A White Bear Lake dog beach will remain open after about 20 locals testified in favor of keeping a place for their canine friends to swim.
The White Bear Lake City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the dog beach at Matoska Park open, despite a recommendation from the city's Park Advisory Commission to open the space instead to boats and people, Council Member Bill Walsh said.
"There's really nothing like that beach that we have anywhere close to White Bear Lake," Walsh said. "There are places where you can throw a buoy out ... but you're not going to go in the water because it's mucky. The unique part is people can be in the water with their dogs."
The Park Advisory Commission voted Jan. 19 to recommend closing the dog park due to high boat traffic, said commission member Dan Louismet. Neighbors also had complained of barking and dogs on their property.
Dog owners will have to abide by new rules for the beach. Dogs must be kept on a 30-foot leash and be licensed in the owner's home city.
The park was approved for canine visitors in 2007. Low water levels provide enough room for dogs to run around and exercise, Walsh said.
"It's kind of a victim of its own success," he said. "If the water level comes back aggressively, it won't work so well for a dog beach."
The Park Advisory Commission and City Council will reevaluate things in a year, after testing the new policies this summer, Louismet said.
Ramsey County shut down a dog pond last month near the Rice Creek Off-Leash Dog Area in Shoreview due to wetland damage.
Jessie Bekker is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.