Refuge Pet Policy

No dogs 150x118

Dogs (pets) are not allowed at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Bringing your dog to a national wildlife refuge can be very disruptive to wildlife and some visitors.

Why Are Dogs Prohibited at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge?

Many wildlife species perceive dogs (pets) as a predator and in some instances as prey to larger predatory species. Dogs (pets) can chase wildlife or be a visual threat to wildlife and birds, causing wildlife and birds to flee nesting, burrowing, feeding, and resting sites. The lingering scent of the dog (pet) can signal the presence of a predator, long after the dog (pet) is gone. The disturbance of wildlife burns much needed energy that animals need to survive and raise their young.

Dogs (pets) can carry disease into the refuge’s wildlife populations. Dogs could unknowingly carry canine distemper, which can be detrimental to the health of small mammals. Dogs bark and disturb the quiet of the refuge. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.

Service Animals

Service animals are allowed, but must be on leash control at all times. The definition of a service animal is any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The crime deterrence effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Emotional support, therapy, or comfort animals do not qualify or meet the definition of a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information on service animals please refer to the 
Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA” pdf file.


Since I Can’t Bring My Pet to the Refuge, Where Else Can I Go?

Other multi-user trails and parks around the refuge can be found at the following:

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Parks

Turkey Bend Recreation Area  

Gloster Bend Recreation Area

Shaffer Bend Recreation Area

Camp Creek Park


City of Jonestown Parks

City of Marble Falls Parks

City of Liberty Hill Parks