B.A.R.K. Ranger

What is a B.A.R.K. Ranger?

Woof woof! Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a pet-friendly park! In order to promote responsible recreation with pets, we have the BARK Ranger program. These rules are here to help protect you, your pet(s), other park visitors, and the land itself, long after your visit. What lucky dog wouldn't want to be a B.A.R.K. Ranger?
A dog with big ears sitting on a deck at a lake wearing an orange bandana
B.A.R.K. Ranger Lennox sits on the dock at Loch Lomond ready to spread the word about responsibly recreating with pets in the park! What a good boy!

NPS Photo / A. Grismer

B = Bag Your Pet’s Waste

  • Help keep Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail clean by collecting and disposing of all pet waste. Be sure to carry pet waste off the trail and don’t leave it in the woods. Public waste receptacles are located throughout the park.

  • Dog feces are not a natural fertilizer. Dogs can carry disease such as parvovirus, giardia and roundworms into the park's wildlife populations. Water sources may also be polluted by dog feces which can be harmful to the park’s many different ecosystems.

A = Always Wear A Leash

  • Dogs must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m); retractable leashes extended beyond this limit are prohibited.

  • Unleashed dogs can get lost, cause stress or injury to wildlife and are more likely to have dangerous encounters with animals such as bears or bobcats. Keeping them on a leash is important for their own safety.

  • Not everyone is a dog person, no matter how friendly and well behaved your dog may be. Many people, especially children, are frightened by dogs, even small ones. Leashes also protect the experience of other visitors who may be allergic or who do not want a dog approaching them.

  • Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.

R = Respect Wildlife

  • Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding and resting sites.

  • The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.

  • Please keep your dog at a respectful distance from any animals you may encounter. Always stay at least 100 yards away from bears and 50 yards from other wildlife that you may encounter on your visit.

K = Know Where You Can Go

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is very pet friendly, and we enjoy seeing pets on the trails, but there are a few locations in the park where pets can not go. These locations are:

  • All watercraft launch locations, except when launching and retrieving vessels at the designated launch sites or when accessing the McDade trailhead for the purpose of utilizing the trail

  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center and Recreation Site, including the boardwalk trail

  • George W. Childs Park (closed until further notice)

  • Kittatinny Point Picnic Area

  • Rivers Bend Group Campsite

  • Turtle Beach, Smithfield Beach and Milford Beach (between Memorial Day and Labor Day)

  • Valley View Group Campsite

A metal dog ranger tag hanging on a stick
Earn this tag by following the rules of BARK

NPS Photo / C. Buta

How Do You Become a Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area B.A.R.K. Ranger?

The best way to be a B.A.R.K. Ranger is to demonstrate to other visitors that you know how to explore the park safely and help protect special places like Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

During the summer and fall, stop by any pop up information station to pick up your official B.A.R.K. Ranger pledge card to become an official B.A.R.K. Ranger. You will be asked to complete a few simple activities, learn the B.A.R.K. Ranger Rules and sign your pledge. You can then earn the official B.A.R.K. Ranger badge for your pet.

While the B.A.R.K. Ranger program is mainly geared towards dogs, any pet is welcome. If you have a cat who thinks they are a dog and walks the trail with you, we will absolutely let your trail-hiking kitty earn a B.A.R.K. Ranger tag. 

A cat laying on the trail wearing an orange bandana
Spike the MEOW ranger hiking the trails with his family

NPS Photo / J. Vidrio

Do You Want Volunteer As A Delaware Water Gap BARK Ambassador ?

If you live near the park and are looking for a way to volunteer with your dog, then becoming a BARK Ambassador could be the perfect opportunity for you!

BARK Ambassadors rove popular pet-friendly trails and are stationed at sites with park rangers to educate visitors on the proper ways to have pets in national parks. While roving trails or educating visitors, BARK Ambassadors will be able to swear in new BARK Rangers (visitors with their pets following the rules).

The goal of the BARK Ambassador program is to facilitate good relationships between pet owners and national parks.

Want to join the pack? Check out this article and the Volunteer.gov website to learn more.

Last updated: July 19, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 2

Bushkill, PA 18324


570 426-2452

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