The 4,700-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area was created in the 1970s with substantial donation of land from the City of San Francisco. From that day to this, residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties have flocked to the GGNRA for its designated purpose: multiple-use recreation for urban residents.
Only 1 percent of the GGNRA allows dogs at all. However, since management was turned over to the National Park Service, the feds have made repeated attempts to transform these urban parklands into essentially dog-free wilderness areas à la Yosemite National Park. Only the most determined efforts of the local dog community (which have included lawsuits and threats by the City of San Francisco to repossess its land) have forestalled previous federal efforts that would have made such beloved destinations as Fort Funston and Crissy Field largely off limits to dogs.
Now they're back with a formidable proposal, the "preferred alternative" management plan, which all but eliminates off-leash access in most of these areas (see images of current and proposed off-leash access at Fort Funston). This stands to become official policy late next year unless it's stopped. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's recent editorial sums up why this proposal is bad policy, even if you don't have a dog.
If you value off-leash access to these destinations, now's the time to stand up for yourself and your dog. EcoDog, a coalition that includes local dog groups as well as the San Francisco SPCA and the Marin Humane Society, offer useful information on how to most effectively make your views known to park service. The April 14, 2011 deadline for comments has been extended to May 30. Post comments here—and be sure to follow the directions exactly or your opinions will not be counted.
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is calling for a hearing on this issue, April 11, 2011 at 1 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall, committee room #263.
Photo: "Dog on Funston Beach" – Mioi