2017-04-13 / Outdoors

Sleeping Bear Dunes to hold Bark Ranger training

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is hosting an orientation meeting for anyone interested in volunteering to serve as a Bark Ranger.

Bark Ranger volunteers and their canine companions serve as ambassadors on Lakeshore beaches to provide visitors information about the park and to highlight pet policies and pet safety.

Bark Rangers also help to protect the Lakeshore’s nesting shorebirds.

Those interested (no dogs, please) can attend an orientation and training meeting from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 10 at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.

You do not have to own a dog to become a Bark Ranger. Bark Rangers will receive training and ranger gear for their dog, if they choose to volunteer with their dog.

The Bark Ranger program was started last year and was very well-received, with park rangers getting a lot of positive comments about the program from visitors.

Dogs are welcome in the park as long as they are leashed and stay on beaches that are open to dogs.

The Bark Ranger volunteer program is a fun way to inform dog owners of our policies and about the potential impact of unleashed dogs on nesting shorebirds, especially piping plovers. As of 2016, 28 of the 75 known pairs of plovers identified in the entire Great Lakes region make their temporary home in the National Lakeshore.

If you are interested in volunteering but are unable to attend the May 10 meeting, please contact Sue Jennings, wildlife biologist for the Lakeshore, at 326-4751.

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