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Welcome to “Dog Island”

After spending years taking my dogs to the Outer Harbor, Delaware Park, and The Barkyard, I’ve finally decided that I’m going to spend more time driving to the Ellicott Creek Bark Park (23 minutes from my house). My wife and I have taken our dogs there in the past, but due to the convenience of time and travel, I tend to stick closer to home. No longer.

This morning’s trip to Ellicott Creek Bark Park with my friend resulted in a quality puppy-playtime experience that cannot be matched. Delaware Park offers no place to let the pups romp (legally) off-leash. The Barkyard at LaSalle Park is nice because it’s a quick fix for a dog meet-up, but as far as dog parks go, it doesn’t have a lot going for it (hopefully that will drastically change with the highly anticipated Imagine LaSalle park improvements that will soon be underway).

As for Ellicott Creek Bark Park, it’s top-notch. It’s got everything that a person and a dog could need (or want). To start, it’s an island “created” and “curated” for dogs. That means that there’s no way that they can run off, or get lost, or get into much trouble (unless they are long-distance swimmers).

Here’s the routine: After parking your car and getting the dog(s) situated, you walk across a bridge to get the island. Once there, the dogs pass through a sally port (ensuring no sneaky escapees).

Once you’re on the island, you’re in the clear. Since it’s surrounded by water, there are plenty of places for dogs to refresh. While they are wading/swimming/frolicking, their owners chat on the shoreline.

For those who are not feeling social, there’s plenty to take in, including the ruins of a small castle-like building, a dog totem pole, birdhouses, artsy surprises, a children’s playground, a swing, a small book library, grilling stations, rentable shelters, maintained meadow areas (MMAs), benches… the list goes on and on.

It would be great to see a food operation submit a proposal for this – it appears to be vacant at the moment

The pros:

  • It’s great for both people and dogs – the trails make for great walking
  • It’s all off leash
  • The dogs can’t escape
  • There are plenty of dogs to play with from dawn to dusk – seven days a week
  • Water access
  • Bathrooms
  • Shady trees
  • Clean – it seems as if most people are respectful… they don’t litter, and they pick up the dog droppings
  • We didn’t run into any aggressive dogs – there’s so much space that it’s easy to avoid dogs if need-be


  • Check the Ellicott Island Bark Park website to see if there are warnings about algal blooms (mid to late summer)
  • Not sure about ticks (they are everywhere these days) – so inspect your dogs when they get home
  • The dogs can get muddy – I didn’t see a dog washing station (not imperative, just a suggestion)

As you can see, the pros certainly outweigh the cons. I wish there was something like this closer to my house, but it’s worth the trip.

I’m planning on heading out to this “dog island” a couple of times a week, from here on out. There’s nothing else like it in the area, from what I gather. I look forward to many more dog outings, because right now I have got two pups underfoot that have not budged since they got home – they ran and swam their tails off, which makes for a nice relaxing “rest of the day.”

Pay a visit: Friends of Ellicott | See bylaws | Instagram

Ellicott Island Bark Park | 10 Creekside Drive | Tonawanda, NY 14228

Community-Updated Park Conditions: Tweet at #barkparkupdates to help update everyone! Be sure to scroll down for latest news.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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