The 26-acre Runway Dog Exercise Area is considered, by some, to be the “best and largest dog park in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin," and, well, this is a country where saying that means a lot. Milwaukee County, in fact, has four areas defined as “combined areas for all dogs,” which means the large Woof and the smaller Woof romp together at Bay View, Currie, Granville, and Roverwest.
Then they have three parks that have a general territory for all dogs with a special fenced area for small dogs. Not only that, but these areas are highly organized from a very canine point of view and funded by dog licensing so that the areas are maintained and cared for.
Like going to school, you have to fill out an application with the county to ensure your dog is licensed and has proof of rabies shots and other required vaccinations. Bring your dog to these parks without proper paperwork on file and the correct park use tags properly displayed, and you could get fined by the county.
As such, being a proactive-type neighborhood, the county has a variety of options on the fees to fit your demographic status. Permits include an annual fee of $25, but it drops to $15 for seniors, 60 years of age or older, and persons with a disability. Additional dogs are $10 each. Replacement tags are $20. A daily pass is $5. If you are not a Milwaukee County resident, the fees are higher.
The Runway Dog Park site, specificity, is known for having plenty of space, a few muddy spots on a seasonal basis, a nice, big hill to climb and two basic trails. These trails include the Southwest and Southeast Loops, which are a half a mile and a quarter mile long, respectively. There is also the three-quarter mile outer loop for those with slightly more ambition.
There are waste barrels and bad dispensers available, a portable toilet on-site, and parking, which is located at 1214 E. Rawson Avenue. This is also a place that gets Five Woofs from a lot of dog owners. “TONS of dishes for water along the way,” says one online review, "but you have to tote your own water to put something in those dishes." “Everyone is very respectable and dogs are well behaved,” says someone else, "but make sure you check for ticks on the way home."
The fences are sound and cordon off most of the swampy areas, but some dogs – well, you know dogs will be dogs. Some try to gate-crash, while others cannot understand why that muddy section needs to be avoided, anyway. In effect, Runway Dog Park is a huge backyard, well fenced and well-appreciated. At 26-acres, it seems to be making a lot of dogs very happy.