Should Dog Walking Be Banned On UCSC’s Coastal Campus?


Readers of this blog may recall our coverage of Santa Cruz County’s off leash dog debate. Well, virtually the same issue appears to be coming again to the fore, this time involving the university.

UC Santa Cruz recently unveiled plans to ban all dog walking – leashed or unleashed – on its marine campus near the Younger Lagoon Reserve. Many local dog walkers had been used to taking strolls along the trail at the end of Delaware Street, but now would have to stop out of concern for the native wildlife around the lagoon.

The lagoon is one of 39 nature reserves in the UC System. University officials point out that all the other reserves forbid dogs from entering, as the sites are meant for research and learning about local flora and fauna. Dog owners, on the other hand, point out that the vast majority of walkers are responsible for the pets and make sure to pick up after their dogs. Furthermore, the new $54 million biology building the university is building there will surely have a larger impact on the environment than any amount of dog walking.

UC Santa Cruz officials plan to accept community input over the next month on the proposed rules, which are scheduled to go into effect June 1st.

Should dogs be banned on UCSC’s coastal campus? Vote and comment on the proposal here.

Should dog walking be banned on UCSC’s coastal campus?

UC Santa Cruz recently unveiled plans to ban all dog walking – leashed or unleashed – on its marine campus near the Younger Lagoon Reserve.



  1. Once again, Russell, Civinomics has mischaracterized this issue and made it more controversial than it is. This is not the same issue as the debate over the push for the County to allow off-leash dogs on a County beach.

    The University is not proposing to ban dog-walking on its marine lab campus. The University is making it explicit that its long-term ban on non-research animals on campus applies to the marine lab campus as well.

    The fact that dog owners have been ignoring this rule for a long time does not make it mandatory that the University should rescind the rule for those who have been ignoring it. Nor is it a matter of “My use of this property is less of an impact than your use of the property.”

    Many dog owners have an inflated sense of entitlement, that they should be able to use any open space as a toilet for their dogs, regardless of ownership. The University has no responsibility to provide toilet facilities for dogs, nor for exercise areas for dogs. They have their own plans for the property that meet their own goals.

    The impact of dogs on wildlife is a concern in any open, undeveloped area, especially when off-leash dogs are present. Many dog owners do keep their dogs on leash, and many dog owners do not. We see dogs running off-leash everyone in the County, on school playgrounds, on the beaches, in parks, on private property. Those dog owners who repeatedly and deliberately flout the County and City leash laws have made it increasingly difficult for law-abiding dog owners to find places to exercise their animals.

    The University is not the County or the City. The University has no obligation to provide facilities for County pets.

    • Russell Sterten says:

      Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. To explain why I presented the issue the way I did, the Sentinel article I linked in this post, “UCSC plans dog ban at coastal campus,” seems to imply that this is, indeed, a policy change. The article quotes Beth Howard, Younger Lagoon Reserve manager, as saying that there used to be an on-leash policy for dog walkers but that the problem is too many dogs are let off-leash in the area. The article also says that the complete dog ban in the area was proposed as part of the university’s Coastal Long Range Development Plan (I’ve now included that as a resource in the initiative).

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