Dogs to be temporarily banned from Rathtrevor, Parksville Bay beaches amid geese migration

Dogs to be temporarily banned from Rathtrevor, Parksville Bay beaches amid geese migration
Photo: Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Rathtrevor Beach is pictured.

Dogs won’t be able to roam beaches in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area (PQBWMA) for several weeks as Brant geese migrate back to the area.

The City of Parksville says Rathtrevor and Parksville Bay beaches will be temporarily closed to dogs for the annual geese migration — the former from Feb. 15 to April 30 and the latter from March 1 to April 30.

These geese are on “a remarkable and arduous journey” from California and Mexico to northern nesting grounds, according to the city in a notice Tuesday.

Thousands of Brants are spotted in the area year after year.

The Arrowsmith Naturalists group regularly conducts Brant counts, and on March 28, 2023, close to 1,300 were estimated to be in the PQBWMA. A total of 5,155 were counted during the eight primary counts last year.

“Our beaches provide an abundant food source for the geese, which need to gain weight and strength before making another non-stop flight. A disturbance caused by something as simple as a child running on the beach can have drastic effects on the geese while feeding,” reads the city’s notice.

“For this reason, Parksville beaches are closed to dogs on-leash and off-leash for the same time each year.”

Pet owners who don’t follow the rules could be fined.

According to the B.C. government in a 2015 information bulletin, “fines levied tend to be a ticket of $115, violators can be subject to a penalty of up to $50,000 and/or six months in jail for more serious offences.”

The city says dogs must always be leashed within the wildlife management area, with more information about the PQBWMA found online here.

“In addition, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park has regulations that pets are not permitted in the day-use beach areas of the park and are allowed on the beach adjacent to the campground between May 1 and Feb. 14 as long as they are on a leash. Information about Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park may be found here.”

The Regional District of Nanaimo says the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area was first established in 1993 and includes 1,024 hectares (2,530 acres) of land between Craig Bay and Little Qualicum River.

The city says anyone with questions about the upcoming dog ban should call the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-877-952-7277.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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