There are very few places my dogs are allowed off leash: in my fenced backyard and at my parent's place on Lake Anna. That's just about it — two places. Call me a worry-wart. Call me a rule-follower. Call me whatever you want, but I'm not comfortable taking the chance that they'll take off after a deer, get lost, get hit by a car, or find an unfriendly dog and get into a fight. All of those possibilities have dire consequences — any one of those consequences could be the end of my dog. That's not a chance I'm willing to take, no matter how "liberating" it would be for my dog.
The picture on the left was taken when we went camping with the dogs. Notice the long leashes — both dogs are safely contained at our campsite on 30 foot cotton leashes. They can wander, but they can't go far. And they can't get into any serious trouble.
Some of my clients have fearful dogs, aggressive dogs, and unfriendly dogs. Some are unfriendly to people, while others are unfriendly toward other dogs (no matter how pleasant and friendly the other dog or other person is). I'm always shocked when they tell me they let their dog off-leash, knowing that their dog could cause damage to another person or dog, and knowing their dog doesn't have a good recall. That's asking for trouble.
The common thought that all these people have is a dangerous one: "We go to very remote areas of the park, trail, etc. where no one is." No one except every other person with a dog who either won't come when called or who isn't friendly to other people or other dogs. So now, not only are they doing something inherently dangerous to begin with, but they're increasing the chances that they're going to come upon another dog just like theirs – one who won't come when called, or worse, who will get into a fight with their dog.
It's just not worth it. What if your dog runs off? What if he starts a fight with another dog? Or is attacked by another dog? Or bites a person? Or gets hit by a car? Or gets quilled by a porcupine? (That really happened to a friend of mine who has great recall on his dogs, but he didn't see the porcupine until it was too late…).
So there really isn't a safe way to let your dog off leash unless you're in a fenced area. The consequences are simply too deadly. And it only takes one time for your dog to lose it's life. Just not worth it to me.