Bozeman, Montana's Centennial Park is an open lawn space with a few benches, walking paths, and a playground area that allows off-leash romps for your woof from 5 AM to 9 AM every day. Centennial Park also has picnic tables, enough open grass to stretch your legs, and a dog station. Given the early hours, and the lack of plumbing so dogs can drink, the off-leash time at this park has been set up with local residents in mind.
But it is still an added luxury for any Woof who likes to run a little. This is a small gem of a city park, only two and a half acres, bordered by residential neighborhoods, so it is a great playground if you have control of your dog. The early hours are also the result of no fencing at this park. The hours are intended to have off-leash dogs back on their leashes by the time the city roads get busy with early morning commuters.
Still, this is Bozeman, which sits in the breadbasket of one of the most scenic states in the country. Montana is one isolated green valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains after another. Drive from one gorgeous valley to another – and just turn around and do it again. Bring Woof and a fly rod and you are practically in heaven. Many cities say they are “pet-friendly,” but Bozeman takes a proactive approach.
The city's website tells you where the dog parks are; there are eight in Bozeman, some of them fenced, and also tells you why you should bring Woof to a dog park. Among the reasons listed: Puppies and adult dogs have a safe(r) enclosed place to play. Enclosed dog parks allow dogs to romp without annoying the local community residents, joggers or small children. “A well-exercised dog is a healthier and happier dog,” according to Bozeman.
There are rules, of course, which the city lists under the heading “Tips for Dog Park Etiquette.” These are standard dog park guidelines: Follow park rules, clean up after your dog, don't bring aggressive dogs or dogs in heat, no tearing after the wildlife and keep your dog under voice command. Furthermore, “Do not bring toys that dogs could fight over,” the city advises. Yes, leave Woof's favorite knotted rope toy at home or their could be trouble.