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Wisconsin State Parks

Wisconsin State Park SystemEnjoying the parks with your pet

Responsible pet owners and their pets are welcome in Wisconsin State Parks. There are a few simple rules to ensure that you, your pet, and other visitors will enjoy the park. These rules apply to all pets except service animals helping people with disabilities.

Keep your pet on a leash

Pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times.

Pets must be under control

Pets must be under control at all times. Pet owners are not allowed to let their pets interfere in any manner with other people's enjoyment of the park. Pet owners who fail to properly control a pet or whose pet creates a public nuisance or other disturbance may be asked to leave the park or may be issued citations. Leaving your pet unattended for periods of time is inconsiderate to other park users and exposes you to potential problems.

Loose pets may be seized

Loose pets may be seized and are subject to local laws pertaining to stray animals. Owners of loose pets may be ticketed. If your pet is lost, inform a park ranger and immediately call the local authorities to find the location of the nearest stray-holding facility.

Dispose of waste properly

Pet owners are responsible for proper removal and disposal of their pets' waste products. Waste should be disposed of in dumpsters or trash receptacles.

Areas welcome to pets

Dog on a leash
Pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times.

Pets are permitted in most campgrounds, trails, roads, and outlying areas of the parks. Pet owners, check out these places for you and your pet:

  • Pets are welcomed at the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area except for the picnic area.
  • Flambeau River State Forest has a dog-friendly picnic area at Connors Lake.
  • Governor Dodge State Park has a pet swim area next to each swimming beach. There are also designated pet picnic areas close to each beach where pets are permitted.
  • Governor Nelson State Park has a pet beach (swim) area. Pets must be on leash unless they are in the water. Normally the beach has a pier to teach pets to jump into the water.
  • Harrington Beach State Park has a designated pet swim area at south beach. Pets must be leashed on south beach when not swimming. There is also a designated scenic pet picnic area near south beach where pets are permitted.
  • High Cliff State Park has two pet picnic areas. One is in the lower park, near the park office, with a swimming area in the pond. The other is near the pavilion.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit has:
    • Special pet-free campsites in the West Loop (Sites 750-779) in the Whitewater Campground and in Loop 1 (Sites 1-36) in the Pinewoods Campground. Otherwise, pets are allowed at your campsite and along campground roads.
    • Special pet swim areas at Ottawa Lake, on the left side of the boat launch, and at the Oak Hollow pet swim area at the Whitewater Lake Recreation Area. Owners are reminded that your dog needs to be on a leash to the water’s edge and returned to the leash once out of the water.
  • Kohler-Andrae State Park has a designated beach where leashed dogs are allowed.
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park has a pet beach (swim) area. Pets must be on leash unless they are in the water. Normally the beach has a pier to teach pets to jump into the water, but the pier is out when water levels are high.
  • Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest has a dog-friendly picnic area at the Crystal and Muskie day use area.
  • Pattison State Park allows dogs on the 4-mile Logging Camp Trail, Big Falls Trail, small picnic areas at Big Falls and Little Falls, and an area next to the main picnic area. A 1-mile-long dog trail links into the Logging Camp Trail. This trail is part of the cross-country ski trail and gets muddy during wet weather.
  • The beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park is open to pets.

Richard Bong State Recreation Area has a designated area for teaching dogs to retrieve, point, flush, and/or track game for the purpose of hunting or dog trial competition. The area is used for training on foot, with horses and in the water. It is in the Special Uses Zone in the southwest area of the park. A license is required to train if live birds or ammunition is used. Please Note: Dog trainers are serious about training, have paid their license fee and do not appreciate pet dogs running loose while they are training. Please keep in mind that live ammunition is used in the dog training area.

Areas off limits to pets

Dog near water's edge
A happy dog after a swim at Governor Nelson State Park

Pets are not allowed in the following places:

  • Buildings.
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters.
  • Beaches, except the designated "dogs allowed" beaches listed above.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Marked nature trails, including the trails around the waterfalls at Copper Falls and Paradise Springs at Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit.
  • Cross-country ski trails when groomed for skiing.
  • Observation towers.
  • Indoor group camps and related facilities at Wyalusing State Park, Kettle Moraine State Forest—Northern Unit, Mackenzie Environmental Center and Black River State Forest.
  • Designated "pet-free areas" at:
    • The Devil's Lake South Shore area, except on paved roads and walkways en route to areas where pets are allowed.
    • Loop 1 of Pinewoods family and group campground and the west loop of Whitewater campground in Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.
    • Aztalan State Park.
    • Governor Nelson State Park.
    • Parts of Haven woods State Forest.
    • Parts of the Rock Island State Park campground.
    • Parts of the Tower Hill State Park campground.
  • Anywhere in:
    • Copper Culture State Park
    • Heritage Hill State Park
    • Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area
Last revised: Tuesday January 22 2013