Dog Management in the GGNRA
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Dog Management in the GGNRA

Golden Gate Bird Alliance has long advocated for reasonable management of on- and off-leash dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Current dog-related recreation is managed under the 1979 Pet Policy, which is not a legal regulation and which fails to protect wildlife, habitat, and park visitors.

In 2013, the National Park Service released its revised proposed Dog Management Rule and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to manage dog-related recreation in the GGNRA. The proposed rule is the biggest accommodation for on- and off-leash dogs in the National Park System.

The proposed Rule allows for four off-leash dog areas and 21 miles of on-leash dog recreation in the San Francisco portion of the GGNRA. No other National Park allow off-leash dogs, and most limit on-leash dogs to a few paved trails.

GGNRA needs to accommodate many users -- families, cyclists, dog owners and nature lovers, as well as wildlife.  / Photo by Allen HirschGGNRA needs to accommodate many users — families, cyclists, dog owners and nature lovers, as well as wildlife. / Photo by Allen Hirsch

Golden Gate Bird Alliance supports better regulation of dogs in the GGNRA. While we believe that the proposed regulation is a good first step, the proposed rule does not adequately protect park resources.

We encourage you to share your opinions and experiences with the National Park Service. Click here to file an online comment. The NPS is accepting comments through February 18, 2014.

In our comments, we will emphasize the following points: 

  • The GGNRA should provide more opportunities for visitors to recreate in the GGNRA in San Francisco without interacting with dogs.  Currently, the Preferred Alternatives only provide a few areas where visitors, including those with small children, may go without having to interact with dogs. Many parents and grandparents have told us they will not take children to areas where there are many off-leash dogs. This is not fair to community members that have a right to enjoy the park without fear or discomfort due to the presence of dogs. 
  • Off-leash areas should be well defined by a physical barrier. Park visitors should have the choice of interacting with dogs during their park experience, rather than having the choice made for them. Clearly defined on- and off-leash areas will allow dog owners and other visitors to know where dog-related recreation is appropriate. It will also better protect sensitive wildlife and habitat resources, reduce conflicts with other users, and allow for less controversial enforcement of the new rules. 
  • The SEIS fails to establish that “voice control” is a valid method of controlling off-leash dogs.
Oakland’s bird-safe building rules in the SF Chronicle

Oakland’s bird-safe building rules in the SF Chronicle

The S.F. Chronicle ran a nice story on July 8th on Oakland’s new bird-safe building rules, which Golden Gate Bird Alliance suggested and helped develop.

You can read the Chronicle story here.

Or click here for our blog post on the new rules (including a link to the rules themselves), which make Oakland the third major city in North America to adopt such standards.  The other two cities are Toronto and San Francisco.

Thank you, Oakland! And thank you to GGBA staffer Noreen Weeden who worked with Oakland city planners on drafting the rules.…


Sharp Park Restoration in San Francisco – Mayor Vetoes

On December 19, 2011 San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee vetoed proposed legislation to restore Sharp Park.

This legislation which was sponsored by Supervisor Avalos was supported by 36 community and environmental groups and approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Read Bay Citizen coverage of this veto : Lee Sides with Golfers

Golden Gate Bird Alliance supports legislation to restore the wetlands and Sharp Park and to transfer the long term management of the Park to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.   This is the best solution in terms of the endangered species protection while meeting the current recreational needs of San Franciscans. 

1) Today send an email or call each of the supervisors on the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee:

Supervisor John Avalos email John.Avalos@sfgov (415) 554-6975
Supervisor Eric Mar email (415) 554-7410
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd email (415) 554-6516
2) Attend the hearing on Monday, December 5, 2011 starts at 10:00 a.m.
SF City Hall, City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee – Legislative Chamber Room 250

Why restore the Sharp Park wetlands and create a new public park in San Francisco?
·    To protect, recover, and ensure the long term survival of two federally-listed endangered species, the San Francisco garter and the California red-legged frog in the area.
·     Since 2004 Sharp Park has lost an average of $162,000 each year on a park that continues to inflict harm on wildlife.
·     Closing the course will save additional millions of dollars by eliminating the obligation for costly infrastructure projects needed to protect the park against sea level rise, costs from failing to comply with federal environmental laws.
·      The money saved would allow San Francisco to improve currently underfunded neighborhood parks, community centers, education programs, local jobs, and/or social services within the community. 
·       Resources for more popular recreational activities, such as hiking and biking, would benefit more people, rather than investing additional money to improve this golf course.  Sharp Park Golf Course has received failing reviews in nearly every category the National Golf Foundation measures.
What will the Sharp Park legislation do?
·      The legislation directs the Recreation & Park Department to partner and create a long-term management agreement with the National Park Service including a financial roadmap, and address urgent environmental and infrastructure needs. ·        Sharp Park would be transformed from golf to a new public park emphasizing trail-based recreation and would be managed by the National Park Service.…

Beach Chalet Soccer Fields in Golden Gate Park

The SF Recreation and Parks Dept. is proposing to replace 9 acres of open, naturally-growing grass in Golden Gate Park with synthetic turf and to install several 60-foot tall lights that will illuminate the western end of Golden Gate Park for the first time.  This project will remove important wildlife habitat, increase disturbances to neighbors and wildlife, and violate the Golden Gate Park Master Plan.

What can you do?

1) Attend the Draft Environmental Impact Report Hearing at the Planning Commission:

 Thursday, December 1, 2011 starts at 5:00pm Location: San Francisco Planning Commission, Room 400 San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

2) Submit comments by December 12 at 5:00pm on this project to

Mr. Bill Wycko, Environmental Review Officer

San FranciscoPlanning Department, 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco,CA94103


What are the concerns with this project?

  • Removal of 9 acres of natural grass which provides habitat to birds, butterflies and other wildlife and there is no mitigation proposed
  • Installation of 10-60’ towers with stadium lighting that will remain on until 10:00pm every night.  Artificial lighting has been shown to draw birds off course during migration.  This site is within the Pacific Flyway, inGolden GateParkand 1000 feet fromOceanBeach. 
  • The lighting will negatively impact nesting birds and other species that depend on the area surrounding the soccer fields as habitat.
  • There is no recycling of the artificial turf plastic and tire crumb rubber, in 8-10 years 400 tons of debris will go to the landfill.
  • It is much less expensive and more environmentally sustainable for the City to restore the natural grass fields.
  • This is a onetime gift to the City.  When the artificial turf fields need to be replaced in 8-10 years where will the millions of dollars come from?

Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director

In the news:

San Francisco Bay Guardian article “Whose Park?” November 30, 2011…

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