Dogs Welcome at Moran, But Rules Apply to All

By Justin Krogstad

Moran State Park Ranger and Operations Manager

The natural majesty of Moran State Park is what makes it special — to be enjoyed by both our human visitors and their four-legged friends. It’s easy for our guests to feel the call of the wild out here. But before you let your pet off-leash to explore the park’s natural wonders, please note that it could result in a hefty fine!

Unlike national parks, Washington state parks welcome leashed dogs in our campgrounds, day-use areas and trail systems. This dog-friendly policy has been well-received, and the vast majority of our guests follow the rules during their visit. But did you know that dog-related issues are the most common complaint brought to our rangers?

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Moran, or you’ve lived on the island your whole life, we require dogs to be leashed in all areas of our park, and this even includes your campsite. And it’s not just a park rule — it’s the law!

Pets in State Parks

The following are the most common pet-related violations park rangers deal with:

Dogs off leash. Washington state law for pets in all state parks requires the physical control of your dog on a leash no longer than 8 feet. In addition to a leash, carrying your pet is also allowed. There are no exceptions for remote electronic collars, most service/comfort animals, or this frequently heard misunderstanding: “My dog is nice and well-trained to verbal command.”

While we absolutely love to hear that your dog is obedient and friendly, it still needs to be under physical control. And keep this in mind: Some people are just plain afraid of dogs, even if your Fido is the sweetest thing on four legs. Out of respect for fellow park visitors, please keep your dog on a leash!

Barking and biting. The law states: “No person shall allow his/her pet or domestic animal to bite or in any way molest or annoy other park visitors. No person shall permit his/her pet or domestic animal to bark or otherwise disturb the peace and tranquility of the park.” These infractions happen mostly in the campground setting, and negatively affects our guests’ experience.

Poop. Yep, it’s a problem! Dog/pet poop left on the ground is our most common litter item now found in our park. You are required to pick up after your pet. But that’s only half the job. Pick it up, bag it and put in the trash containers.

Please note: Each of these pet-related laws carries a $99 citation (Washington Administrative Code 52-32-060).

As you might expect, our rangers here at Moran State Park strive to keep you (AND your pets) safe during your visit. We sincerely appreciate your help maintaining the park’s natural beauty and guest appeal.

If you have any questions regarding our park rules or laws, please see the Park Rules posters at our info boards located at the campgrounds, or feel free to contact me directly at 

Thank you!

Ranger Krogstad