Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that more campsites will be open to pets when their owners visit Pennsylvania state parks next year.
“We’re getting the word out early that more than 130 new sites at six state parks will be ‘pet friendly’ next year because we know many of our campers like to plan their stays well in advance,” Dunn said. “Both our ‘Pet Camping’ and ‘Dogs in Cabins’ programs have expanded slowly and cautiously as park officials gauge camper acceptance and pet owner compliance. We know many of our campers say their park stays are enhanced by the presence of pets.”
Beginning with the 2022 camping season, new campsites will allow camping with pets at these state parks:
- Cook Forest, Clarion County (15 sites)
- French Creek, Berks County (two cabins)
- Poe Valley, Centre County (13)
- Prince Gallitzin State Park, Cambria County (82 in Hickory and Birch loops)
- Pymatuning, Crawford County (number to be determined)
- R.B. Winter, Union County (26 sites and one cottage)
Since its inception as a pilot program in 2001, with nine state parks participating, “Pet Camping” has expanded to include all parks that offer camping. An exception is Cherry Springs State Park, Potter County.
DCNR officials stress pet owners at all designated sites must comply with many program regulations.
They govern leashing; barking and other noise; maximum number of pets allowed (two, when the size of a cat or larger); aggressive behavior; proper cleanup and disposal of feces; valid licensing when required; and needed vaccinations.
Violations could require campers to remove their animals from park grounds.
Park officials will be empowered to determine whether animals meet the definitions of “pet” (commonly kept in household captivity) and “caged pets” (will not be released from their cage while at the park). Livestock are not considered pets.
Payable at time of reservation, fees will cover added maintenance and program costs at participating parks.
Fees are $5 per night for dogs in cabins, deluxe cottages and yurts; $3 per night for standard camping cottages; and $2 per night for campsites.
More information on reservations and other state park details can be obtained by telephoning 1-888-PA-PARKS.
Check DCNR’s website for participating state parks and detailed regulations governing pet programs.
NATURE NUGGETT: February is the month where we consider our heart! You surely know that humans and giraffes have just one heart, as most animals do—but not all. Octopuses and squids (animals called cephalopods) have three hearts. Two hearts pump blood to the gills to take up oxygen, and the other pumps blood around the body.
“Porcupine Pat” McKinney is environmental education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District and provides programming for people of all ages with an emphasis on schools, public programming and nature center development. “Porcupine Pat” hails from Marion, Ohio and has a BS with Distinction in Natural Resources – Environmental Interpretation from Ohio State. He is a recipient of the prestigious Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education from the PA Forestry Association, the Schuylkill Pride Award, and the PAEE “Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.”