For dog lovers, few sights bring more joy than watching man’s best friend run free and unfettered on a beach. In the Bay Area, one of the top places to enjoy the privilege has always been Muir Beach, a gorgeous strand in Marin County bounded by high bluffs, habitat-sensitive wetlands and a lagoon.
Dogs have always been allowed on leash or under voice control in designated areas here, but they may not be for much longer. The same goes for Baker Beach, parts of Crissy Field, the beach at Fort Funston and the trails at Sweeney Ridge.
Already strict leash laws have been imposed on Rancho Corral de Tierra, a newly acquired, 3,800-acre parcel of undeveloped land near Montara where generations of residents have allowed their dogs to run leash-free.
Sound straightforward? Hardly. Figuring out what the park service has in mind, much less what it eventually will decide, has proved confusing for residents and visitors who frequent the GGNRA with their dogs. For those interested in learning more or getting involved, here are some resources:
• Areas currently open and closed to dogs.
• Draft dog management plan (1,500 pages; note that “Alternative F” in the charts is the one preferred and likely to be implemented by the National Park Service.)
• Maps of impacted areas in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties (click corresponding links at bottom of page to download pdfs.)
• San Francisco “before and after” maps from Ocean Beach Dog Owners Group, an advocacy group, show areas where dogs are allowed now and what the same areas might look like once the dog-management plan goes through. This group also prepared an impact map for Marin County.