Where Can I Take My Dog On United States Government Lands?

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Post by Guests » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:45 am

Where Can I Take My Dog On United States Government Lands?

Wherever you travel for outdoor adventure chances are good that you will find yourself with your dog on land owned by the federal government at some point. Every state in the Union has at least one national park or forest or shoreline or wildlife refuge beckoning summer adventurers. With that mind here is a quick primer on what to expect when taking your dog to our national lands.

National Parks

As a general rule, dogs in national parks are welcome to go "anywhere a car can go."
This means your dog can hike along roadways and walk around parking lots. In
most parks dogs can also go in picnic areas and stay in campgrounds. Occasionally
dogs will be permitted on short trails around a Visitor Center or a campground.
Two of the best national parks to hike with your dog are Acadia National Park in
Maine and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. If you are traveling in Canada this
summer, you will find most of their national parks extremely dog-friendly.

National Monuments

These parks are a notch below national parks in terms of prestige and are a mixed
bag for active dog owners. Some, like Dinosaur National Monument or White Sands
National Monument, allow dogs on most trails while others, Devil's Tower or Cedar
Breaks for instance, ban canine hikers from all trails.

National Forests

National forests, under the stewardship of the Department of Agriculture and not
the Department of the Interior like national parks, offer the meatiest hiking
opportunities for dog owners. Dogs are permitted on most national forest trails,
although access can sometimes be remote. Many times national forest lands
surround national parks so you can get your dog on a trail after being cooped up
when visiting there.

National Grasslands

These parks are cousins of national forests and you can expect to have your dog
accompany you on your hike. Hiking opportunities are limited, however, as there
typically aren't many trails in a national grassland.

National Recreation Areas

As the name implies, these lands are managed to maximize public use - for humans
and dogs. Many trails in national recreation areas are open to off-road vehicles,
mountains bikes, and horses. These types of trails will invariably be open to dogs as
well. You can expect to find good canine hikes in almost any national recreation
area. Do your research, however, as many national recreation areas are developed
primarily for boating and fishing.

National Seashores and Lakeshores

Dogs are seldom allowed on trails at a national seashore but happily most (the
southeastern national seashores are an exception) allow dogs on the beach year-
round. National lakeshores are good bets for canine hikers as dogs are allowed on
many trails in these parks along the Great Lakes.

National Wildlife Refuges
Although these lands are managed primarily for the protection of birds and animals,
most have trail systems ideal for short day hikes. Expect your leashed dog to be
welcome at most of the more than 500 national wildlife refuges in America.

National Historical Parks

These parks are hidden gems for canine hikers. There are few bans on dogs in
national historical parks. In addition to learning a thing or two about American
history, these parks often feature interesting hiking: the rolling hills of eastern
Pennsylvania in Valley Forge Historical Park, the mountains of Harpers Ferry
Historical Park, the wild Potomac River of the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical
Park to name but a few. National Battlegrounds are also good places to get out and
explore with your dog.

National Trail Systems

The United States Congress has designated more than 900 trails as "National Trails."
Such trails can be recognized as Historic Trails for their significance to our heritage,
as National Recreation Trails or as National Scenic Trails. The most famous of the
National Scenic Trails, that must be 100 miles long, are the Appalachian Trail and
the Pacific Crest Trail that crosses the spine of the Pacific Cascade Mountains from
Canada to Mexico. National trails often include local and even private land and
while dogs are often welcome throughout, check before setting off on a multi-day
adventure to make sure your dog can legally complete the trek.

Copyright 2006

I am the author of over 20 books, including 8 on hiking with your dog and the widely praised The Canine Hiker's Bible. As publisher of Cruden Bay Books, we produce the innovative A Bark In The Park series of canine hiking books found at hikewithyourdog.com During the warm months I lead canine hikes as tour leader for hikewithyourdog.com tours, leading packs of dogs and humans on hiking adventures. Tours, ranging from one-day trips to multi-day explorations, visit parks, historical sites and beaches. My lead dog is Katie, a German Shepherd- Border Collie mix, who has hiked in all of the Lower 48 states and is on a quest to swim in all the great waters of North America - web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Katies%20Blog/Katies%20Quest.html

I am currently building a hikewithyourdog.com tours trailer to use on our expeditions and its progress can be viewed at web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Teardrop%20Trailer/Building%20A%20Tour%20Trailer.html


Post by Guest » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:29 pm

Wow, your post makes mine look feelbe. More power to you!


Post by Guest » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:37 am

Wonderful explanatoin of facts available here.

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