Dogs are welcome at Pinecrest Lake, the alpine recreation area in Tuolumne County. But they have to be on leashes and they have to stay out of certain areas. If not, their owners risk receiving citations.
That's the gist of a reminder issued this week by the U.S. Forest Service, which governs Pinecrest.
Problems have cropped up within the day-use area, one of the most congested parts of Pinecrest, said Jerry Snyder, Stanislaus National Forest public affairs officer. It is the area between the marina and the fishing pier and includes the beaches and amphitheater.
Dogs are allowed in other areas within Pinecrest as long as they're on a leash.
Snyder said the restrictions for dogs have been in place from May 15 to Sept. 15 since 2004, though enforcement has been spotty.
This week's announcement came after people repeatedly brought dogs into the day-use area despite posted signs, stenciled walkways and other reminders from the Forest Service.
Snyder said there have been problems with dogs barking, dog waste on the beaches and in the picnic area, and dogs fighting. A handful of visitors have been bitten.
"We have given verbal warnings in the past and will now start handing out violation notices," he said.
The fine is $50 plus $25 for court fees. Snyder said the fines are similar to those for a traffic violation.
Visitors are able to walk their dogs around the lake on a designated trail along the south edge of the marina and beach.
On summer weekends, there can be as many as 10,000 visitors in the Pinecrest area, Snyder said.