Four people in winter jackets walking a young light-brown dog on a leash, overlooking a river beyond a black metal fence

VIP Terry McKenna

Pets in Parks

Pets are welcome in National Parks, but must follow guidelines to ensure visitor, resource, and wildlife safety. When bringing pets to Paterson Great Falls, please be mindful of the following:

A small pug faces the camera, held by a retractable leash clipped to a fence. A woman looks down as she carefully steps around it to avoid tripping
Retractable leashes pose trip hazards & allow pets to run beyond a short distance of control - park regulations require owners to maintain a hold on a hard leash.

VIP Terry McKenna


Pets must be restrained on a hard (non-retractable) leash no longer than six feet (two meters). Pets may not be left unattended. Pet owners are responsible for removing and properly disposing pet waste from picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed areas.

Federal leash length regulations are established to:

  • assure the safety of the pet;
  • reduce conflicts with other visitors and their pets;
  • limit potential exposure and spread of disease, and;
  • protect wildlife, such as nesting loons, turtles, and porcupines.

For more information, see Title 32, Chapter I, Part II § 2.15 of the Federal Code of Regulations.

A white dog w/ a grey back stripe looks up at the viewer from a seat on an NPS arrowhead entry rug, a small gold badge for Paterson Great Falls NHP on its leash harness
The B.A.R.K. Ranger program encourages safe, responsible, & enjoyable experiences for you & your furry friends in National Parks


B.A.R.K Rangers

National parks are exciting places for pets to visit with their family while on vacation - one way you can ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable for everyone is through the B.A.R.K. Ranger program, part of the Healthy People Healthy Parks Initiative.

What is "B.A.R.K.?" Four simple phrases to help protect parks, people, and your pets:

  • Bag your pet’s waste

  • Always leash your pet

  • Respect wildlife

  • Know where you can go

Learn more - visit the B.A.R.K. Ranger program webpage!

Visitors in black & orange winter jackets stand in deep snow, area barricades, benches, & trash cans partially buried. One holds a small dog with a sweater in her arms - the other has a large white dog on a leash
Be mindful of weather conditions for yourselves - & your pets!

VIP Terry McKenna

Comfort & Safety:

Summer sunshine poses a threat to pets in vehicles. Bring water for yourselves and your animals - stay in shady areas when able if visiting on hot days. Be mindful of hot path and stair surfaces, which may cause discomfort/distress to pets when walking.

Winter can be extremely cold and wet. Many pets are not suited to exposure to prolonged chill. If you're cold, they're probably cold too!

Be a responsible pet owner - familiarize yourself with your pets and learn to recognize signs of discomfort.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about the recreation opportunities for you and your pet(s) - visit the National Park Service pet resource index.

Some animals provide additional services - for guidence, visit our service animal webpage.

Last updated: February 3, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

72 McBride Avenue Extension
Paterson, NJ 07501



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