BARK Ranger

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Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge can be a wonderful place to visit with your furry companion as long as you visit responsibly to protect your pet, wildlife, habitat, and other visitors.

Be a BARK Ranger.
Recreate responsibly at the refuge with your pet!

  • B = Bag and Remove Your Pet's Waste

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    Help keep the refuge clean by always collecting and disposing of your pet’s waste. Bring a bag from home or grab a collection bag at one of our many trailhead pet waste stations. Then drop it into the waste bin at the trailhead or in a nearby refuge trash can or dumpster. Do not leave waste bags on the side of trails, or toss them off-trail into refuge habitat. (There is no poo fairy to remove waste bags that are left behind!)

    Why

    • Dog feces are not a natural fertilizer. In fact, they can spread diseases and parasites to wildlife, and people. 
    • Dog feces can also pollute water sources, like Lake Lowell.

  • A = Always Wear a Leash

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    Pets must always remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet while visiting the refuge. (Hunting dogs may be off leash while actively hunting, but they must remain under strict voice control.) If you forget your leash, borrow one from a Leash Loaner Station at some refuge trailheads and parking lots. 

    Why

    • Protect wildlife from the stress and wasted energy of running or flying from loose dogs. Off-leash dogs can also cause wildlife to abandon nests and young. Finally, dogs can injure or even kill refuge wildlife.
    • Protect your dog from being injured by wildlife, by stepping on trash, or by stepping on or breathing in sharp natural objects like seeds.
    • Protect other visitors: Not every refuge visitor is a dog person, so unleashed dogs can frighten other visitors, even if your dog is well-behaved and friendly. Please respect other visitors and keep your pet leashed, regardless of how friendly your dog may be.

  • R = Respect Wildlife

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    Keep your pet on designated trails and stay at a respectful distance from any wildlife you encounter.

    Why

    You are visiting wildlife at their refuge home. Please help the refuge conserve and protect wildlife and the habitats they call home. 

    • Dogs threaten refuge wildlife by chasing them, flushing them from nests, and even injuring or killing them.
    • The scent of a dog can stress wildlife even long after the dog has left the area.

  • K = Know Where You Can Go

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    Leashed dogs are allowed only on designated trails, on maintained roads, and in the Lower Dam Recreation Area. Hunting dogs are allowed off-trail only when actively hunting.

    Pets are not allowed inside the Visitor Center, with the exception of Service animals. Please do not leave your pets unattended to enter refuge facilities.

    Why

    • Off-trail pets would increase disturbance to wildlife, as well as to nests and other wildlife habitat.
    • Staying on trail also protects your pet from ticks and other dangers.