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Enjoying the Parks with your Pet

Wisconsin State Park System


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 the proper removal and disposal of their pets' waste products. Waste should be disposed of in dumpsters or trash receptacles.

Areas where pets are permitted

Pets are permitted in most campgrounds, trails, roads and outlying areas of the parks.

Areas off limits to pets

Pets are not allowed in the following places (this rule applies to all pets except service animals helping people with disabilities).

  • Buildings and picnic shelters
  • Picnic areas, except designated pet picnic areas
  • Beaches, except designated pet swim areas
  • 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
    • Including the quiet area at Loop 1 of the Pinewoods Campground in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest.
  • Anywhere in:
    • Copper Culture State Park
    • Heritage Hill State Park
    • Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area

Pet swim areas and picnic areas

The following properties have designated pet swim or picnic areas. Pets must be on a leash at all times when not in the water.

  • Buckhorn State Park has a pet swim area on Water Street, west of the Buckhorn Bridge.
  • Copper Falls State Park has a designated pet area adjacent to the main picnic area in the park. The pet picnic area abuts the Bad River, allowing water access for pets. 
  • Devil's Lake State Park has an on-leash pet swim area located near the north shore boat launch and an off-leash pet swim area near the south shore boat launch. A pet picnic area is on the north shore near the east bluff trailhead adjacent to the back parking lots.
  • Flambeau River State Forest has a pet picnic area at Connors Lake.
  • Governor Dodge State Park has a pet swim area next to the Cox Hollow swimming beach. There is also a designated pet picnic areas next to the pet swim area.
  • Governor Nelson State Park has a designated pet swim area north of the beach/picnic area.
  • Governor Thompson State Park permits pets in the Woods Lake picnic area and beach, and at Boat Landing 13 (South Bay) in the park.
  • Harrington Beach State Park has a designated pet swim area at south beach. There is also a designated pet picnic area near south beach.
  • 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 located in the second loop of the River Bottoms Area.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit has two pet swim areas; at Ottawa Lake on the left side of the boat launch; and at Rice Lake on the right side of the boat launch.
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park has a pet swim area. Normally the beach has a pier to teach pets to jump into the water, but the pier is out when water levels are high.
  • Pattison State Park has small pet picnic areas at Big Falls and Little Falls and an area next to the main picnic area.
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park has a designated pet swim area. Access is a 0.75-mile walk from the parking lot. Pets are not allowed on the section of the beach from the nature center to the third beach access from April 1 to Nov. 1.

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 property. 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.