Connecticut State Parks May Allow More Dogs

April 28, 2010 by   - () 9 Comments

Dog owners who like to rough it at state campgrounds in Connecticut with their faithful friends have only a handful of camping areas to choose from.

In fact, only four of the state’s 14 campgrounds are dog-friendly, according to the Hartford Currant.

Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, thinks that’s too few.

After talking to constituents a few months ago, Meyer, chairman of the environment committee, introduced a bill that would encourage the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt regulations that would allow dogs at up to seven state campgrounds.

The bill is not a mandate and allows the DEP to use its discretion. Meyer called it a family values bill in the sense that many families want to vacation with their pets. Meyer himself has a Labrador retriever named Mo and said he would like to take her more places.

The DEP is open to the idea but must balance expanded opportunities for dog owners with the needs and concerns of other campers, said Dennis Schain, the department’s spokesman.

Alysia Duke of Manchester, owner of two miniature schnauzers, said she has fond memories of childhood camping trips with her family. Although she has not been camping in years, Duke, president of the nonprofit Manchester Dog Owners Group, said she believes that responsible dog owners should be able to share camping experiences with their pets.

Some people do not go on vacation at all because their dogs are not allowed, or because they have no one to care for the dog while they are gone, she said.

Meyer’s bill passed the Connecticut Senate on a 34-2 vote last week and is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, was one of the two no votes. “I just don’t see the need for this legislation,” Fasano told colleagues last week. He said the DEP has the right to allow dogs in the parks regardless of the legislation.

At a March public hearing, DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said allowing dogs at more campgrounds could raise issues of pet waste, late-night barking, potential aggressive behavior, and negative impacts on wildlife.

The bill does include provisions meant to protect campers. It would limit the number of dogs a person may have at a campsite and require owners to prove that their pet has been vaccinated. It would also require people to control their dogs.

The DEP already has rules regarding dogs.

One pet per site is currently allowed at Austin Hawes Campground at the American Legion State Forest in Barkhamsted and at Green Falls and Mount Misery campgrounds at Pachaug State Forest in Volutown. Two dogs per site are allowed at Salt Rock Campground in Baltic. All dogs must be held on leashes no more than 7 feet long; they cannot be left unattended and must have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

Before making any decisions regarding the campgrounds, Schain said, the DEP would consult with park supervisors to develop a list of potential places to allow dogs and would seek public comment through the regulation-making process.

The DEP currently allows dogs at all state parks if they are leashed and under control, Schain added. Dogs, however, are not allowed on state park beaches during the summer.


9 Responses to “Connecticut State Parks May Allow More Dogs”

  1. Liz on June 3rd, 2010 10:57 am

    Great I like dogs to be allowed would be nice if there could be a state pk certificate program to allow responsible dogs in. Look what bikes and horses do to trails and dogs leave no trace. They are best friends. Hurray for these people.

  2. Liz on June 3rd, 2010 10:59 am

    Dogs are comforting and protective of senior citizens who their only friend may be their dog. :>

  3. Mike on June 14th, 2010 8:27 am

    State of CT is letting a lot of money to go to other states because of that ban. I know we would love to camp in CT state parks but having a dog makes that impossible. Mass and RI get our $500 per year now.
    I do understand also how few bad apples can ruin it for everybody. dog owners have to be responsible.

  4. Michele Morrissey on June 27th, 2010 4:05 pm

    I’ve taken my cocker spaniel camping for the last three years. He is the reason I started camping. We had a dog show in Vernont, gas prices were through the roof and camping allowed me a cheap lodging. I loved it and so did my dog. In fact he was so quiet noone knew I had a dog. We have since camped in VA, RI, MA, NH, and NJ. He has never been a problem. In these days of limited financial resources the State of Connecticut should wake up to the fact that people go out of state with their dogs to camp. I agree, there are dogs that don’t camp well, but they are less destructive, quieter, cleaner, and less bothersome than some of the children and adults that I have come across. It’s easy. Your dog is a vocal one, you don’t pick up the messes, you forfit your camping fee and are expected to leave. Too bad you can’t do that with children.

  5. Richard Ables on August 22nd, 2010 6:13 am

    I am from Ohio. We travel alot since we have retired. We have two small dogs. We are very careful to clean up after our pets. My wife and I will not visit a place where dogs are not allowed. These are now our kids.

    Richard Ables Ohio

  6. Mike on October 25th, 2010 3:49 pm

    I feel the same. We have travel from ca to ma with two small dogs. And I came to ct and wanted to see and enjoy a state camp ground but was denied because of my chihuahuas so I left for a more pet friendly state. It was too bad because I was enjoying ct until I tried to see a state park. I will not stay where my dogs are not welcome.

  7. John Irvine on June 11th, 2011 5:10 pm

    I travel with three dogs and I travel a lot in my camper. I will be in Newfoundland this year and need to get back through the Midwest and after some research I will not be stopping in CT. MA is more reasonable so I’ll travel and spend my dollars there.

  8. Katherine Hershey on December 5th, 2011 4:26 pm

    I have three dogs, always on leash when out of the RV. My hubby takes two at a time to “do their business” and always bags and returns all their deposits.
    Keeping them quiet is a big deal to us. We take time to hold them and keep them in check…without abuse! They are a bit of work…it keeps us healthier in late life. We love to walk them. They are all under 30 lbs. We don’t like getting the dregs of any RV park…the back lot is usually us…because of the dogs. We aren’t offered to pay more for a choice lot…but since my husband is handicapped and now I am…we get up front due to handicap tages and cards. Finally. When not take all the dogs you want to ..just keep kids and adults from walking on our rented lot and the dogs are quiet. Mrs. H

  9. Paul Winterhalder on September 23rd, 2012 9:35 pm

    I live in Ct. and bought a modest pop up camper recently. I was greatly disappointed to find that most of the State Parks in Ct. do not allow camping with your pet dog. I went to Burlingame State Park near Westerly, Rhode Island which does allow leashed pets. Our dog was quiet and well behaved and disturbed no one. We met some other dogs and they were just as well mannered as ours. Everyone appeared to be very conscientious about the handling of their pet and responsibly picked up after them. I recommend that the State Park System in Ct allow leashed pets. If a problem develops, the owners could be required to leave just as other campers that cause problems would also be asked to leave. Why should Ct. residents have to travel out of state in order to enjoy a camping experience with their favorite buddy.