East Hawaii News

Public Reminded of Rules for Dogs in National Park

April 8, 2013, 5:29 PM HST
* Updated April 9, 12:59 PM
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They may be man’s and woman’s best friend, but they don’t necessarily mix well with birds, especially endangered ones.

Officials at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are reminding the public that dogs are not allowed in many areas of the park for safety reasons, and for the protection of threatened and endangered species.

Authorized service animals are permitted, but may also be prohibited from certain locations such as recovery areas for nene, the endangered Hawaiian goose.

Pets and service dogs must be leashed at all times within the park.

Park officials said hikers recently have reported being bitten by dogs off leash on park trails. Park rangers responded to 24 dog incidents in the park last year. Such incidents can result in warnings or citations.

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“During my career in national parks, I have witnessed dogs go over the sides of cliffs chasing birds, and in the past year at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, we have had incidents of dogs off leash in nene areas, and most recently, falling into steam cracks, all while seemingly under control of their owners,” said park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

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“Pets are like our family, and the best way to protect them is to not expose them to the unnecessary hazards and risks prevalent in a national park,” she said.

According to federal regulations, pets are prohibited in the following park areas:

  • All undeveloped areas of the park, including designated wilderness areas
  • All trails, including backcountry trails
  • All backcountry campgrounds, including Kulanaokuaiki
  • ‘Ainahou, Kipuka Nene, and all of Hilina Pali Road

Federal and state laws allow dogs to be used by the park to support ungulate control programs, and by law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

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