Ohio Administrative Code 1501:17-5-04 | Animals Prohibited — Animals including pets are prohibited in state nature preserves and natural areas.
Why are Pets Prohibited?
Ohio’s 138 state nature preserves are unique and protected because they contain some of Ohio’s rarest and most delicate natural resources. While people can walk on trails and boardwalks at most preserves, preserve managers always strive for a balance at the site so the ecological integrity of each preserve is maintained. Pets in state nature preserves can introduce disease; spread invasive species; distract and disturb wildlife; and interfere with scientific research conducted in the preserves. Leaving pets at home when visiting state nature preserves helps protect these delicate ecosystems.
Since 1970, pets have been prohibited in Ohio’s state nature preserves. This prohibition has contributed to Ohio’s preserves being prized by birders, naturalists and nature photographers who can enjoy watching a warbler through binoculars or kneeling to see a tiny state threatened plant growing along a path without being concerned about pets disturbing the area. Because of the rarity and delicate balance of these special ecosystems, visitors who bring pets into a state nature preserve are subject to citations and fines. Service animals are permitted in the preserves, and several sites are accessible to Ohioans with disabilities.
Leashed pets are permitted in Ohio’s state parks and forests, but those types of properties are governed by different rules than natural areas and preserves.