Saturday, June 4, 2016

No Dogs on the Beach

These signs line the walkways out to the beaches.
Hello everyone, my name is Justen Williams if you are new here and I will be spending my summer at Fire Island National Seashore. I am starting my summer with Law Enforcement and I am so excited to see what this summer has in store. On my first day of work at Fire Island National Seashore I noticed there would be two major things that would cause the Law Enforcement Rangers to stop and talk to park visitors when the beaches were not that busy. One of those being that the beaches were not clothing optional anymore, I don’t plan on opening that can of worms at this point, and the other being that from March 15th until September 5th dogs are not permitted to be on the beach. This puzzled me as to why they did not allow dogs on the beach during these times. When I questioned the ranger as to why dogs were not permitted on the beaches, she said that it was because of the piping plover. She then showed me that all the dunes were roped off so that people wouldn’t walk in them.
Piping Plover on the beach
  The piping plover is classified as a threatened species.  The bird is found on the east coast, and around the great lakes area in the summer. During the spring and start of the summer is when these birds breed and lay their eggs and they like to build nests in and around the dunes. When the eggs do finally hatch the chicks are on the ground and tend to wander around the nest for the first four weeks with either mom or dad by their side.

The dunes near the piping plover nest.

The fear with the dogs is that they will make the birds feel threatened or that the dogs will destroy the nests. Same idea with people, if they go and walk through the dunes without looking around they may step on and disturb one of the nests. These birds are masters of camouflage as well, if they were to be sitting on their nests and did not move you would not be able to see them. After the eggs hatch and the chicks are walking around they are highly vulnerable to attack from the dogs which is another reason why they are not allowed on the beach during the summer months.  


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