Lake Junaluska, NC - Consider this a swan song of sorts. Starting in September Lake Junaluska will implement a “no feeding” policy to alleviate the growing population of the water fowl.
If you’ve ever pushed a stroller, jogged, walked your dog or even ridden a bike on the path, you know the inherent risk of stepping in or rolling through a puddle, pool or pile of nasty green and white droppings that force users to hopscotch their way around the lake at times. It smells bad and looks worse, said Buddy Young, director of Assembly Public Works at Lake Junaluska. “We have more complaints about geese and their droppings than almost anything else we’re involved in,” he said. “People complain about how unsanitary and disgusting it is, and they’re right.”
Come September, the lake will ban the feeding of the ducks and geese to help reduce the amount of fowl droppings that covers the heavily-used sidewalks and walking path at the popular conference and retreat center. Eliminating the free and easy food, which often consists of cheap store-bought bread, will also help encourage the fowl to move farther south in the winter for food.
“If they find enough food to overwinter on Lake Junaluska they’ll do that instead of migrating farther south to find food,” said John Macemore, boating technician supervisor with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission. “[The bread] is not the best thing for them. It doesn’t have much nutritional value to it.”
The decision to ban the popular past time was not made lightly, Young said. “We realize that most people believe in their hearts that they are helping these geese when they feed them, but they are not. It’s disrupting their migrating instincts and the bread they’re being fed is just not nutritionally sound. The Junaluska Assembly Community Council did not make this decision without a lot of discussion. It was not an easy decision to make.”
Young said signs will be posted around the lake and information handouts will be available to alert people to the new “no feeding” policy. And he’s aware that it could take years for the water fowl to leave.
“This may turn out not to work, but we’re trying. Every browser search we looked at for geese control said to put a stop to feeding the geese.”
For more information about migrating water fowl, visit www.ncwildlife.org.