Celebrate 100 years of National Parks with your dog

luv On The Road AgainDeb D’Andrea, Nederland.  On August 25, 2016 our National Park Service will celebrate 100 years of “engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.” This year the Girls and I visited several parks, discovering a more pet friendly environment than when I traveled a similar route in 2006.

The Girls and I headed out in the middle of a snow storm on March 30th and didn’t make it far, bedding down just South of Denver at Chatfield State Park. It was below freezing, snow blowing hard, we cuddled to stay warm and were the only crazy ones camping that evening. Of course, if you visit Chatfield now you’ll discover a wonderful place to play with your pup in the water; as well as to boat, fish, water ski and camp.

We were up early the next morning, the low hanging clouds blue with cold, the snow surrounding us in an empty park.  We each exhaled breath froze and the few rabbits quickly scurried so as not to catch the Girls attention. We drove through the morning storm, breaking out of the clouds as we neared Pagosa Springs. It was sunny, warm, no snow and we happily hiked enjoying the outdoors for the day. Unfortunately, we discovered along this trip that many of the campgrounds are seasonal and don’t open until May. Fortunately, in Pagosa Springs, Walmart allows camping in their parking lot.

From there our adventure was surrounded by sunshine, warmth, fun and very happy Girls who were able to explore many National and State Parks over the following months. In alphabetical order, we visited the National Parks of Arches, Bryce Canyon, Glen Canyon (Lake Powell), Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead (Temple Bar and Boulder Beach Campgrounds), Montezuma Castle, Rainbow Bridge (by boat, no dogs), and Zion; and then the State Parks, BLM and cities of Cameron Trading Post, Cattails Cove State Park, Davis Dam State Park, Dead Horse State Park, Durango, Hualapai Mountain State Park, Jerome (in the Black Hills), Kens Lake BLM (Moab), Pagosa Springs, Sedona, Cave Spring State Park (Coconino National Forest), Valley of Fire State Park, and Williams on Rt. 66.

We did a lot. It was awesome. What I discovered is many of these places allow dogs on paved trails. For instance, at the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon there are miles of great trails for the dogs that are just beautiful, some which follow the rim of the canyon for great distances. In other parks, I found that dogs had their own beach front area away from people where they could be off leash to play and enjoy the water. Other places had dog specific areas where we could access the rivers and creeks, and hike amazing trails on leash. All in all, I was pleasantly pleased with the National and State Park systems’ embracement of dogs in parks. Not only did it allow me to enjoy jaw dropping beauty, but to enjoy it with my best friends, my Girls.

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients. She bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order.  For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email:  info@4theluvofdogz.com.

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea a columnist for The Mountain-Ear. She is the founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz which provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email. Online: 4TheLuvOfDogz