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Old 03-10-2011, 05:57 PM   #1
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Virginia State Park's Pet Fee

I didn't want to post this in the Belle Isle rally thread but, I did want to further explain the added pet fee of $15.00 for the three day rally in May. We have left it up to the pet owners to decide if they want to bring their pets along and pay the fee themselves when they arrive at the park. I know most owners are like I was with my yellow lab. The're like your children and you wouldn't think of leaving them at home, so you have to ante up and pay the fee if you want to enjoy the beautiful parks in Virginia.

Virginia now charges $5.00 per day per pet up to a maximum of $15.00. We're sorry for this inconvenience but the Virginia State Parks under the Department of Conservation and Recreation imposed this to try to discourage people from bringing their pets to the campgrounds. As a former dog owner and a future dog owner and a VA resident I find this disturbing. I can also sympathize with those who don't own pets having to contend with owners who don't ensure their pets are not a nuisance to other campers. Just like everything else in life, in camping there are those who respect their fellow campers and those who feel they have a right to do whatever they please even if it imposes on someone else.
I hope the fee won't deter anyone from considering attending the rally.

Here is a link to a blog article on this issue.


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Old 03-10-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
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You know what, Tom? Sadie is worth having with us. We wouldn't even consider going anywhere without her. She is a sweetie and we clean up after her. I have always known that eventually parks will charge for pups to be included because SO MANY LAZY, INCONSIDERATE OWNERS do not clean up after their pets and leave it for the rest of us to step in. As will be proved over and over again, the few will ruin it for the masses. But karma will get you and that will be my reward...may you (and you know who you are) step it in it every day of your life. In the meantime, travel safe and live large.

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Old 03-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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Sounds to me like an additional tax on park use. Sign of the times. We just lost a lot more here in Wisconsin.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:05 PM   #4
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Virginia State Parks Pet Fee

I wanted to take a moment to clarify the Virginia State Parks pet fee. The writer of this post implies this is a new fee. We have been charging a fee for dogs in our campgrounds for thirty years. It started with a major campaign to ban dogs that was nearly enacted. The fee ended up as a compromise. As with all compromises, neither side is happy with the results.

As a dog owner, I understand many people, myself included, feel their dog is not a pet but a member of their family. But we all have to understand that some people are afraid of dogs and barking dogs ruin a camping experience. The more dogs in a campground, the more likely there will be barking. We all know that dogs are territorial. Dogs in our campgrounds increase staff time handling complaints and for enforcement. Most pet owners do not understand the fee.

As a government entity, we have to try and make everyone happy, even knowing that is impossible. We have been sensitive to the complaints so what we did change just recently was the 3 night cap on the fee. There was no cap prior to this change. We surveyed all of the campers from 2010 we had email addresses for and had a 10% response on the survey. The majority of the respondents were dog owners. While as expected we knew some of our campers were unhappy about the fee, a large number supported a reasonable fee and defined that as $10 for a weekend and $15 for a week. We used this information to make the change. We have also decided to invest some of the money we collect to benefit the pet owners and will be installing pet waste bag dispensers in our parks within the next year.

We have studied the issue extensively and believe this continues to be the best way to ensure quality camping experiences and still allow dogs in our campgrounds. We know this may mean some campers with dogs decide not to stay with us and I know the fact that we allow dogs has also meant the loss of campers who oppose them.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:34 PM   #5
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I'm sorry, but your answer makes no sense to me.

If you don't want dogs, ban them. How does charging a fee make a better experience for the people who do not like dogs. I'm sure you have rules about picking up after your dog and keeping them quiet. Why not enforce the rules? Putting pet owners into a separate class and making them pay more is just wrong.

What about the people who are annoyed by parents who fail to keep control over their children, do you charge extra for them as well?

Virginia may be for lovers, but not pet lovers...


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Old 03-13-2011, 03:55 PM   #6
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My 4 legged children

To me there is nothing more natural than camping with my dogs and going on some good romps.

I also understand there are some good reasons for the pet rules and fees. I really do wish though, especially in the National Parks, responsible dog owners cut be cut some more slack. The alternative of leaving the dogs behind to me is unaccepatable.

Too bad they dont' have a "stupid dog owners tax" for those who ruin it for the rest of us.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:23 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting and welcome to the Forums, nheltman.

Do you work for our wonderful VA state parks?

I appreciate that you are trying to clarify, but I agree with Richard that this is probably not one of our Commonwealth's best rationales.

Anyway, glad to hear from you and we look forward to further posts.


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