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Dog Owners Encouraged to “Lead the Pack - Bag and Bin It” in the CRNRA

Three million people visit the CRNRA every year, and many of them are dog-walkers. The percentage of Atlantans that own dogs is 37.6%. With over 6 million residents, that’s a lot of dogs, and a lot of dog waste. The volume and distribution of dog waste and bags left on the ground has increased even more as people seek to spend time outdoors in the CRNRA during the COVID pandemic.

During fall 2020, 37 new dog waste bins, funded by CNPC and NPS, were installed throughout the CRNRA. Bins can now be found in all 15 CRNRA park units, with additional bins in high-use areas. The new dog waste bins include free waste bags and disposal bins to encourage visitors to properly dispose of their dog’s waste at the park.

The “Lead the Pack – Bag and Bin It” campaign is the culmination of three years of work by CNPC, CRNRA, and students from Atlanta’s Miami Ad School studying how to reduce inappropriate dog waste in the park and river and to encourage dog owners to pick up and properly dispose of their dogs’ waste. The partnership led to a creative campaign to educate visitors about the ecological importance of proper waste disposal and a goal to make dog waste stations more accessible in areas of high visitation throughout the Park. The new waste stations include signage using a design created by Miami Ad School students.

  • The Chattahoochee River provides 70% of the drinking water for approximately 5 million people in metro Atlanta.

  • According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report, dog waste is a primary source of fecal contamination in the Chattahoochee River. (Microbial Source Tracking in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Science Direct, March 2020)

  • Dog waste is not fertilizer. It contains deadly bacteria that enters the ecosystem and the water supply, which can be transmitted directly to humans and make them sick.

  • Bacteria levels in the Chattahoochee River often exceed EPA standards, making the river unsafe for swimming and water recreation such as kayaking and fishing.

  • Leaving dog waste on the ground along the trail or in areas off the trail is not “natural.” It kills plants and contaminates the soil and the watershed.

  • Bagging dog waste and leaving the bags on the ground is bad for the park, the land, the watershed, and the river. NO ONE COMES BY TO PICK UP THESE BAGS.

  • Even if the bags are biodegradable, the dog waste will still contaminate the ground or nearby water sources and requires proper disposal in designated waste bins.

  • Leashes for dogs are required at all times in the CRNRA.

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Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system managed by the National Park Service.



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