Montgomery County has five public dog parks and only one in the Bethesda area, which is causing some residents and at least one councilmember to pursue additional facilities like it near to or inside the Beltway.

Cabin John Dog Park, part of Cabin John Regional Park (10900 Westlake Dr.), is the closest public dog park to the county’s urban areas, where Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) has argued a growing population of families and others with dogs need more facilities.

At a Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting today, Montgomery County Parks officials presented their 2012 Park Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. In it is a recommendation for 12 new dog parks (or 24 acres of dog park) by 2022.

A Parks official told the committee those would likely go inside the Beltway in areas such as Bethesda or Silver Spring, where Ervin is pushing for a dog park.

Parks staff discussed an “urban dog park,” which in a smaller available downcounty park space would operate differently than the Cabin John or Wheaton Parks, both located within wide open Regional Parks.

A resident at the hearing suggested the idea of opening up County parks to dogs without leashes before 9 a.m., as is the case in New York City’s Central Park.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park said the County’s dog park permitting regulations can be obtrusive. Permits are required for the use of all dog parks managed by M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks.

A Parks survey of need included in the PROS Plan showed dog parks at No. 11, behind facilities including indoor swim centers, natural and hard surface trails and natural areas.

Flickr photo by yakfur