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Sandburg Home hosts 'BARK Ranger Day'

Gracie and her owner Maggie are regular hikers at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Gracie and her owner Maggie are regular hikers at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.

FLAT ROCK — Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and the Blue Ridge Humane Society will co-host Sandburg’s first “BARK Ranger Day”on Saturday, March 28. With short training sessions led by a certified dog trainer, visitors and their leashed dogs will learn ways to safely explore park trails. Upon completion of one training session, participants will be sworn in as "BARK Rangers” and receive an official Carl Sandburg Home “BARK Ranger” dog tag.

Three 30-minute training sessions will be offered at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 in the park’s amphitheater. Crystal Tysz, a certified dog trainer, will share tips about dog manners and safety on trails. Participants do not need to sign up for these training sessions. All dogs must be on a 6-foot or shorter leash. Please allow at least 30 minutes to park and walk from any Sandburg parking lot to the amphitheater, so you aren’t late for a training session.

Other planned activities include “Howlkus” (writing poetry about your dog) and “Pawtraits,” in which you can draw your pet or get an ink stamp of your dog’s paw.

BARK Ranger is a national program and stands for Bag your pet’s waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife, and Know where you can go. Sandburg’s Bark Ranger Day is supported by the Blue Ridge Humane Society and the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, the park’s philanthropic partner.

"Carl Sandburg Home National Historic is a beautiful park nestled in the heart of our community," said Blue Ridge Humane Society Executive Director Angela Prodrick. "We are happy to do our part to educate pet owners on the small steps they can take with each visit to keep the park pristine and beautiful for years to come,"

“We’re excited to partner with the Blue Ridge Humane Society so dogs and their humans can ‘start off on the right paw’ and learn how to share forest trails with the numerous plant and animal species that live in the forest,” said Park Superintendent Polly Angelakis.

BARK Ranger information will be available year round in the park store, located on the ground floor of the Sandburg home, at the Blue Ridge Humane Society, and at other local shelters interested in partnering with the park. Learn more about the BARK Ranger program in national parks at

To ensure a pawtastic day for all at the event, please consider the following.

  • Enjoy being together while you explore by using your dog’s favorite leash, only up to 6 ft. Help your dog by staying in control.
  • Public events can be busy places with a lot of stimuli for dogs. Keep them calm so they can have a good time with you on a special day out.
  • Check your dog’s health and mood before they join us. If your dog is not feeling 100% or seems irritable, please keep them home for the day. You will be showing them just as much love by letting them rest at home.
  • Keep your dog hydrated. Bring a portable dish and treats for your furry friend.