Leave no Trace

Glass on the Beach

Imagine the setting where you are enjoying the beach with small children in your family who are running about delirious with the joy of playing in the sand or digging in the sand to make the greatest sandcastle ever. But all of a sudden you are awakened from the peacefulness around you to the shrieks and cries of one of those kids who has run across a broken piece of glass and endured a cut. (Photo Credit: Seba Sheavly, Sheavly Consultants, Inc.)

Plastic & Sea Turtles

Did you know, “Sea turtles are affected by plastic during every stage of their life. They crawl through plastic on the way to the ocean as hatchlings, swim through it while migrating, confuse it for jellyfish (one of their favorite foods), and then crawl back through it as adults.”
Learn more about the five ways plastic affects sea turtles.

SEE Turtles was launched in 2008 as the first worldwide effort to protect these species through ecotourism by conservationists Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and Brad Nahill. Photo credit: Ben J, Hicks

Sea Turtles and Topsail Island

Turtle season is am exciting time for residents and visitors to Topsail Island alike. Did you know that turtle volunteers walk the beach at first light during turtle season to look for momma turtle tracks and where she might have laid eggs in her sand dune nest? Once a nest is found, and tagged, nest sitters (really devoted volunteers) will guard the nest all night from predators once the hatch time is expected.

Turning off or blocking bright lights from illuminating the beach, filling sandcastle holes and removing beach furniture when you leave the beach each day are important because obstacles can discourage mommy turtles from nesting.

Image courtesy of Jeff Wenzel, Above Topsail

Plastic Bags, Bottles and Dolphins

It is amazing to watch a pod of dolphins breaching the wave surface as they scout for food and teach their young the ways of ocean life. Did I bring an item to the beach like a plastic bag, or disposable bottle that might attract that young dolphin who then ingests that item and suffers? 
Image courtesy the BBC Blue Plant Live

Your Dog and the Beach

Your dog is a very friendly, people-person type of dog that wouldn’t hurt the flea on its paw. Are others walking the beach mind readers? Probably not, but many people can tell if a dog is friendly or not. However, that still doesn’t mean you should let your dog get within jumping up on distance, unless the person encourages the dog’s approach.

Image courtesy of Roman Bintang

One of the reason dog owners love the beach on Topsail Island is the dog-friendly reputation Topsail Island has for dogs and their masters. Please be respectful of others including the wildlife that also roam the beach. Chasing gulls and sanderlings might seem like great sport for a dog but it no doubt adds biological stress to the birds. Likewise in turtle season be very cognizant that your dog doesn’t break loose from it’s lease and start digging out a turtle nest in the dune because the nest has a bright orange ribbon marking if off for human distancing.

Image courtesy of Joppe Spaa

Many people love walking their dogs on the beach not only for the exercise both the dog and master enjoy, but also for “Nature’s Tranquil Beauty” with the sea, sand, and gentle breeze allowing one to escape the every day pressures of life and enjoy nature for a bit.

However, when you dog stops and makes a deposit in the sand, PLEASE clean it up!

Image courtesy of Richard Burlton