An Anchorage woman is leading a fight to keep dogs and other domestic animals out of the Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area.

The 60-acre parcel borders the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge in the Sand Lake area, offering a unique view of wildlife including migrating sandhill cranes.

Barbara Carlson, head of the nonprofit group Friends of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, who is backing the effort, said dogs have posed a continuing problem to sensitive wildlife. Even the scent of domestic animals, she says, can chase wild ones away.

"Just their very presence," Carlson said. "Even if they are on a leash they appear as predators to most wildlife, even if they are very well-behaved."

The estuary area isn't managed by the city as a park -- it's more of a nature preserve where dogs have never been allowed.

A sign at the Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area explains why dogs aren't allowed in the area. (Credit: File/KTVA)

Although signs are posted saying dogs aren't allowed, Carlson said some people routinely ignore them. She thinks it's time for a law that would ban domestic animals from the area, and make bringing them there illegal.

"Laws help us live together more harmoniously, and I think that will help here," Carlson said.

Carlson said most people do comply, once they understand why dogs are a problem.

"I think a lot of people just don't realize," Carlson said. "We've explained this to a lot of people who say, 'Thank you for the explanation,' and they come back without their dogs to enjoy this another time while they take their dogs elsewhere."

According to Carlson, there is support for enacting the law from the city Parks and Recreation Department as well as neighboring community councils.

Ultimately, any ban on pets in the estuary would have to be approved by the Anchorage Assembly.

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