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Dogs in National Forest Campgrounds


I get asked about this quite a bit and I also see problems with it almost every time I go out camping in the forests as well as normal RV parks. Your canine companions traditionally have been welcome in most national forest campgrounds. The few rules that apply to dogs are meant to assure that you and other national forest visitors have an enjoyable outdoor recreation experience.

Good dogs (but not on leashes) - Photo by ThreadedThoughts

Good dogs (but not on leashes) - Photo by ThreadedThoughts

If you are camping with your pet, please practice the following rules:

  • Leave vicious or noisy dogs at home. If they disturb or threaten others, they will not be allowed in public recreation areas and you will be asked to leave.
  • At all waking times, keep your dog on a leash no more than 6 feet long or it must be under physical restrictive control at all times (36CFR2261.14j). That's the law you agree to when you enter the forest. Domestic animals are not allowed to run loose in recreation areas where they can disturb others.
  • It is a good idea to keep you dogs and other pets inside a vehicle or a tent at night.
  • Please consider others if you have pets with you.
  • Do not leave your dog alone. It may whine or bark while you are away. I don't know how many times I hear people say, “my dog is quiet as a mouse, he never makes a sound.” Yeah, until you are not around. Then he barks non-stop until he hears your car or sees you coming back.
  • Please clean up after your pet it will only take a few minutes.
  • Of course this post was inspired by my recent camping trip through some National Forests campgrounds in southern Colorado. First, I get out to check how level my site is when a big dog comes running towards me growling. I had to jump back in the drivers seat. Everybody's dog is great and so sweet…Yes to their owners. You never know about strangers.

    This same camper was having a little party at her campsite so more people come with their dogs. Pretty soon they have illegally parked cars all over the place with several dogs running all over the campground. All of them run loose, shaking water all over us, scaring my daughter and messing up our dinner, while the owners sit and relax. I had to shout at the dogs to leave and go home. The owners never call them or pay attention.

    Wandering dogs - Photo by David Hudson Floyd

    Wandering dogs but not the ones I'm writing about here - Photo by David Hudson Floyd

    I just had a little dog run loose into my campsite and make waste right by the fire pit. The owners were inside their RV with the little bear appetizer running all over the place. I was already backing up out of the campsite so I didn't go put it on the steps of the owners trailer like I should have.

    What do you think about dogs in National Forests? Do you go camping with your dog? Do you have problems with others and their dogs?


    Adam | Jun 18, 2009 | Category: Pet Friendly

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