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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.

If you have an outdoors question in search of an answer, email it to candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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