The stunning beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore make for a great place to enjoy the Northern California coast. It might even seem like the perfect place to walk your dog. But due to the area’s robust wildlife, dogs aren’t allowed on most beaches in the area.
Dogs are a danger and a threat to the many shorebirds using beaches to rest along their migration, to feed, or for nesting. The beaches can also be inhabited by deer, rabbits and marine mammals, which can also be threatened by the presence of a dog. In 2019 here at Point Reyes, a dog which was illegally off-leash attacked and killed a rare Guadalupe fur seal. These are the incidents officials are looking to avoid with the dog ban.
On top of the immediate threat of an attack, dogs leave behind a territorial “predator” scent typical of all wild canines, like wolves and coyotes. This scent can linger in the area for long periods of time and can disrupt or alter the behavior of the native animals this park has been set aside to protect.
Pets can also transmit diseases to wild animals—such as coyotes, badgers, and marine mammals—or contract diseases from wild animals. Some diseases transmitted by ticks and fleas, such as Lyme disease and bubonic plague, could then be transmitted to humans.
Although dogs aren’t allowed in most of the area, there are four beaches you can still bring them:
- South Beach
- North Beach, to the left (south) of the parking lot
- Limantour Beach, to the left (east) of the main trail
- Kehoe Beach, to the right (north) of the trail
Even in these areas, dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet and may never be unattended or tied to an object. It’s very important to follow these rules to maintain the safety of the wildlife, the dogs and the people in the area.
For more information regarding pets in Point Reyes, go here.