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Ellsworth Park today.Proposed Pilot Urban Dog Park in Ellsworth Park

Dog parks are as much about people as they are about dogs.


On April, 24, 2014 - item #6. Tthe Site Selection Analysis and Revised Concept Drawing for a pilot dog park in Ellsworth Park was presented to and approved by the Montgomery Planning Board . This will be the County's first urban dog park.

From here, the dog park will go into the design phase with M-NCPPC Montgomery Park's Park Development Division construction is estimated to begin in Spring 2015.

You can review previous outreach, presentations, meeting notes and survey results in the Calendar & Meeting Notes section below.

Project Description

In order to meet immediate needs, M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks is proposing a pilot urban dog park in the short term, while we conduct a longer term site selection study. Staff analysis of many sites in the Silver Spring area concluded that a corner of Ellsworth Urban Park (adjacent to Colesville Rd and the Silver Spring Public Library) best meets the criteria for a pilot urban dog park. - Introductory PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 998KB)

Let's Build a Dog Park image #1Background

Part of a new, larger Site Selection Initiative, Urban Dog Parks have been identified as one of the park facilities with the greatest need and demand in areas of high population density by the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan and the 2012 Park Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan.

The facilities with the highest unmet needs include Dog Parks, Community Open Space, Skate Parks and Community Gardens. Staff will identify where there is a lack of these facilities countywide and analyze existing parks and potential future parks that can accommodate them.  Preliminary analysis shows the area inside the Beltway and along the I-270 Corridor has the highest needs.  

Why do we Need Urban Dog Parks?

Dog parks are one of the fastest-growing park amenities in the country. There are now more households with dogs than with kids (43 million and 38 million respectively) making the popularity of dog parks not surprising.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates there are nearly 80 million pet dogs in the United States, 39% percent of all U.S. households own at least one dog.

Dogs stimulate people to get outside, exercise, and connect with other people. Research indicates that people find it easier to talk to each other with a dog as the initial focus, breaking down or circumventing the usual social barriers that inhibit people from talking with strangers.  Dogs can improve their owner’s health by lowering their blood pressure, reducing anxiety and depression. They also provide a sense of responsibility and purpose.

Not only is exercise beneficial to a dog’s health, dogs that are highly socialized and exercise tend to be healthier, happier and less aggressive.

Map of the existing dog parks on parklandExisting Montgomery County Dog Parks

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks currently operates five dog parks . As shown on the map at right, our existing dog parks are located outside of the most densely populated areas of the County (Wheaton Regional Park, Black Hill Regional Park and Ridge Road Recreational Park, Cabin John Regional Park and Olney Manor Recreational Park).

These facilities are destination-based facilities that require dog owners to drive to and from the dog park. Communities are now seeking smaller, more convenient facilities to which they can walk, or at least not drive as far.

Below is a list of the basic features to be considered in the Preliminary Program of Requirements of the site selection process for an urban dog park in Downtown Silver Spring.

Site Selection Criteria

  • Existing parkland
  • Area of high density and walkability
  • Site is underutilized
  • No environmental constraints

Program of Requirements

  • Adequate parking and safety
  • Appropriate distance from residents
  • Minimum size:  +/-10,000 square feet
  • Fencing -  min 5 feet high
  • Double gate entry system
  • Surface – various
  • Seating and shade
  • Landscaping
  • Water fountain and water features
  • Dog waste bags and receptacles
  • Signage and lighting

Let's Build a Dog Park image #2Tell us what you think

The comment period for this project has come to an end. Thank you for your input into this park planning process. There were a number of opportunities for you to provide official input via email, U.S. Mail and our Online comment tool for this project.

Review the Input
  • Summary of email comments - A summary of commments from the public and correspondence from officials via email for this initiative are available .
  • Online comment tool - Review the public input from our online comment tool. Personal information such as names and addresses is not included in the comments summary.

Staff will rely on the web site to keep citizens updated on the Plan. Interested citizens and civic groups are encouraged to become part of our e-mail lists. Public outreach for this project will include a project webpage, Public Meetings, press releases and email campaigns to Homeowner and Civic Associations in the downtown Silver Spring area. We also plan to distribute posters and handouts at park events, veterinary clinics and animal rescue agencies.

We will also use our social media channels like e-newsletters, Facebook, Twitter and the Parks Department Media Center..

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Calendar and Meeting Notes

The calendar will be updated as community meetings and events are planned for this project. Digital copies of the Meeting Notes, Presentations and Planning Board Memos will be attached to each calendar event after it is completed.


Notes and Presentations

Location | Description
Initiate Public Outreach  
Presentation at Silver Spring Citizen Advisory Board Meeting
Introductory PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 998KB)
Public Meeting - October 30
Meeting Invitation (PDF, 235KB)
Public meeting presentation(PDF, 2.5MB)
Public comments (PDF, 295KB)
Survey results (PDF, 180KB )
M-NCPPC - Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
  Revise Concept Drawing  

April 24th

Planning Board Presentation - item #6 of Site Selection Analysis and Revised Concept Drawing - meeting notice ( PDF, 603KB) - planning board memo (PDF file) M-NCPPC - Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Proceed to Implementation / Design and Construction phase - Construction is estimated to begin in Spring 2015. More information will be found at

Previous Dog Park Planning





December 27

Media Notice: Montgomery Parks Eliminates Dog Park Permit Fee



May 10

Planning Board Presentation - Agenda item #11 - Approved
Dog Park Exercise Area Policy Amendments (pdf)

M-NCPPC Regional Office Building Auditorium, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD



Site Selection Committee Report for New Dog Exercise Areas
Fall 2004 Survey of Dog Exercise Areas Report (pdf) | Attachment (pdf)


Adopted DEA (Dog Exercise Area) Policy/Program/Rules

June 27

Planning Board Presentation - Agenda item #17- Approved
Dog Exercise Areas - Staff Recommendations | Attachment | Public Comments

M-NCPPC Regional Office Building Auditorium, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD


Research, Evaluation and Outreach - included MC-DOG, a group of dog owners and the first dog owner umbrella group in the county. They worked closely with the Department of Park and Planning to assist in establishing the first dog exercise areas on Commission-owned public parkland.


Media Center

This is where you will find links to press releases, print articles and community links for your convenience.  If you would like to see additional links added to this site, please contact the Project Coordinator.

  • ONLINE ARTICLE:, Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - Ellsworth Urban Park is site chosen for the Silver Spring dog park
  • ONLINE ARTICLE: Silver Spring Patch, November 07, 2013 - Proposed Dog Park in Silver Spring Could Be Pilot Park for County
  • ONLINE ARTICLE:, Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - Silver Spring’s Ellsworth Park may soon go to the dogs
  • ONLINE ARTICLE: Silver Spring Patch, June 21, 2013 - New Dog Park Proposed in Silver Spring

Contact the Project Coordinator

To submit written comments or request more information, please contact:

Dominic Quattrocchi - | 301-650-4361
M-NCPPC Mongtomery Parks, 9500 Brunett Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20901

back to top - Last update: June 23, 2014