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a Wisconsin state park, forest, recreation area or trail.
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in state parks and forests.
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a vehicle admission sticker or state trail pass.
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to attend a nature program or event with family and friends.
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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.

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 the Cox Hollow swimming beach. There are also designated pet picnic areas next to each beach where pets are permitted.
  • Governor Nelson State Park has a designated pet swim area north of the beach/picnic area. Pets must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet when they are not in the water. Pets are also permitted on the park hiking trails. Remember pets are not permitted at the beach/picnic area, shelters or in any buildings.
  • Governor Thompson State Park permits pets in the Woods Lake picnic area, at the Woods Lake beach, and at Boat Landing 13 (South Bay) in the park. You may have pets at your campsite and on the hiking trails. 
  • 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.
  • Interstate State Park has a designated pet picnic area area located in the second loop of the River Bottoms Area.
  • 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.
  • Pets are welcomed at Newport State Park except for the picnic and beach area.
  • 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.
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park allows pets on all trails and has a designated pet beach. The pet beach access is a 0.75-mile walk from the parking lot. Pets are not allowed on the section of beach from the nature center to the third beach access from April 1 to November 1. Pets must be leashed at all times while on the trails and shoreline.
  • 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. This rule applies to all pets except service animals helping people with disabilities.

  • Buildings.
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters.
  • Beaches, except the designated "dogs allowed" beaches listed above.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Marked nature trails.
  • Cross-country ski trails when groomed for skiing.
  • Observation towers.
  • Indoor group camps and related facilities.
  • Designated "pet-free areas" identified at properties.
  • Anywhere in:
    • Copper Culture State Park
    • Heritage Hill State Park
    • Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area
Last revised: Tuesday May 22 2018