Ask Outdoors Girl: Are Maryland state parks now more welcoming to pets?

Steve Shinnamon and several other readers of my Outdoors Girl blog noticed that I went hiking during Park Quest 24/7 (my marathon visit of 24 state parks in seven days) with a wonderful companion, Missy, an 11-year-old dog and her owner. Shinnamon, who lives near Patapsco Valley State Park, asked: Just wondering how you managed to get a dog into a Maryland State Park. Several years ago I had a dog in the car while dropping someone off at Catoctin State Park. I was chased by a ranger in a jeep and told to immediately leave as dogs were not allowed in state parks. Since that time I have been more choosy about the parks I frequent, with Quiet Waters in Anne Arundel County being my favorite enclosed dog park and dog beach. Have the rules changed?

Outdoors Girl replies: Thanks for reading my blog. Maryland State Parks officials did, indeed, relax the rules last year. Pets are still not allowed in some places, say full-service cabins, some tent camping areas and beaches in season, but many parks have put out the welcome mat for family pets and 24 parks have year-round access in day-use and picnic areas. The full list and guidelines are on the Department of Natural Resources website under the Parks tab at the top of the home page.

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