 6 A.M. to 11 P.M.
|1. General disfiguration and removal||21. Loitering, disorderly conduct|
|2. Injury, removal of natural features||22. Restricted areas|
|3. Climbing trees, monuments, etc.||23. Skating, walking, etc., on ice|
|4. Erection of structures||24. Appropriate clothing|
|5. Restrooms and washrooms||25. Fireworks and explosives|
|6. Discarding refuse and trash||26. Fires|
|7. Water pollution, contamination||27. Intoxicating beverages|
|8. Vehicle operation confined to roads||28. Gambling|
|9. Speed of vehicles||29. Advertising generally|
|10. Parking||30. Vending and peddling|
|11. Swimming and bathing||31. Posting signs|
|12. Boating||32. Hours of operation|
|13. Fishing||33. Closed areas|
|14. Picnic areas||34. Lost and found articles|
|15. Camping||35. Permit|
|16. Games||36. City trails - use by cyclists and dogs|
|17. Horseback riding||37. Confinement of dogs|
|18. Hunting||38. Dog waste in parks|
|19. Interference with permittees||39. Metal detectors|
|20. Exhibition of permit||40. Geocaching and Letterboxing|
2. INJURY, REMOVAL OF NATURAL FEATURES
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to mark, deface, disfigure, injure, tamper with, displace or remove, any building; bridges; tables; benches; fireplaces; railing; paving or paving material; water lines or other public utilities or parts or appurtenances thereof; signs, notices or placards, whether temporary or permanent; monuments; stakes; posts; or other boundary markers, or other structures or equipment, facilities or park property or appurtenances whatsoever, either real or personal.
3. CLIMBING TREES, MONUMENTS, ETC.(a) Trees, shrubbery, lawns. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to damage, cut, carve, transplant or remove any tree or plant or injure the bark, or pick the flowers or seeds of, any tree or plant. Nor shall any person attach any rope, wire, or other contrivance to any tree or plant. A person shall not dig in or otherwise disturb grass areas, or in any other way injure or impair the natural beauty or usefulness of any area.
(b) Removal, excavation of natural resources. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to dig or remove any beach sand, whether submerged or not, or any soil, rock, stones, trees, shrubs or plants, down timber or other wood or materials, or make any excavation by tool, equipment, blasting, or other means or agency, except by specified written permit issued hereunder.
4. ERECTION OF STRUCTURES
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to climb any tree or walk, stand or sit upon monuments, vases, fountains, railings, fences or gun carriages or upon any other property not designated or customarily used for such purposes.
5. RESTROOMS AND WASHROOMS
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to construct or erect any building or structure of whatever kind, whether permanent or temporary in character, or run or string any public service utility into, upon, or across park lands, except for special written permit issued hereunder.
6. DISCARDING REFUSE AND TRASH
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to fail to cooperate in maintaining park restrooms and washrooms in a neat and sanitary condition. No person over the age of four (4) years shall use the restrooms and washrooms designated for the opposite sex.
7. WATER POLLUTION, CONTAMINATION
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to bring or have brought in or to dump, deposit or leave any bottles broken glass, ashes, paper, boxes, cans, dirt, rubbish, waste, garbage, refuse, or other trash on park property. No such refuse or trash shall be placed in any waters in or contiguous to any park, or left anywhere on the grounds thereof, but shall be placed in the proper receptacles where these are provided; where receptacles are not so provided, all such rubbish or waste shall be carried away from the park by the person responsible for its presence, and properly disposed of elsewhere.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to throw, discharge, or otherwise place or cause to be placed in the waters of any fountain, pond, lake stream, bay or other body of water in or adjacent to any park or any tributary, stream, storm sewer, or drain flowing into such waters, any substance, matter or thing, liquid or solid, which will or may result in the pollution, discoloration or contamination of said waters.
9. SPEED OF VEHICLES
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to drive any vehicle on any area except the paved park roads or parking areas or such other areas as may, on occupation, be specifically designated as temporary parking areas by the director.
It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive a vehicle at a rate of speed exceeding that posted.
11. SWIMMING AND BATHING
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to park a vehicle in other than an established or designated parking area, and such use shall be in accordance with the posted directions thereat and with the instructions of any attendant who may be present.
(a) Designated areas. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to swim, bathe or wade in any waters or waterways in or adjacent to any park, except in such waters and at such places as are provided therefore, and in compliance with such regulations as are herein set forth or may be hereafter adopted. Nor shall any person frequent any waters or places customarily designated for the purpose of swimming or bathing, or congregate thereat, when such activity is prohibited by the director upon finding that such use of the water would be dangerous or otherwise inadvisable.
12. BOATING(b) Certain hours. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to frequent any waters or places designated for the purpose of swimming or bathing, or congregate thereat, except between such hours of the day as shall be designated by the director for such purposes for each individual area.
(c) Bath houses. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to dress or undress on any beach, or in any vehicle, toilet or other place, except in such bathing houses or structures as provided for that purpose.
(d) Costume. It shall be unlawful for any person in park to allow himself to be so covered with a bathing suit as to indecently expose his person, or to appear in bathing costume at any place in the parks except within the limits of designated bathing places or areas.
(a) Designated areas. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to bring into or operate any boat, raft or other water craft, whether motor-powered or not, upon any waters, except at places designated for boating by the director. Such activities shall be in accordance with applicable regulations as are now or may hereafter be adopted.
(b) Public docks. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to use the public docks for dockage or other purposes without first making arrangements for such accommodation with the director, who shall assign space and collect reasonable rental charges in conformity with established regulations and rates.
(c) Operations of boats. It shall be unlawful for any person to navigate, direct or handle any boat in such manner as to unjustifiably or unnecessarily annoy or frighten or endanger any person.
(a) Commerce prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to engage in commercial fishing, or the buying or selling of fish caught in any waters.
(b) General prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to fish in any waters, whether fresh or salt, and whether by the use of hook and line, net, trap, or other device, except in waters designated by the director for that use and under such regulations and restrictions as have been or may be prescribed by the director.
(c) Off-shore. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to fish off-shore from the beaches except from such portions thereof as may be staked off and posted therefore, or to at any time fish in any area where bathing is permitted.
14. PICNIC AREAS
(d) Prohibition during closed hours. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to launch, dock, or operate any boat of any kind on any waters between the closing hour of the park at night and the opening hour the following morning, nor shall any person be on, or remain on or in, any boat during the closed hours of the park.
15. CAMPING(a) Use generally. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to picnic or lunch in a place other than those designated for that purpose. The director shall have the authority to regulate the activities in such areas when necessary to prevent congestion and to secure the maximum use for the comfort and convenience of all. Visitors shall comply with any directions given to achieve this end.
(b) Availability. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to violate the regulation that use of the individual fireplaces together with tables and benches follows generally the rule of "first-come, first-served," except in those cases where prior reservations have been made with the director.
(c) Non exclusivity. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to use any portion of the picnic areas or any of the buildings or structures therein for the purpose of holding picnics to the exclusion of other persons, or to use such area and facilities for an unreasonable time if the facilities are crowded, except in those cases where prior reservations have been made with the director.
(d) Duty of picnicker. It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to leave a picnic area before the fire is completely extinguished and before all trash in the nature of boxes, papers, cans, bottles, garbage or other refuse is placed in the disposal receptacles where provided. If no such trash receptacles are available, then refuse and trash shall be carried away from the park area by the picnicker to be properly disposed of elsewhere.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to camp in other than designated areas for organized camping, provided by the director and used by groups of persons under adequate supervision. No person shall set up tents, shacks or any other temporary shelter for the purpose of overnight camping, nor shall any person leave in a park, after closing hours, any movable structure or special vehicle to be used or that could be used for such purpose, such as a house-trailer, camp-trailer, camp-wagon or the like.
17. HORSEBACK RIDING
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to take part in or abet the playing of any games involving thrown or otherwise propelled objects such as balls, stones, arrows, javelins or model airplanes, except in areas set apart for such forms of recreation. The playing of rough or comparatively dangerous games such as football, baseball and quoits is prohibited except in the fields and courts or areas provided therefore Roller skating shall be confined to those areas specifically designated for such pastime.
18. HUNTING; USE OF WEAPONS DANGEROUS TO WILDLIFE
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to ride a horse, except on designated bridle trails. Where permitted, horses shall be thoroughly broken and properly restrained, and ridden with due care, and shall not be allowed to graze or go unattended, nor shall they be hitched to any rock, tree or shrub.
19. INTERFERENCE WITH PERMITTEES
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to use, carry or possess firearms of any description,
or air rifles, spring-guns, bow and arrows, slings or any other forms of weapons potentially inimical to wildlife
and dangerous to human safety, or any instrument that can be loaded with and fire blank cartridges, or any kind
of trapping device. It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot into park areas from beyond the park boundaries.
(b) This section shall not prohibit any person in a park from carrying a concealed firearm if the
person has a valid concealed carry endorsement issued by the Missouri director of revenue under Section
571.094 RSMo or has a valid permit or endorsement to carry concealed firearms, issued by another state or
political subdivision of another state.
(c) This section shall not prohibit any person from participating in any parks and recreation
department archery program or event.
(d) This section shall not prohibit any person from participating in any deer hunting program
established by the city.
20. EXHIBITION OF PERMIT
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to disturb or interfere unreasonably with any person or party occupying any area, or participating in any activity, under the authority of a permit.
21. LOITERING, DISORDERLY CONDUCT
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to fail to produce and exhibit any permit from the director he claims to have upon request of any authorized person who shall desire to inspect the same for the purpose of enforcing compliance with any ordinance or rule.
22. RESTRICTED AREAS
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to sleep or protractedly lounge on the seats, or benches, or other areas; or to engage in loud, boisterous, threatening, abusive, insulting or indecent language; or to engage in any disorderly conduct or behavior tending to a breach of the public peace.
23. SKATING, WALKING, ETC., ON ICE
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to enter an area posted as "Closed to the Public"; nor shall any person use, or abet the use of any area in violation of posted notices.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to go onto the ice on any of the waters, except such areas as are designated as skating fields, and provided a safety signal is displayed.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to appear at any place in other than proper clothing. With the exception of the restricted bathing area, "properly clothed" shall be construed to prohibit the wearing of trunks or clothing that does not cover the upper portion of the body.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to bring, or have in his possession, or set off, or otherwise cause to explode or discharge or burn, any firecrackers, torpedo, rocket, or other fireworks or explosives of inflammable material, or discharge them or throw them into any park area from land or a highway adjacent thereto. This prohibition includes any substance, compound, mixture or article that, in conjunction with any substance or compound, would be dangerous from any of the foregoing standpoints, except under the sponsorship of organized groups and with the permission of the director and/or the city council.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to build or attempt to build a fire except in such area and under such regulations as may be designated by the director. No person shall drop, throw, or otherwise scatter lighted matches, burning cigarettes or cigars, tobacco paper or other flammable material, within any park area or on any highway, road or street abutting or contiguous thereto.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to enter or be in a park while under this influence of intoxicating liquor.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to gamble, or participate in or abet any game of chance.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to announce, advertise or call the public attention in any way to any article or service for sale or hire.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to expose or offer for sale any article or thing, or to station or place any stand, cart, or vehicle for the transportation, sale or display of any such article or thing. An exception is made as to any regularly licensed concessionaire acting by and under the authority and regulation of the director.
It shall be unlawful for any person in a park to paste, glue, tack or otherwise post any sign, placard, advertisement or inscription whatever, or to erect or cause to be erected any sign whatever on any public lands or highways or roads adjacent to a park.
Except for unusual and unforeseen emergencies, parks shall be open to the public every day of the year during designated hours. The opening and closing hours for each individual park shall be posted therein for public information. The parks below are open hours other than the standard of 6 am to 11 pm.
- Albert-Oakland Park, 6 am - 12 am
- Columbia Cosmpolitan Recreation Area, 6 am - 12 am
- Cosmo Skate Park, 6am - dusk
- Dublin Park, 7 am - 11 pm
- Field Park, 7 am - 11 pm
- L. A. Nickell Golf Course, 7 am - dusk
- Lake of the Woods Golf Course, 7am - dusk
- Rothwell Park, 7 am - 11 pm
- Westwinds Park, 7 am - 11 pm
Any section or part of any park may be declared closed to the public by the director at any time and for any interval of time, either temporarily or at regular and stated intervals (daily or otherwise) and either entirely or merely to certain uses, as the director shall find reasonably necessary.
The finding of lost articles by park attendants shall be reported to the director, who shall make every reasonable effort to locate the owners. The director shall also make every reasonable effort to find articles reported as lost.
(a) Required. A Permit shall be obtained from the director before participating in any special use or activity in a park. A list of such uses and activities shall be kept on file in the office of the parks and recreation department.
(b) Application. A person seeking issuance of a permit hereunder shall file an application with the appropriate director. The application shall state:
(1) The name and address of the applicant.
(2) The name and address of the person sponsoring the activity, if any.
(3) The day and hours for which the permit is desired.
(4) The park or portion thereof for which such permit is desired.(c) Standards for issuance. The director shall issue a permit hereunder when he finds:
(5) An estimate of the anticipated attendance.
(6) Any other information which the director shall find reasonably necessary to a fair determination as to whether a permit should be issued hereunder.(1) That the proposed activity or use of the park will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the general public enjoyment of the park.
(2) That the proposed activity and use will not unreasonably interfere with or detract from the promotion of public health, welfare, safety and recreation.
(3) That the proposed activity or use is not reasonable anticipated to incite violence, crime or disorderly conduct.
(4) That the proposed activity will not entail unusual, extraordinary or burdensome expense or police operation by city.
(5) That the facilities desired have not been reserved for other use at the day and hour required in the application.
(d) Appeal. Within five (5) days after receipt of an application, the director shall apprise an applicant, in writing, of his reasons for refusing a permit, and any aggrieved person shall have the right of appeal, in writing, within five (5) days to the city manager, who shall consider the application under the standards set forth in subsection (c) hereof, and sustain or overrule the director's decision within five (5) days. The decision of the city manager shall be final.
36. CITY TRAILS(e) Liability of permittee. The person to whom a permit is issued shall be liable for any applicable ordinances as fully as though the same were inserted in said permits.
(f) Revocation. The director shall have the authority to revoke a permit upon a finding violation of any rule or ordinance, or upon good cause shown.
Definitions and rules of construction. The following definitions and rules of construction apply to this division.
"City trail" means any train maintained by the parks and recreation department for use by pedestrians or cyclists.
"Cycle" means any device, other than a wheelchair, which is propelled by human power and has one or more wheels at least twenty (20) inches in diameter and a frame size of at least fourteen (14) inches.
"Pedestrian" includes any person riding in a wheelchair.
Trail use by cyclists."Wheelchair" means a chair mounted on wheels for use by disabled individuals.
Trail use by dogs.(a) Every person operating a cycle upon a city trail shall ride as near to the right side of the trail as practicable, exercising due care when passing a pedestrian or other cyclist.
(b) Persons operating cycles upon a city trail shall ride single file when passing a pedestrian or other cyclist.
(c) No person shall operate a cycle upon a city trail at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under conditions then existing.
(d) Every person operating a cycle upon a city trail shall give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian or another cyclist.
(e) Every person operating a cycle upon a city trail shall at all times exercise the highest degree of care to avoid colliding with another trail user.
Trail use by pedestrians. Pedestrians on a city trail shall remain as near to the right side of the trail as practicable.
37. CONFINEMENT OF DOGS(a) No person responsible for a dog shall permit the dog to be on any city trail unless the dog is held on a leash. The dog shall be reined in to within four (4) feet of the responsible person whenever it approaches or is approached by another trail user.
(b) No person responsible for a dog shall permit the dog to defecate upon any city trail. It is a specific defense to a charge of violating this section that the person charged immediately removed the deposit and properly disposed of it.
38. DOG WASTE IN PARKS(a) It shall be unlawful for any person keeping, harboring, owning or responsible for a dog to permit the dog to be off of the premises of the person keeping, harboring, owning or responsible for the dog unless the dog is held on a leash by a competent person. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a dog in a vehicle being driven or parked upon a street if the dog is secured in a manner that prevents escape.
(b) It is a defense to a charge of violating this section that the dog involved is a working dog trained to assist disabled individuals and that the dog is under the control of a competent person and obedient to the command of such person.
(c) It is a defense to a charge of violating this section that the dog involved was participating in an organized competition or that the dog involved was engaged in an organized training exercise under the supervision of a person competent to provide such training.
(d) It is a defense to a charge of violating this section that the dog involved is a trained police dog and that the dog is under the control of a competent person and obedient to the command of such person.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any dog in a dog running area established by this
section; provided, that the dog is under the control of a competent person and obedient to the command of such person. The following areas are designated as dog running areas, except that the parks department may designate leash areas within the areas:(1) Grindstone Nature Area - The entire area is approved except established gravel walking trails.
(2) Bear Creek Nature Area, located in Cosmo Park - Area approved except established trails.
(3) Hinkson Woods Natural History Area (off of MKT Trail between Twin Lakes and Scott Blvd.) - Keep dogs on leashes until entering the Hinkson Woods Area, and then run dogs anywhere except established trails.
(4) Bear Creek Nature Area, Garth Avenue access. Area between the trail and creek to the west of the parking lot is available, except parking area and trail.
(5) Twin Lakes Fishing Lake Area, between the swimming and fishing lake, including the lake, from dawn until dusk. Excludes the trails around perimeter of fishing lake and MKT Trail.
(Ord. No. 15070, § 1, 12-2-96; Ord. No. 15228, § 1, 5-19-97)
Please see signs posted at parks or trails for specific maps of the approved dog running areas.
39. METAL DETECTORS(a) No person owning or responsible for a dog shall permit the dog to defecate on any public property or right of way or on any private property other than property owned or leased by the person owning or responsible for the dog.
(b) It is a specific defense to a charge of violating this section that the person charged immediately removed the excrement and properly disposed of it in a sanitary manner.
(c) It is a specific defense to a charge of violating this section that the dog involved is a certified working dog trained to assist disabled individuals and that the person charged has a disability which prevents the individual from removing the excrement and properly disposing of it in a sanitary manner.
(Ord. No. 14881 § 1, 6-17-96; Ord. No. 14903, § 1, 7-15-96)
Parks & Recreation(a) In park open-space areas, metal detectors may be used to find items that are lying on the surface of the ground. Excluded from park open spaces are specific-use areas such as, historical register sites, athletic fields, playgrounds, golf courses and landscape beds. Digging, removal or any damage to the ground surface to find items is not allowed and is prohibited by City Code.
(b) In restricted-use facilities, such as pools and athletic complexes, metal detectors are not allowed except to find a specific lost item. We request that the manager of the facility be notified when the item is lost. Permission to use a metal detector at these facilities will be granted by the manager and will be at a time when the facility is open to the public.
(c) The Parks and Recreation Department requests that all found items be turned in to the Department's Lost and Found location with the purpose of notifying the original owner. If after 30 days, the item is not claimed, it will be returned to the person finding the item.