Ohio DNR errs in allowing dogs to roam beaches

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources laid an egg in mid-March when it announced that it temporarily was encouraging dog owners to run their canine pets unleashed on beaches at 32 state parks.

The official announcement curiously was carefully crafted to avoid explaining why Fido should be allowed to run free, contrary to a long-standing rule, on parks’ beaches through May 18. It simply told Ohioans to go for it.

But the carefully crafted initial announcement quickly was rescinded and the parks’ list was reduced to 30, eliminating the beaches at Maumee Bay State Park on western Lake Erie east of Toledo, and Geneva State Park in the northeast along central Lake Erie.

Reason? Ohio birders went ballistic over the prospect of free-ranging dogs barreling along and barking on critical Erie beachfronts used by migrating songbirds, such as the endangered piping plover and the famed, rare Kirtland’s warbler, which only now is being considered for delisting after 60 years of intensive restoration. Ooops.

The carefully crafted announcement also did not explain why running dogs on ODNR park beaches in spring suddenly was such a good idea. It was someone’s bright idea to allow the practice as free Canada goose management for the ODNR, using dogs to frighten off the pesterly geese, and thus supposedly reduce the seemingly endless sea of greenish, squishy goose poop before the onset of high season for vacations and camping and beach play.

Still, this “innovative” program remains in play for 30 inland lakes around the state. Check out the list online at http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/. That way, you’ll know whether you will need to avoid dog poop instead of – or along with – goose poop.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick