Potatoes are a root vegetable. If you find that you and your dog’s roots are deeply planted in your couch, it may be time to seek an afternoon of nature. There are a variety of public parks in Auburn which provide dogs with places to exercise and interact at no cost. These public dog-friendly parks include Kiesel Park, Ag Heritage Park and Town Creek Park.

Kiesel Park, Auburn’s largest park, is open to the public every day. Located at 520 Chadwick Ln, the park includes a pavilion, a garden, a pond, a 2-¼ mile walking trail and an Off-Leash Dog Area.

The Off-Leash Dog Area is the main feature for dog owners. It includes a playground and obstacle course and two fenced-in areas that separate large and small dogs by owner preference.

Kiesel Park encourages responsible dog ownership. From leash rules to rules about dogs needing vaccination tags, the fenced-in area has eight rules to ensure enjoyment for all owners.

Tyler Nelms, an active user of Kiesel Park, appreciates this encouragement of responsibility. 

“My dog, Kovu, and I frequent the nature trails and Fenced-In Dog Area at Kiesal Park,” he said. “It’s a clean, safe and friendly environment that we can both enjoy.”

All dogs must be on leashes or controlled by voice command if they’re not in the Off-Leash Dog Area.

Ag Heritage Park is a collective venture of the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Agricultural Alumni Association. Located at the southwest corner of Samford Avenue and Donahue Drive, the park is always open to the public. This dog-friendly environment of approximately 30 acres includes the red barn, Alfa pavilion and all surrounding land.

Student Recruiter and Alumni Relations Coordinator Amanda Martin, thinks the park provides a perfect location for owners to bring their dogs for an afternoon of fun.

“There is plenty of green space for your pup to run and play, but the best part is the pond,” she said. “Watching the dogs splash in and out of the pond is not only fun for your furry friends, but also for you to sit and relax at the picnic tables while your dog has his day in Ag Heritage Park.”

With the various resources that Ag Heritage Park provides, it is important that dog owners are courteous of other park goers.

“The gates to the park are almost always open, we just ask dogs and their owners to please be respectful of utilizing the space when any events are going on within the pavilion or other main areas of the park,” Martin said.

It is essential that dog owners maintain control over their dog since there is no leash requirement. There are eight picnic tables placed in the green space around the pond for leisure, multiple waste disposal units to help maintain the cleanliness of the park and a disc golf course for recreation.

According to The City of Auburn’s website, Town Creek Park is another public park in Auburn located at 1150 S Gay St. With more than 95 acres of land, this park boasts nature and bike trails, a dairy farm, a pond, a creek, a pavilion, a restroom area and a fenced-in dog park. The dog park is located to the right of the restrooms along the tree line.

 Mary Helen Wilson, a pre-vet student at Auburn University takes her 13-year-old retriever, Kelli, to visit the park on a weekly basis.

“I’ve been coming here since it opened last April,” she said. “The park is very accessible and provides many amenities.”

The fenced-in area includes park benches, a dog waste dispenser and a water fountain with a pet bottle filler.

Kiesel Park, Ag Heritage Park and Town Creek Park are all dog-friendly environments that encourage owners to transform their four-legged friends and leave the couch potato behind. After all, paws were made for walking!

For more information about Kiesel Park or Town Creek Park, contact the Parks and Recreation department's administrative office at (334) 501-2930. More information on Ag Heritage Park can be found on the Auburn College of Agriculture website, ag.auburn.edu/heritagepark/.