Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Dogs Prohibited at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge?

Dogs (pets) are not allowed at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Bringing your dog to a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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can be very disruptive to wildlife and some visitors.

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 our protected 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 even long after the dog (pet) is gone. The disturbance of wildlife also causes them to use up energy that is originally intended for survival and raising their young. 

Dogs (pets) can carry disease into the refuge's wildlife populations. Dogs can unknowingly carry canine distemper, which can be detrimental to the health of small mammals on our refuge. Dogs bark and disturb the quiet atmosphere 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.

What About 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 Parks

City of Jonestown Parks

City of Marble Falls Parks

City of Liberty Hill Parks

I Came to the Refuge and the Gates Wouldn't Open.

The refuge headquarters are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, except federal holidays. During weekends, the refuge headquarters are closed and the gates will not open. If the gates are malfunctioning during business hours, please call us at (512) 339-9432 or check our social media for status updates.