ITHACA, NY — If you prefer your days to be dog-free, better stick to The Commons. Stewart Park, the only public park in Ithaca that does not currently allow dogs, may soon change its policy.

On May 26, the Parks Commission voted to recommend that the city’s municipal code be revised to allow on-leash dogs at all parks, including Stewart Park.

The reasoning, as noted in a memo to the Board of Public Works, is that with the completion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, more dogs have been coming through the park to join their owners in hiking the trail.

The memo notes that the rule is often ignored by visitors anyway and is rarely enforced. The Parks Commission has received no canine-related complaints from Stewart Park visitors.

The only real change the city would have to make if this ban were to be lifted would be to provide dog care stations throughout the park to address issues of waste. The Cayuga Waterfront Trail Initiative has offered to provide the stations.

The issue came before Ithaca’s Board of Public Works on Monday, though they did not vote on it yet. If it passes there, it will go to Common Council to make the final decision.

(Featured photo: Stan Stewart on Flickr)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.