Dog beach submerged under water, applications for permits suspended


Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

The dog beach, located off Sheridan Road south of Northwestern’s campus. The beach is now submerged under water.

Ryan Wangman, City Editor

On beaches this year in Evanston, the dog days of summer will likely be missing one key component: the dogs.

Evanston’s sole dog beach, located off Sheridan Road south of Northwestern’s campus, has fallen victim to the rising level of Lake Michigan. It is now submerged under water, Parks, Recreation and Community Services department director Lawrence Hemingway said. As a result, all applications for dog beach permits have been suspended, he said.

“It doesn’t make sense to take in applications for dog beach passes; it would be premature,” Hemingway said. “We don’t have a solution of what would take place.”

In addition to rising water levels, Hemingway said that due to sand erosion, wood pylons that were once covered by sand are now exposed and coming through the surface. He said the pylons would be a hazard for the dogs and owners who would be using the dog beach.

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said while she knew people would be disappointed with the news the city doesn’t have money budgeted to put in more sand, leaving residents to go with the “whims of mother nature.” She said if things change in the middle of the season, the dog beach will open up again. Based on what Hemingway has told her, Fiske said it doesn’t seem likely the beach will open at all.

“We have to live within the confines of what the lake allows us to do, and we’ve been lucky the years that we’ve had a beautiful, expansive dog beach, but more recently with the lake levels being so high we just don’t,” Fiske said.

The problem is not new for the dog beach.

In 2016, the beach did not open on time due to rising water levels. Former assistant city manager Marty Lyons said at the time that the submerged beach was a Great Lakes problem, not just an Evanston problem.

Looking ahead, Hemingway said the city is monitoring the status of the dog beach on a daily basis, and will have a better sense of the expected lake levels as the season changes from winter to spring. He said there is currently no other dog beach or space for one available, but that the dog park located at 3220 Oakton St. is an alternative for pet owners.

Fiske said the city will lose close to $80,000 of revenue that they usually gain from the dog beach permits, so the decision to close permits wasn’t taken lightly. She said even if the city spent thousands of dollars to bring in more sand, it would likely just wash away.

“It’s fun to go down there and sit on the rocks and watch the dogs play, but they have to have a beach to do that and right now we don’t have one,” Fiske said. “It’s a bummer, but it is what it is.”

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