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BLOG: Six tips to protect your family and animals in our parks

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Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.

1. LOCK YOUR CAR AND SECURE YOUR BELONGINGS

Park rangers and law enforcement are on duty at select county parks for your safety. However, leave your valuables at home if arriving by car. Don’t leave bags, boxes, cell phones and other electronics or money in view inside your vehicle. Be sure to lock them in your trunk out of view before you arrive. Finally, lock all your doors and windows when leaving your car.

 2. USE SUN PROTECTION AND STAY HYDRATED

Sun protection and hydration are especially important in South Florida’s climate. Follow these tips for proper sun protection:

  • Be especially cautious from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • If you run out of water, most county parks have drinking fountains near the restrooms.
  • Apply and re-apply sunscreen. Coconut Cove Waterpark west of Boca Raton and select beach parks offer free sunscreen from dispensers.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when possible.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear flip-flops or shoes when walking on sand to avoid burning your feet.

3. LEARN TRASH-IN, TRASH-OUT LOCATIONS

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation has designated certain parks with trash-in, trash-out policies, including Riverbend Park in Jupiter and many neighborhood parks. We ask park visitors to dispose of their trash outside the park. This ensures a clean habitat for the animals in our parks and helps maintain an aesthetic environment for park visitors while reducing maintenance costs.

4. COEXIST WITH ANIMALS

Our parks are home to hundreds of animal species. From birds and tortoises to bobcats and alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem. Disturbing these animals may harm them and their ecosystems, yourself and the people around you. Please maintain a safe distance and don’t approach animals when you encounter them.

The parks department discourages feeding wildlife because it reduces animals’ foraging skills and their natural fear of humans, and it could create safety issues. Please notice signs in many of our parks denoting safety recommendations for areas that may be home to alligators.

See our blog for a video on coexisting with our parks’ animals.

5. KNOW WHERE YOU CAN BRING YOUR DOG

Dogs are permitted in most county parks if they’re on a leash no longer than 6 feet. However, dogs are not allowed at county beaches, pools, water parks, splash parks and these other locations.

We operate three spacious, well-maintained dog parks for your furry friends to run, jump and play. Big or small, your pooch will have fun at these three dog parks.

6. STAY ON DESIGNATED PATHS

We make it easy to explore our natural areas with park and trail maps. Veering off into areas not meant for exploration may disturb animals and plants and could pose a safety risk to your family. Please observe these areas from the designated trails and paths, using maps and guides for assistance.

As the saying goes, #pbcParks asks that you “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time” to fully enjoy our parks.

Park rangers are often nearby to assist you and watch out for your well-being. Call 561-252-1714 or email pbcparkrangers@pbcgov.org if you have a question for a Palm Beach County park ranger.


Bibi Baksh is public relations specialist for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

 

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