The state Parks Department recently made an announcement that should make pet-lovers happy.

The New Jersey State Park Service has expanded its Pet Friendly Camping program to include nine state parks, including in the central and northern parts of the state, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin announced.

The program, which began in 2009 in the southern parks region, allows outdoor enthusiasts to share the campgrounds with their pets.

“This program is very popular with many of our visitors and shows that the outdoors is for everyone who loves and cares for them,” said Mark Texel, director of the State Division of Parks and Forestry. “Our staff works well with responsible pet owners to make the experience and great one for all visitors.”

The nine locations are available during the fall season and into the winter. Visitors are permitted to bring as many as two pets per camping permit, and caged pets (birds, reptiles or amphibians) are permitted within the confines of a camping recreational vehicle (trailer or motor home).

The pets must be kept on a leash six feet or less in length and can't be left unattended at the campsite for an extended period of time.

All pets must be current on vaccinations and visitors will have to fill out a pet registration form during check-in process. There is an additional charge of $5 per night to utilize a pet friendly campsite.

Here's a list of the Pet-Friendly State Parks by region and the locations of the available Camp Sites within those parks:

South:

Belleplain State Forest: All tent sites in the Meisle Field and CCC Camping Areas

Parvin State Park: Family Campsites #45-50

Wharton State Forest: Atsion Family campsites #26-34, Godfrey Bridge, Goshen Pond, Buttonwood Hill, Lower Forge Camp & Batona Camp

North:

Stephens State Park: Family Campsites #31-40

Stokes State Forest: Family Campsites #121-137

Central:

Allaire State Park: Family Campsites #1-8

Bass River State Forest: Sites #1-85

Brendan T Byrne State Forest: Family Campsites #14-82

Cheesequake State Park: Family Campsites #23-27 & #37-40

SOURCE: New Jersey State Park Service

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