How San Mateo County is moving towards opening more parks to dogs

by Linda Hubbard on August 26, 2019

Compared to other counties in the Bay Area, San Mateo is very restrictive when it comes to welcoming dogs to parks and open spaces. That is the result of an ordinance that goes back 100 years and was only recently amended, explained Carla Schoof, a communications specialist with the Parks Department.

The Parks Department had acquired properties from other agencies that allowed dogs on leash, including Pillar Point Bluff and Quarry Park. Dogs were also allowed on segments of the Coastal Trail, including Devil’s Slide Trail and Mirada Surf, and the Bay Trail in Coyote Point.

Earlier this summer, a Dog Pilot Program was started to expand on-leash recreational opportunities in San Mateo County parks for dogs and their owners. Two new locations — Coyote Point Recreation Area (adjacent to Bay Trail) in San Mateo and Junipero Serra Park in San Bruno — were added to the parks mentioned above.

“This came about because of the Dog Work Group, which I was a part of,” said Carla. “We came up with best practices about expanding access and looked at such things as conflict avoidance, pre-existing uses, protection of natural resources, length of leashes and number of dogs per person.

“We realized that the best thing we could do was have staff out on the trails, talking to people and making sure they were following the rules.”

When visiting these locations with your dog, please be sure to:

  • Always keep dogs on leash
  • Scoop the poop
  • No more than 3 dogs per person
  • Keep leash 6 feet or less when near others
  • Keep dogs out of playgrounds and other undesignated areas
  • Leave wildlife and vegetation undisturbed

Throughout the pilot program, San Mateo County park rangers will focus on educating park visitors on the new ordinance and may issue citations for non-compliance.

The Dog Work Group is now in the process of identifying where off leash opportunities might be expanded.

Dog Work Group meetings are held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 400 County Center, 1st Floor, Redwood City from 2:00-3:30 p.m on most first Mondays of a month. Because of Labor Day, the September meeting will take place on Sept. 9.

To provide feedback about expanding on and off leash dog area in San Mateo County Parks, email

Photos by Linda Hubbard (c) 2019; top is on Bay Trail leading to Coyote Point Recreation Area and the second is at Junipero Serra Park.

One Comment

Emile van Sebille August 28, 2019 at 2:03 pm

We should be moving more towards providing a Fort Funston like experience in San Mateo County — I’m sure there’s space _somewhere_ in this county’s 448 square miles that’s NIMBY.

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