Duluth dog parks still young but growing

Just 10 years ago dogs didn't have a park to call their own in Duluth. Today, however, the Twin Ports' four-legged friends have three dog parks to play in -- with a fourth one coming in the near future.

"Trutta" (left), a golden doodle, owned by Lisa Post of Duluth, plays with "Agate," a mixed breed owned by Curtis Cline, also of Duluth, at the Jean Duluth Dog Park Saturday morning. (Bob King /

Just 10 years ago dogs didn’t have a park to call their own in Duluth. Today, however, the Twin Ports’ four-legged friends have three dog parks to play in - with a fourth one coming in the near future.

Denette Lynch, a local dog-park advocate, is largely responsible for the dog parks in Duluth. She has submitted several proposals for dog parks and even pays for several of the amenities found at the parks. Lynch said she’s very proud of the status of all three parks in Duluth, not just because they’re a place for dogs to socialize, but for their owners too.

“The dog parks are a real melting pot of people,” Lynch said. “People are spending time together there and it’s really cool that the parks are important to them.”

The oldest dog park in town is Keene Creek Park located in West Duluth just off Interstate 35 at 63rd Avenue West and Bristol Street. Keene Creek opened as a dog park in 2006.

It was eight more years until Observation Park opened as a dog park at 914 W. Third St. It still remains the smallest dog park in town at just about a quarter acre, but its central location makes it convenient for many locals.


Duluth’s newest dog park, Jean Duluth Dog Park at 3567 Riley Road, opened in August. Lisa Luokkala, project coordinator for Duluth Parks and recreation, said that this location has received nothing but praise since it opened.

“It’s been very well-received and we haven’t had any complaints so far,” she said.

Beth Porter said she brings her lab to the Jean Duluth park almost every day after she gets home from work.

“It’s a really wonderful place,” she said. “It’s large, they’ve got water bowls, doggy bags, tires for the dogs to run through. I can’t think of anything more to add.”

Lynch said that while many amenities around town are seasonal, one of the nice things about dog parks is that they’re open all year. Because of that though, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to maintain them.

“We’re doing little tweaks on a very regular basis,” she said.

There are plans to fix a trail leading to Keene Creek Park as well as add clean water there, to bring new benches to Observation and add lighting at Jean Duluth Dog Park.

In addition to those small tweaks, there is one much larger change regarding dog parks in town. A fourth park is planned to open in Gary-New Duluth as part of the revitalization of the GND Recreation Area. Lynch said that she is hoping the park is finished sometime next summer, however other projects may push it back to 2018.


Lynch also hopes to convert some outdoor hockey rinks in town to dog parks when there’s no ice. She said that many people already take their dogs to the rinks during the warmer months, so she is confident they would only get more use if they were to be official dog parks.

Lynch said since boards are already in place, there wouldn’t be a lot of work needed to make these conversions. They would just add some things like water bowls, toys and plastic bags.

One of the only downsides to the dog parks is that people often take them for granted, Lynch said.

“People use parks but don’t like to think about how they were paid for,” she said.

The dog parks in Duluth are paid for by grants, fundraising and donations. If you’d like to donate to Duluth dog parks visit .


Dog parks in Duluth


  • Keene Creek Park

    • Bristol Street and 63rd Avenue West

    • Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Bring your own water

  • Observation Park

    • 914 W. Third St.

    • Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Water available at the park

  • Jean Duluth Dog Park

    • 3567 Riley Road

    • Open daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    • Bring your own water

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads