Dogs will temporarily not be allowed on a west Vancouver Island beach due to a seasonal ban to protect migratory shorebirds.
Combers Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park between Tofino and Ucluelet will have the ban in effect from April 14 to Oct. 1. The area will be specifically between Sandhill Creek and Green Point Rocks.
Parks Canada says the furry friends will not be allowed on the Combers Beach Trail or the boardwalk access to Combers Beach from Green Point Campground either. They add the beaches will be patrolled by Parks Canada staff and law enforcement, who will give out fines if necessary.
The regulation will be actively enforced under Canada’s National Parks Act, according to Parks Canada.
Recent estimates suggest over 500,000 migratory birds, including 30 species, make landfall on the local beaches twice every year, according to Parks Canada. They add dogs off-leash often chase the birds, causing them to spend energy that they need to migrate.
“In light of our increasing understanding of the importance of the Long Beach area to migratory shorebirds, this limited measure is being taken to decrease disturbance of shorebirds during a critical time of their annual cycle – migration,” said Parks Canada.
Ways to prevent this are to keep dogs on leash, observe from at least 25 metres away and obey the beach closure, according to Parks Canada.
Dogs are permitted at other areas of the park on leash. The government adds dogs can be seen as threats or food to large animals and may be attacked by wolves and other wildlife including cougars and bears.
Parks Canada adds that many visitors may not be dog lovers and keeping them on a leash is more respectful of other visitors.
They ask visitors to alert others of dogs in the area or Parks Canada by calling 250-726-3604.