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Contact: Steve Yancho, 231-326-5134
Contact: Larry Johnson, 231-326-5134
Now that the warmer weather has arrived, Piping Plovers have returned to their breeding grounds on the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lakeshore). The birds are courting and establishing territories in preparation for nesting. Piping Plovers continue to be listed as an endangered species under the Federal Government and Michigan Endangered Species Acts. The National Park Service, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota, carries out management of the plover at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Effective April 28, and until further notice later in the season, no pets will be permitted on those segments of beaches where Piping Plovers have established territories or nests. Dogs disturb birds while they are trying to establish nests, and threaten successful chick rearing.
In Lakeshore areas where dogs are permitted, please be sure to keep your pet leashed. Though all of us, including our dogs, are ready to shake off our cabin fever and get to the beach, Chief Ranger Larry Johnson would like to remind everyone of the federal regulation requiring that pets be on a leash (no longer than six feet) at all times while in the Lakeshore. Johnson says the Lakeshore has experienced an increasing number of irresponsible pet owners, and the U.S. District Court Judge has doubled the fines this year. Rangers will be stepping up enforcement efforts to help get the message across.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encourages dog owners to enjoy the beaches where dogs are allowed, but asks that dogs be kept on a leash, and that owners pick up after their pooches to keep the shoreline clean for other beach users to enjoy. Pet owners who are unsure of closures should follow posted dog signs or call the Lakeshore visitor center for Piping Plover nesting information at 231-326-5134.
For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, visit the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/slbe or call 231-326-5134.