SUBSCRIBE NOW

Brent Batten: Two reasons not to let Lowdermilk Park go to the dogs

There are at least two good reasons not to allow dogs at Lowdermilk Park and other Naples beaches.

Reason No. 1 is sea turtle nests and the likelihood that dogs would disturb them.

Reason No. 2 is, well, number two.

At the risk of being indelicate, dogs on the beach are going to poop on the beach.

These two dogs play fetch with their owner. They are brothers and love to come to the dog beach to play with other canines.

Most people would diligently clean up after their pets, but some wouldn’t.

Previously:Naples reviewing possibility of allowing dogs on Lowdermilk Park beach

In some cases they might not see it happen, in others, the dog may be in knee-deep water, carrying the mess away before it can be scooped up.

A few believe their dog’s stuff doesn’t stink and see no reason to pick up after it.

Whatever the reason, a policy of allowing dogs on Naples’ beaches, as proposed to the Community Services Advisory Board last week, would result in beachgoers dodging — or sometimes not — piles of poop.

Brent Batten

The proposal before the advisory board called for allowing dogs on the beach only during limited hours in the morning.

Still, dog doo doesn’t disappear when the clock strikes a designated hour, so the problem doesn’t go away just because the animals do. And dogs off a leash aren’t going to know Lowdermilk Park’s boundaries.

Proponents may point to Lee County’s popular Bonita Beach Dog Park near Lovers Key State Park.

There are key differences though that work against duplicating that success in Naples or even unincorporated Collier County.

Lee’s Dog Beach is at a secluded spot off Estero Boulevard between Bonita Springs and Fort Myers Beach.

The non-dog beach-going public is unlikely to choose it as a spot for a picnic or a day of sunbathing.

A black German Shepherd fetches at the Bonita Beach Dog Park. Dog lovers and their companions can hit the water to enjoy sunny skies.

Its use is almost exclusively limited to dogs and dog owners.

Situated on a back bay, it isn’t a spot where turtles are prone to nest.

ICYMI:Sea turtle hatchlings emerge from nest on Vanderbilt Beach, make first journey to the Gulf

And:Green sea turtles numbers up in Southwest Florida, across the state

Watch:Baby loggerhead sea turtle crawls to the Gulf

Contrast that with Lowdermilk Park, which is smack in the middle of Naples and is built for a typical day at the beach, with gazebos, play areas, restrooms and concessions.

There are few, if any, places in Collier County that compare favorably with Dog Beach, in terms of accommodating man’s best friend.

Keewaydin Island has traditionally been a spot where people bring their dogs, but you need a boat to get there.

With few exceptions, Collier County’s beaches directly front the Gulf of Mexico, inviting sea turtles to nest. The nests can be marked, and dog owners can discourage their pets from disturbing them, but it’s an inexact science at best so some disruption to the hatching process would be inevitable.

A rescued baby loggerhead turtle reaches the water of the Gulf of Mexico. Turtle Time founder Eve Haverfield rescued sea turtles from nests on Aug. 2 and released them into the Gulf at Fort Myers Beach. Every morning volunteers of Turtle Time and other organizations check nests for hatchlings on Southwest Florida beaches to save hatchlings that don't make it to the Gulf. They are gathered and released in the evenings. This year has been a banner year for sea turtles. Last year at this time, numerous dead sea turtles were washing up Southwest Florida shores, having succumbed to red tide.

The few sections of Collier County beach that are little-used are that way because there’s no convenient parking or public access.

As much as people love their dogs, it’s difficult to imagine pet owners mustering enough support to add public beach accesses and parking just for them.

More:Smelly sargassum seaweed on Naples beaches may be 'new norm,' scientists say

And:10 things you need to know about sargassum seaweed

Brent Batten:Don't think of it as seaweed, think of it as a culinary windfall

Both the city and the county have inland parks where dogs are welcome to play off leash.

Collier relies on more populous Lee County for a few things. An international airport, professional sports franchises, a four-year state university.

There are at least two good reasons a dog beach should stay on that list.

Connect with Brent Batten at brent.batten@naplesnews.com, on Twitter @NDN_BrentBatten and at facebook.com/ndnbrentbatten.

More Brent Batten:Woodstock in Naples 50 years later would draw a (older) crowd

And:Brent Batten: It's growing season for Southwest Florida budget makers