Where can I hike with my goats in MD?

Discussion in 'Pack and Working Goats' started by Garnet’s Owner, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    4
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    I’m specifically wondering if they’re allowed on Susquehanna state park trails. I can’t see anything that says they are allowed. The Maryland DNR website says “
    Pet Definition

    • Consistent with existing definitions of "pet" in State regulations and law, the Maryland Park Service pet policy refers to domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs, and does not include farm animals including, but not limited to, cattle, goats, sheep and swine. Horses are permitted on designated trails and in designated campgrounds.” right before all of its rules so I’m guessing they aren’t allowed? I guess I’ll have to find a number to call and ask but I was wondering if anyone knew before I call. Also if anyone knows of any trails that they are for sure allowed on I’d love to hear suggestions. I’m in Harford county. A neighbor of mine once took one of her goats on the trail I want to take mine on and people take horses there occasionally but I don’t want to cause any trouble
     
  2. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    4
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    I also forgot to ask what is the best tool to bring to clean up after the goats? You have to clean up after your dogs so I assume you have to clean up after a goat too, right? Most of the horse people don’t clean up after themselves but I feel like it’s rude to do that on a state trail
     

  3. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    Dog poop bag.
     
  4. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I would think you could ask park rangers.
     
  5. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Unfortunately too many state parks ban all animals that are not canine or equine. You would have to speak to park rangers, but likely they'll tell you goats are prohibited and they have no authority to change this. However, I encourage you to make some phone calls and try to get in touch with whoever is in charge of the MD State Parks agency. There are always public meetings and if you can get on the agenda you could make the case that goats should be allowed on horse trails. I am a member of the North American Packgoat Association and a large part of what we do is we try to get people engaged with the parks and recreation system in their state to make a case for allowing goats. Most officials have never heard of goatpacking and they don't realize it's a growing interest that ought to be considered in public land management plans.

    Let me know if you need any information about goatpacking, best management practices, etc. Having information to give to authorities can be really helpful in swaying their opinion and assuring them that your request is serious and that you will be a conscientious user.

    As for picking up goat berries, it's just not something I've personally ever seen the need to do because I only use trails that allow horses. Goat berries are so small and innocuous and so closely resemble deer or rabbit pellets that it seems silly to worry about them unless they are on a paved sidewalk. I believe there are some packgoat outfitters that sell "berry bags" that hook onto the saddle britchen, or you could make one yourself. Another option is to bring a small whisk broom and pan. It's too difficult and time consuming to try picking them up by hand. You'd spend most of your day bent double with a pair of tweezers!
     
    MellonFriend likes this.
  6. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    4
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    I emailed a park ranger and was told goats are not permitted in state parks :(
     
  7. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Yes, that would be the expected reply. The thing to do is go to your the MD State Parks website and find out who is in charge and speak to that person about the process for changing rules in the park system. Usually these types of rules are not made by individual parks but by the agency that oversees all the parks in your state. Those are the people you need to talk to. Sometimes it can be surprisingly easy to get things changed if you just take the time to get involved and go through the process. One of the things I like to do is to hand out literature outlining the reason packgoats are a unique type of hiking companion and are crucial for enabling older and/or handicapped people to access trails. They can also be crucial for getting families with small children into the backcountry. There are many reasons why goats are the ideal pack animal for a lot of folks, and if you present this as an issue of making trails more accessible, the parks system may see the wisdom in opening up the rules to include goats.

    Please let me know if you decide to pursue this. I can get you informational flyers, handouts, business cards, best management practices, videos, etc.