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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) is hosting the next BARK Ranger event at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2016, at the Platte River Picnic Area adjacent to the Platte River Campground on Lake Michigan Road. Anyone interested in pets in the park, pet safety, or volunteering for the BARK Ranger program is welcome to attend. Pet owners who attend and agree to take the BARK pledge, “Bag their dog’s waste, Always be on a leash, Respect Wildlife, and Know what beaches dogs are permitted on in the park,” will receive a BARK Ranger dog bandanna, a certificate, and other items for their dog.
In addition, pet owners can learn how they can become a BARK Ranger volunteer. In its inaugural year at the National Lakeshore, the BARK Ranger program is an effort to educate the public about pet policies to help reduce pet-wildlife conflicts. BARK Ranger volunteers and their canine companions serve as ambassadors on National Lakeshore beaches to provide visitors information about the park, pet policies, and pet safety.
The event is an opportunity for interested persons to become involved. National Lakeshore wildlife biologist Sue Jennings will present an introduction to the BARK Ranger program and its importance to the piping plover conservation effort and pet safety in the park. Ranger Jennings will also provide tips for keeping your pet safe in the summer heat. This presentation will be followed by Mr. Brian Edwards and his dog Piper of the Traverse City Airport K-9 Team. Piper is a wildlife control canine, trained to help prevent catastrophic bird strikes with aircraft. Brian will discuss Piper’s training and his duties at the airport to ensure aircraft safety and community activities, including his recent stint as the Grand Marshall at the National Cherry Festival. Student Intern Erica Adams will provide information on how to participate in the Lakeshore’s B.A.R.K. program as a Pledge Ranger or as an active volunteer B.A.R.K Ranger. The next BARK pledge event with Piper will be held at 10:00 a.m. on August 17 at the Platte River Picnic Area adjacent to the Platte River Campground on Lake Michigan Road.
The National Lakeshore is home to many species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Included in this list is the Great Lakes Piping Plover, a federally endangered nesting shorebird. With more than one-third of the Great Lakes population at the National Lakeshore, following pet policies is crucial to their continued success. In order to create a space where wildlife and pets can coexist, the National Lakeshore requires that dogs be kept on a six-foot leash while in pet-friendly areas.
All ranger programs are free with a park pass. For a listing of programs, check out the park’s event calendar .