Seacoast Science Center Creates Map of Dog-friendly Beaches to Promote Wildlife Conservation

Seacoast Science Center (SSC) has announced the creation of a new digital resource for dog owners to help keep family pets as well as native wildlife species safe in the outdoor spaces they share. The new Dog-Friendly Beaches in New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts map is a free resource to show dog owners where dogs are welcome and where their presence is restricted. The map was researched and created by the Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue program and is available to all at www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/explore-and-learn/dog-friendly-beaches-in-nh-and-northern-ma.

“As a federally designated marine mammal response agency, we have spent a lot of time on beaches in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts over the past six years, and we often encounter curious dogs and humans getting too close to seals and other animals,” explained Brian Yurasits, SSC Marine Mammal Rescue Community Outreach Manager. “Seals are a protected species and they can be aggressive so it’s important for dogs and humans to give them wide berth. We love dogs and many on our team are dog owners, so we wanted to find a way to educate people about where dogs should and shouldn’t be, as well as what to do if they encounter a seal hauled out on the beach.”

Working in collaboration with all coastal municipalities at town, state, and federal levels, the SSC team developed the interactive ARC-GIS map to provide the most-accurate and comprehensive regulations for dog-owners. It’s a one-stop-shop for dog owners to help them plan where to go for walks and where dogs are restricted. Key information is provided for each beach from New Hampshire’s northern border down to Essex, MA so the map can also be a resource for people who don’t have pets.

“Though most beachgoers mean well, many don’t understand that their dogs can seriously injure marine mammals if they approach too closely, and vice versa,” Yurasits said. “We run into this issue at nearly every response we’re involved with, so we are happy to offer this comprehensive digital resource that people can consult before leaving home. Helping people and their pets share the shore in a respectful way is our primary goal with this new map.”

The Seacoast Science Center is a non-profit institution based in Rye, NH dedicated to inspiring conservation and educating people of all ages about the wonders of the ocean. Seacoast Science Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue team responds to an average of 110 animals each year, though this year the team has already logged 129 responses. For more information on the Seacoast Science Center and the SSC Marine Mammal Rescue program, please visit www.seacoastsciencecenter.org.

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