Congaree welcomes dogs on boardwalk, in test

jholleman@thestate.comJune 27, 2013 

— Dog owners now can walk with their pets on the 2.4-mile boardwalk at Congaree National Park.

The park long had banned pets from its boardwalk but allowed them on the dirt trails. The change is just a trial run until Oct. 1, but it could be extended if there are few problems, said superintendent Tracy Stakely.

The park recently offered special guided hikes for dog owners and their pets. The change in boardwalk rules is the next step in trying to make the park more pet friendly.

The key to whether the change works will be how well pet owners control their animals, according to Lauren Gurniewicz, a park interpreter.

Pets will be required to remain on leash, and it will need to be a short leash to prevent clashes with others on the elevated boardwalk. Pet waste also must be disposed of properly.

The park also will allow fishing in Weston Lake through Oct. 1 on a trial basis. Fishing was banned in the lake years ago because of problems with litter. Fishing still won’t be allowed from the boardwalk or within 100 feet of the Weston Lake overlook.

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