The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is reminding visitors that all dogs must be leashed at all times. (Westerly file photo)

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is reminding visitors that all dogs must be leashed at all times. (Westerly file photo)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve urges dog owners to show respect by leashing their pets

“As Coastal Stewards, we appreciate seeing you with your pets on leashes.”

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is rolling out a familiar New Year’s resolution to kick off 2021: convince dog owners to leash their pets while exploring local beaches.

“Let’s face it, most dog-owners want to let their dogs off leash to exercise and roam free” read a statement from the park reserve last month. “But, whether you view Pacific Rim National Park Reserve as your own backyard, or that longed-for reprieve from your busy city lifestyle elsewhere in the province, keeping your dog leashed—or even better, at home—is the best way to show that you care about both your dog and the ecosystem.”

Beyond the nuisances they can bring to other beach goers, off-leash pets are an oft-maligned thorn in the side of shorebird monitors and a frustrating catalyst for potential conflicts with wolves.

RELATED: Wolf attacks dog near Ucluelet

RELATED: Shorebird research strengthens push for dog ban at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The park reserve’s First Nations program manager Tammy Dorward said following the leash law shows respect to the area’s wildlife, environment and people.

“The principle of respect is very important in Nuu-chah-nulth culture, and is something we focus on in our teachings,” Dorward said. “Especially as locals, you are showing respect for others in our community, including the Nuu-chah-nulth. The lands within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are our traditional territory and we have lived here since time immemorial. Together as locals, we all need to comply with the leash policy to continue being able to enjoy the beaches with our pets.”

She added that keeping pets leashed also shows respect for wolves who might view a loose dog as prey, putting both the dog and wolf at risk.

In 2017, Parks Canada killed a wolf that had attacked a dog within its boundaries. It was the first time since 2008 that a wolf was killed in the park reserve.

“In Nuu-Chah-nulth culture we view wolves as sacred and as family members, similar to how you view your pet as part of your family. When a wolf has to be destroyed due to the ripple effect of pets being let off-leash, it is a tragic loss like losing a family member,” Dorward said.

“When wolves learn to see pets as an easy meal, this leads to a downward spiral of wolves teaching others in the pack to feed on pets and become less afraid of humans. They roam widely and start approaching small humans and pets in the neighbouring towns. When you leash your pet, you are showing respect for our family and for wildlife.”

Sebastian Townsend of the park reserve’s Coastal Stewards program said leashes also help other visitors enjoy their surroundings without being forced to mingle with dogs they might not want to play with.

“Keeping your dog on leash shows you care about the health of the national park reserve and other visitors’ right to enjoy the peaceful setting,” he said.

Ian Cruickshank monitors the park reserve’s ecological integrity and said off-leash dogs can have a drastic impacts on migrating shorebird populations.

The West Coast serves as an essential pitstop for tens of thousands of shorebirds travelling between their South American feeding grounds and Arctic breeding grounds from April-May and July-September.

Townsend said that the leash compliance rate at Long Beach during the region’s annual shorebird migration period has fluctuated between 38 to 69 per cent over the past nine years and held at a relatively respectable, albeit with ample room to improve, 66 per cent in 2020.

“As Coastal Stewards, we appreciate seeing you with your pets on leashes. It shows you understand that everyone has a right to peaceful enjoyment, and that might not include your dog approaching them to say hello,” he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DogsPacific Rim National ParkTofino,ucluelet

Just Posted

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains a reminder of culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Vancouver Island MLA put in charge of B.C.’s police act reform

Routley considers role of police with respect to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communites across Vanccouver Island.
EDITORIAL: COVIDiocy has reached another level

Fake posters claiming end of restrictions cowardly and irresponsible

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

A survey by Statistics Canada finds Black Canadians earn less than non-visible minority Canadians despite having higher levels of education. (The Canadian Press file photo)
COVID-19 worsened unemployment picture for Black Canadians

Black Canadians also more likely to suffer other hardships

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

The Downtown Safety Select Committee has floated the idea of removing the glass on the Spirit Square stage structure in the winter. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Spirit Square glass removal bad for the homeless?

Committee floats idea of removing glass roof from public facility, advocates object

Kyle Topping  skates for the Cowichan Valley Capitals during the 2015-16 BCHL season. (Citizen file)
Former Cowichan Capitals making news in pro ranks

Kyle Topping and Laurent Brossoit mark achievements

Most Read