The Bark Ranger program originated in Olympic National Park in 2015 and has expanded inside and outside the National Park Service and is now successful in Florida. Bark Rangers stands for Bag your pet’s waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife and Know where you can go. Bark Rangers and their owners must follow the rules while enjoying Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves, spoil Islands and other pet-friendly preserves.

Bag your pet’s waste by bringing your own supplies to dispose your pets waste. It’s important to know your pet’s waste can impact local water and ecosystems by introducing foreign pathogens and bacteria.

Always Leash your pet when visiting public lands. Unfortunately, an unleashed pet can cause a number of negative results that can easily be prevented. Some of these consequences could result in an injury or death of wildlife, trampling of ground nests and eggs or native plants, confrontation with other visitors and pets, frightening other visitors, or injury to your pet by snakes, alligators etc. Your dog may be friendly but, other dogs or people may not like to be approached. It could turn into an unpleasant experience. Safety is top priority fo all visitors and wildlife.

Respect Wildlife in the natural habitat is the purpose of the preserves and parks for all to enjoy. Never let your dog chase wild life especially ones that are considered a threatened species.

Know where you can go by checking the websites for pet regulations before you venture out. Some preserves and parks allow pets with designated areas. Some spoil islands may be closed during nesting season. Also, sea turtle nesting season should be avoided.

If you are interested in your pet becoming an ambassador, contact the Indian River Aquatic Preserve office at 772-429-2995 You and your pet can be sworn in by one of the BARK Ranger Ambassadors at an Island, beach or trail. As a BARK Ranger, your pet will receive a BARK Ranger tag for their collar.

Click the link for more information https://floridadep.gov/rcp

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Plythe Freedman holds a MA in Youth Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. She is a mother of two. Her passion for small businesses and her community has been displayed through her many hours of volunteering and meeting with city officials to assist in promoting Fort Pierce. She is also a former board member of Grace Way Village, a non profit organization that helps clothe and feed disadvantaged children. She is a former member of the Chamber of Commerce and a former Royal Palms member. She served on the RDC advisory board at Suncoast Mental Health Center. And She was appointed by a City Commissioner to serve on the CRA Advisory Committee as the chair. She worked with Frontline For Kids as their public relations specialist and had her own column in the Lincoln Park Main Street Showcase. Plythe's goal is to promote Fort Pierce as a destination for families to visit, live, work and play.

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