A place for Fido in our parks? Maybe!

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  • No dogs are allowed at Ann Street Park, except certified service dogs. (Photo by Marilyn Rosenthal)

By Marilyn Rosenthal

It's a beautiful summer day. The sun is shining. There's a slightly cool breeze, and you think to yourself, “It's a perfect day for a walk in the park with Fido.” Before you put on Fido's leash, it is prudent to find out which area parks allow dogs and which do not. This depends on the type of park it is.

National ParksMuch of Pike County is situated within the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA), which is part of the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. As such, DEWA regulates what can and can't be done in national parks. In Pike County, this means dogs are not allowed at:

Milford Beach (Milford)

Raymondskill Falls and Hacker's Falls (Dingman Township)

Kittatinny Picnic Area, Adam's Creek, Dingmans Falls, and Child's Park (Delaware Township, Dingmans Ferry)

John Donahue, superintendent of DEWA, explained the reason dogs are not allowed in these parks. He said, “They all have waterfalls, and the trails could be slippery. Safety is difficult enough without dogs jumping up and down.”

However, a few things should be noted:

Service dogs are allowed in these national parks, but only on a leash.

Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Dingmans Ferry allows dogs as long as they are leashed and under control. PEEC is a national park and part of DEWA.

Bushkill Falls in Pike County has a series of eight waterfalls. It is privately owned by the Charles E. Peters family, so it is not affected by the rules of the National Park Service and DEWA. However, dogs must be on a leash at all times.

State ParksState parks are regulated by each state, and are not under the auspices of DEWA.

Promised Land State Park in Blooming Grove Township is a 3,000-acre park mostly surrounded by the Delaware State Forrest. Dogs are welcomed as long as they are leashed, well-behaved and under their owners' control.

Delaware State Park Lily Pond Picnic Area Trailhead, located on Schocopee Road in Milford Township: Dogs are allowed on a leash.

This is part of the state park system, which includes beautiful trails and a large picnic pavilion.

Shohola FallsLocated on state land in Shohola Township, this property has magnificent waterfalls, a lake and several trails. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

Township Parks in Pike CountyDingman TownshipKaren Kleist, the secretary/treasurer of Dingman Township, explained that while the Bridge Preserve does allow dogs (they must be on a leash at all times), the Dingman Township Municipal Park does not.

Kleist continued, “The DingmanTownship Park has 100 acres, but dogs are not allowed because of the nature of this park. The board feels that dogs are not conducive to the type of activities that occur in this park, such as soccer, football and baseball fields and playgrounds.”

Milford BoroughAngelina Crellin, the borough secretary, said that two of their largest parks, the Ann Street Park and East Catherine Street Park, do not allow dogs. Annette Haar, chair of the borough parks and recreation department, said tagged and certified service dogs are allowed in all parks in the borough.

There seem to be no hard and fast rules about the other parks in the borough: Biddis Park, Soldiers and Sailors Park, the Kennedy Triangle, Ethel Barkley Memorial Park, Georgiana Kiger Park and Jewelers Square Park.

Delaware TownshipDelaware Township owns Akenac Park on Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry. Krista Predmore, the township administrator, said, “The supervisors recently updated the park policy. No pets are allowed in Akenac, but service dogs marked as service dogs are allowed on a leash.”

Matamoras BoroughAirport Park between Avenues S and Q in Matamoras has a special area set aside for dogs.

The Dog Park was established in 2010 and is part of Matamoras Borough. In order to be fully registered, the dog must have a “Pooch Pass,” which gives basic information about the health and behavior of the dog. For residents of Matamoras, the registration is free. For non-residents, there is a $10 per family charge.

The borough “offers pets and their people the chance to socialize, have some fun and enjoy some exercise. The park is equipped with bowls for water, all sorts of toys, and, of course, a fire hydrant. There are benches and picnic tables for people to rest while the pups have a blast playing together.”

So before you go, think about whether you'd like to see some waterfalls without Fido or forgo the waterfalls and enjoy the day with your best friend! Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Annette Haar's assurance that service dogs are allowed in all Milford Borough parks, contrary to what the original article stated. The Courier regrets the error.

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