Posts Tagged ‘camping areas’

HARTFORD CT — Dog owners who like to rough it at Connecticut state campgrounds with their faithful friends have only a handful of camping areas to choose from.

In fact, only four of the state’s 14 campgrounds are dog-friendly. Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, thinks that’s too few.

After talking to constituents a few months ago, Meyer, chairman of the environment committee, introduced a bill that would encourage the state Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulations that would allow dogs at up to seven state campgrounds.

The bill is not a mandate and allows the DEP to use its discretion. Meyer called it a family values bill in the sense that many families want to vacation with their pets. Meyer himself has a Labrador retriever named Mo and said he would like to take her more places.

The DEP is open to the idea but must balance expanded opportunities for dog owners with the needs and concerns of other campers, said Dennis Schain, the department’s spokesman.

At a March public hearing, DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said allowing dogs at more campgrounds could raise issues of pet waste, late-night barking, potential aggressive behavior, and negative impacts on wildlife.

The bill does include provisions meant to protect campers. It would limit the number of dogs a person may have at a campsite and require owners to prove that their pet has been vaccinated. It would also require people to control their dogs.

The DEP already has rules regarding dogs.

One pet per site is currently allowed at Austin Hawes Campground at the American Legion State Forest in Barkhamsted and at Green Falls and Mount Misery campgrounds at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Two dogs per site are allowed at Salt Rock Campground in Baltic. All dogs must be held on leashes no more than 7 feet long; they cannot be left unattended and must have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

Before making any decisions regarding the campgrounds, Schain said, the DEP would consult with park supervisors to develop a list of potential places to allow dogs and would seek public comment through the regulation-making process.

The DEP currently allows dogs at all state parks if they are leashed and under control, Schain added. Dogs, however, are not allowed on state park beaches during the summer.
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Campers staying in parks and campsites around Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes will see marked improvements during the coming vacation season, thanks to a rare distribution of $1.4 million in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Special Items Funding, according to Jon Hiser, lakes manager for the Mountain Home Corps Project Field Office.

The biggest project now under way at the Corps parks that open April 1 is the 64-camp-site Cranfield Recreation Area. Bulldozer and backhoe operators were carving out new roadbeds Wednesday to provide access to new camping areas for a variety of camper preferences. The new campsites will serve campers from those who want a primitive camping experience to those needing large pads for the largest recreational vehicles with 50-amp electrical service.
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