In order to get more people into the National Parks, the parks often have special events. Here at Fort Frederica, our Resource Manager tries to schedule one or two special events each month. January tends to be a month where lots of snowbirds visit but not many tourists. So, our first event of 2018 was scheduled with the local snowbirds in mind. On January 27 we had our Bark in the Park.
Lots of people come and walk their dogs around the grounds every day. The Bark in the Park encourages them to be responsible dog owners and good visitors to the park. We invited people who walk their dogs to come and advertised the event locally. We ended up with about 60 dogs including some rescue dogs looking for forever homes from the local humane society. The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia also had a booth so they could answer questions.
The dogs and their owners gathered at 2 p.m. for a short history of Fort Frederica given by Ranger Ellen. She included a story about the Hird family‘s dog, which archaeologists found buried in the family lot. Then she led a dog parade down to the fort. It was fun to see all the different dogs walking together. They seemed to get along a lot better than the townspeople who lived in Frederica! We even had one pet pig who walked with all the dogs.
After the parade, Ranger Ellen swore all the dogs in as “Bark Rangers” and gave them a Bark Ranger card and id tag. The owners seemed pleased and many got their pictures taken with their dogs and ranger cards.
We love to have dogs in the park, as long as their owners keep them on a leash and pick up after them. The Bark Ranger card is a way to reinforce good behavior because it explains the rules in a gentle way. 1. Bag your poop. 2. Always wear a leash. 3. Respect wildlife. 4. Know where you can go.
If you are a responsible dog owner and like to take your dog with you, check out the Bark Ranger program at a National Park site near you. You might have a chance to participate in a Bark in the Park day too!