Health, Safety, And Special Needs
Health and Safety Concerns
Much of the Meher Center property is a natural habitat which supports a diverse ecosystem. Guests should be aware of the concerns native wildlife may present.
Ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes, most active from April through October, are a frequent cause of discomfort. To reduce the risk of tick, chigger, and mosquito bites, guests should stay on the roads and walking paths (and not venture into the underbrush), keep well covered, and use insect repellent. Copies of our “Tick Fact Sheet” are available at the Center’s Gateway office at check-in.
Raccoons seeking food are an ongoing concern, especially at night. Food should not be kept on screened porches or in open cars. The alligators, which frequent the lakes and lakeside areas, should be treated with extreme caution. For ecological and safety reasons wildlife should never be fed—feeding the alligators is especially dangerous. Snakes, both poisonous and nonpoisonous, are commonly encountered on the Center—snakes won’t bite unless they are surprised or stepped on. All visitors must carry a flashlight at night and wear covered shoes at all times while outdoors—sandals are not permitted. Children should be carefully supervised at all times and made aware that wildlife must not be approached or handled.
South Carolina sun is deceptively strong and sunburn is always a risk. Those planning to be outdoors for long periods or on the beach should bring sunscreen and hats. The ocean is beautiful but should be treated with respect. Those wishing to swim should be aware of the dangers of riptides, jellyfish, and even sharks at times. Guests should never swim alone and should not use floats. As the Center beach is a public county area outside of the city of Myrtle Beach, there are no lifeguards or regular safety patrols.
Several cabins equipped with ramps and bathrooms designed for guests with special needs are available for overnight retreats. Most public buildings have ramp entrances and wheelchair accessible bathrooms; handicap parking areas are provided near public buildings and designated cabins for overnight guests.
Retreat guests requiring the assistance of a helper while staying on Center are charged only a nightly fee single rate. Helper assistants are encouraged for those with special needs due to the rustic nature of the Center’s accommodations and grounds.
Meher Center Service Dog Policy
Visitors requiring the assistance of a service dog are welcome to participate in every aspect of the Center with full use of all facilities. Day visitors to the Center and guests making overnight reservations who will be bringing a service dog must inform the Gateway staff in advance so that appropriate cabin assignments and other accommodations can be made.
A service dog is a dog that is trained to do work or perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Service dogs are working animals, not pets. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support are not considered service dogs, but are considered pets. Center policy does not allow pets to be brought to the Center.
Center service dog guidelines are as follows:
- the care of a service dog brought to the Center is the sole responsibility of the visitor.
- the service dog must be under the visitor’s control at all times, and always on a leash when outdoors or in public buildings.
- the service dog’s waste must be collected and disposed of appropriately.
- the service dog may not be left alone at any time while the visitor is on Center, including in the visitor’s cabin or car.
- the service dog must be discouraged from barking—owners should expect that other guests may be surprised to encounter a dog on the Center due to the general guideline prohibiting pets.