The "no dogs" policy at Wassaw NWR is in place primarily to protect the declining shorebird and seabird populations that rely on the beach and other areas for survival.

Shorebirds and seabirds view dogs as predators, so as friendly as your pup may be, the mere sight of your four-legged friend can cause birds to flee their nests, putting eggs and hatchlings at risk of perishing from heat or predation. It just takes a few minutes of mom and dad off the nest for eggs and chicks to die in the hot summer sun.

Dogs also increase bird fatalities during spring and fall migration. Because dogs view humans and dogs as predators, they waste precious energy flying to escape when you approach, which means they spend less time eating and resting up for their multi-thousand-mile migration.

In addition to protecting birds and other native wildlife, this policy is also in place to protect your pup. This wild barrier island is full of hidden dangers big (American alligators) and small (LOTS of ticks!).

So please, while visiting this special place, be sure to do your part to protect wildlife, your pet, and your wallet (violators of this regulation will be ticketed and fined) by leaving all pets at home. Thank you!