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Post Info TOPIC: Pets in National Parks in the U.S.


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Pets in National Parks in the U.S.


We love our National Parks but hate their Pet Policies.  Our dog loves to walk with us and we get an extreme case of the guilts when we have to leave her in the car to walk even a short section of a trail in our National Parks; those sad, sorrowful eyes ruin the hike for me. It's generally too hot to leave a pet safely in a car for any length of time.  So, our exploration of our National Parks is generally confined to what we can drive to or through and we feel we miss a great deal of the 'draw' of a particular park.  I know these rules are put in place for very good reasons; such as wildlife protection in the area but we've been in parks where the wildest thing we've seen is a 3-year old chasing a squirrel.  Anyone else have this problem and what do you do?  We have not experiences these stringent pet rules in Canada; in fact, we were blown away when we found out our dog was perfectly welcome in Butchart Gardens in Victoria.  I know many of you travel with pets and would be interested in your opinions and suggestions.  Thank you so much.



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We have visited NPs since 2001 when we bought our first Airstream, actually even before. We also travel with dogs, first a Lab and now two Aussies. We always find a campsite with electric hook ups and leave the dogs in their kennel in the AS. Better for them in the air-conditioned trailer then in a hot vehicle if only for a little while.
We have left them for up to 6 hours at a time with no issues. If we are just doing a scouting day, they ride along as the LOVE to ride in the truck. They did the wildlife loop at Custer State Park last year and enjoyed it as much as we did. LOL.
Yes I feel sad leaving them behind but we want to enjoy the park which is why we travel those distances to see them and the dogs are fine kenneled for the day. We just make sure to give them really long walks when we return and lots of play time.
Would it be easier without dogs, yes, but they are too important to me to give them up, but I am not willing to give up my wanderlust either, so we compromise.
Again, it all depends on what you want and your dog.

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I have run into this even with a service dog.......It has to be accepted because it was abused by a few and like anything else it goes to the wayside

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We have ran into many times, and not just National Parks. And it not only to protect the wildlife but to protect the trails from those that don't clean up after pets or can't live by the rule put in place like leash rules.
So like mentioned, Jack (our Golden) goes along on the exploration days and stays home in the of the RV on our actual tour days. Not a perfect world but what is now aday.

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Thank you all. It's just frustrating when a few ruin it for everyone but I suppose there will always be the few who believe the rules don't apply to them. At the end of the day, we have two choices, leave the dog at home, or skip the trails in the NP's. Happy Travels, everyone.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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I can understand wanting to take dogs on trails, but as someone who spent 4 summers in my college years earning tuition by working in Glacier National Park, I've seen the end result of a bear / dog encounter. Not a pleasant scene, often the dog would try to protect the pet owner at the dog's peril.
Most of our National Park experience has been in the Western US and with the more abundant wildlife we have seen and encountered on trails, I'm not sure I would always want a dog with us due to safety reasons. Our previous dog always wanted to challenge any other critter and protect us which can be a recipe for disaster.

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If you want to go out for a day of sightseeing/hiking but your dog can't go with you, you might consider having a pet sitter come to your rig & take your dog for a walk while you're gone.  You can go to www.petsit.com  & click "Find a Pet Sitter".  Type in the zip code of the place where you're staying & a list of sitters who service that zip code will be displayed. Petsit.com is the membership website for Pet Sitters International.  Pet sitters listed on this site are typically bonded, insured, & professional.



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I always camp with a Sun Conure. I take her on NP and forest service trails that are supposed to be "no pets allowed" and have never had a ranger tell me anything. She loves the wilderness as much as we do and I wouldn't dream of leaving her while we go hiking (unless the weather is bad.) Sunny passed away last year at 28yrs old, at the end of her life, but we have a new one, Skittles who we've taken on her first trip (to Big Bend, NP) and she loves it just as much. Sunny was fully fledged and could fly where she wanted, but would always come when called back. Both she and we were wary of raptors and watched the skys dilligently. She would dart under my shirt if frightened (usually by vultures).

Here's sunny at Horse Trough falls:

Here's Sunny right before taking a quick cold dip in that stream.

It was much colder than she thought so she didn't get very wet.

Here's our new baby Skittles.

She is very smart. Less than a year old and she is already talking, returns to her cage to poop, etc.


Pets are such joy. Their love is unconditional. I couldn't imagine life without them.

Chip



-- Edited by Sushidog on Thursday 7th of August 2014 09:05:34 AM



-- Edited by Sushidog on Thursday 7th of August 2014 01:54:33 PM

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Thank you all. Maybe we're better off not walking these trails after all. I would absolutely drop dead of fright if we encountered a bear on a trail. I only want to see them through a VERY long telephoto lens. I'm a real scaredy cat when it comes to close encounters with dangerous wildlife. But, I did love the moose and elk in Canada. When we were in Jasper National Park, we shared our campsite with a herd of elk. Our dog totally ignored them. We saw several bears but they were at a safe distance for my comfort level so fun to take pictures of them from the car. Cindy, thanks for the PetSit website; sounds like a great service.

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Finding bear hair on the edge of your slide does give you pause. The bear ran under the RV slide one evening, at a Canadian national park (Pukaskwa). In Hyder Alaska, we were a bit too close to a big male grizzly bear as it walked down the road between the cars. In Everglades NP, we did not take a trail due to the large alligator laying on it. Wildlife does its thing if allowed.

Tying your dog out at Big Bend National park is a good way to have them get eaten or badly hurt by collared peccary (javelina), since they routinely go through the campground.


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Bill, yeah that's a bit too close for my comfort level. We thought the bears in Hyder, AK were very cute but there was no way I would walk outside the car as close to them as the locals did; they seemed to have no fear of them at all and vice versa. An alligator laying across a trail would send me running and be fodder for nightmares for a few nights. We took our first road trip to Big Bend National Park in our SUV; it was too hot to leave the dog in the car, she wasn't allowed on any of the trails, and the local motels said "No" to pets.........thus, the start of our full-time RV'ing life. We never, ever, tie the girlie outside unattended anywhere for the reasons you state above. We'd still like to be able to take her for short strolls in the well-beaten paths at the NP's; like family-friendly trails where children abound, but rules are rules.


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In the Tucson area, both coyotes and javelina can be seen in the residential areas. I saw a lot of complaints there about the rangers not doing something about the coyotes out in the county because there were times that people with those long, reel-out leashes had their dogs ate while they sat visiting. Seriously, go to the desert, expect wildlife. It is sad that people think the rules don't apply to them but anymore, they are becoming the majority thus all the regulations. If you ask me if my dogs bite, I'll say, "Yes, they could bite." Whenever we are out, I spend a lot of time protecting my dogs from others pets and kids. Over the years, our dogs have severely restricted what we could do but we made the choice and took on the responsibility................

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As SnowGypsy pointed out, wildlife can be everywhere, even when you least expect it. Our kitty loves to walk on her leash but in AZ I only do that in the middle of the day, we've seen coyotes and Javelinas from our RV at state, county and traditional RV parks in both the Phoenix and Tucson areas, we've had our trailer "bumped" by a bear in Mammoth Lakes CA right in the middle of town, we've had a rattlesnake sunning itself by our trailer tire when we returned from a walk in the Sacramento area.

You just have to be aware that wildlife is out there and because we chose to try to stay on the outskirts of the big cities when we need to be near a city, we just have to be aware and take precautions for you and your pet.

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We're back in central AZ. In our home area we regularly see Javelins, mule deer, coyotes, and our neighbors TWICE had mountain Lion tracks in their front yard. Neighbors couldn't understand why their small pets who we're let out in their "fenced yards disappeared". Grrrr.... Neighbors dogs have been bitten by rattlers and we know many people with scorpion stings. If our cat found a scorpion in the house she would try to play with it. Yes, in spite of spraying regularly, we'd get an occasional one in.

A friend from Sedona posted today he had an Elk in his yard. But bear hair on our slider? That would freak me out! 😄

Sherry



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Friends in Tucson found out a couple things about scorpions. First they like crickets. Second a CPAP machine, for sleep apnea, sounds like crickets to a scorpion. Our friends exterminated all the crickets in their yard after a scorpion got into bed and stung one of them.

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you know what they call a dog tied out on a leash in Florida.....a snack!


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