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State parks may become dog-friendlier

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State parks would become more dog-friendly under a series of proposed policy changes being considered by the Maryland Park Service.

The proposals are now open to public comment, which you can do by clicking here.

To see the full list of changes, park by park, click here.

Under the proposed changes, dogs will be allowed on some of the trails, picnic areas, campgrounds and day use areas from which they were previously banned.

At Gunpowder Falls, for instance, the proposals call for pets being allowed year-round in Dogwood section of the Hammerman area, and in the entire Hammerman area from October 1 to April 30.

“The proposed pet policy changes were developed with consideration for the opinions and perspectives of park staff and visitors who have contacted us about this specific issue over the years,” the Park Service said. “We also reviewed pet policies employed by similar parks and recreational facilities in Maryland and in other states.

“As part of the overall policy, park managers will retain the discretion to prohibit pets from certain facilities within areas where pets are allowed (e.g. visitor centers, playgrounds). Service animals will still be allowed in all areas open to their owners. Current regulations requiring that all pets be leashed and owners clean up after their pets will remain in effect.”

The state is also accepting snail-mailed comments. Send them to:

Pet Policy Comments
Maryland Park Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-3
Annapolis, MD 21401

Public comments will be accepted until November 30, 2009.

Comments

Comment from Anne’n'Spencer
Time November 12, 2009 at 9:48 am

Wow, it’s about time! The changes may not be all we would want, but they’re a step in the right direction. It’s been very difficult to camp in and enjoy the state parks here with a dog in your family. Those of us who live here should make our opinions known.

(In the meantime, if you’re looking for dog-friendly–actually dog-welcoming–state parks, look no further than right next door in West Virginia.)

I’m going to start planning a picnic or two at Cunningham Falls.

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