Take your pet to Gateway for healthy exercise, but only in permitted areas and only on a leash. And, yes, pick up after your pup!
Bailey, pictured here, loves to go for a walk at Gateway. His owner only takes him to permitted areas and always keeps him on his leash.

Photo courtesy of Joanie Crane and Bailey.

Yes, your pet can visit SOME areas of Gateway!

Some areas of Gateway have great trails for you and your pet to exercise and enjoy nature. Pets are NOT allowed in areas of the park which are delicate natural habitats.

Where pets are permitted, they must always be on a leash. You must also clean up after your pet when visiting the park.

Pets running at large may be impounded at the owner's expense.

Why do I need to keep my pet on a leash?

Unleashed pets are at danger themselves. They may also be seen as a danger to other visitors and, most of all, may threaten wildlife and habitats that the park is legally bound to protect.

Baby plovers on the beach
Piping plovers, such as this chicks, find a safe haven at Gateway's oceanside beaches in Jamaica Bay and Sandy Hook. Pets are not allowed during plover season.

Chris Allieri, used with permission

Where you CANNOT bring your pet, even on a leash:

  • All campgrounds: Floyd Bennett Field, Camp Hudson at Fort Wadsworth and Sandy Hook.
  • Ocean-side beaches at Sandy Hook Unit from March 15 through September 15 (piping plover season). Pets ARE permitted on bay-side beaches at Plum Island and Horseshoe Cove throughout the year, but must always be on a leash.
  • Swimming beaches at Staten Island Unit's Great Kills Park from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
  • Ocean-side beaches at Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden West Beach and Breezy Point Tip and at the bayside of Breezy Point Tip (all within Jamaica Bay Unit) between March 15 and September 15 (piping plover season).
  • ANY part of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at ANY time of year.
  • Exceptions: Service animals (guide dogs, signal dogs or other animals trained to perform tasks for persons with disabilities) are excepted. Dogs used by law enforcement officers in the performance of official duties are also excepted. Emotional support animals, comfort animals and therapy dogs are not considered service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA.

See the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Section 2.15 for more information on rules regarding pets in national parks.

This rabbit knows how to live in the wild. Domesticated animals don't.
This wild rabbit knows how to live on its own. Domesticated animals, however, have not learned those skills. Their chances of survival in the wild are poor.


Abandoning animals at a national park

DON'T DO IT. Domesticated animals have not learned the skills needed to live in the wild. They usually die before figuring it out. Abandoned animals have shorter lives due to attacks by predators, disease and living in extreme conditions. Besides, this is against the law. Violators will be prosecuted.

Some abandoned animals, particularly cats, kill wildlife that the park is here to protect. Outdoor cats are believed to kill hundreds of millions of birds and small animals each year in North America. Whether a cat is domesticated or feral, well-fed or hungry, cats act as predators by nature.

People who love cats can give them longer, healthier lives and keep bird and wildlife populations more robust by keeping cats indoors 24 hours a day.

Last updated: July 23, 2020

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