You are here DEADLINE EXTENEDED - Comments on New GGNRA Plan now Due Friday, December 9, 2011

DEADLINE EXTENEDED - Comments on New GGNRA Plan now Due Friday, December 9, 2011


By sally - Posted on 02 November 2011

 
Please Comment on the GGNRA General Management Plan EIS
 
*** DEADLINE EXTENDED to Friday, December 9, 2011 ***

Note: This is a NEW GGNRA General Management Plan. It is not the GGNRA Dog Plan. Same issues and problems. This is yet another way they're trying to take recreation out of the GGNRA.
 
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) has released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new General Management Plan (GMP) that will govern how it manages the lands that it controls for the next 20 years (to see the GMP/EIS, go to: http://tinyurl.com/44bkx44). The plan redefines the mission of the GGNRA. When it was created in 1972, Congress mandated that the GGNRA’s mission was to provide “much-needed recreational open space.” This new General Management Plan will change that mission to be to provide a “national park experience.” The GGNRA interprets that new mission to mean little recreation.

The new GMP creates new management zones in the GGNRA. The word “recreation” does not occur in any of the new zones. Rather, the GGNRA identifies “diverse opportunity” zones that are the only zones in which any kind of recreation can occur.
 
The EIS analyzes the impacts in each county (Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo) of three alternatives based on the new zones. It then identifies a Preferred Alternative that would become the new General Management Plan. Not surprisingly, the area in the “natural” zones far exceeds the area in the “diverse opportunities” zones. Popular recreations such as dogwalking, picnicking, running, fishing, and informal beach sports will be excluded in the natural zones. The GGNRA is trying, once again, to treat the urban GGNRA like a remote, pristine wilderness like Yellowstone National Park.

It is critically important that people, especially people who go to the GGNRA for recreational purposes, to comment on the recently released GMP/EIS. Please take a few minutes to let the GGNRA know that this change is NOT acceptable.
 
Public comment has been extended and is now due by 10 pm (PST) on Friday, December 9, 2011
 
You can comment online at: http://tinyurl.com/44bkx44   orhttp://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=303&projectID=15075&documentID=43168
 
Or mail a written comment to, or you hand deliver your comment to:
Superintendent, GGNRA                                                                                                           Attn: Draft GMP/EIS                                                                                                Building 201, Fort Mason                                                                                                 San Francisco, CA 94123                                                                                              (note: your comment must be received on Friday, December 9 for it to be counted, so get it in the mail before then)
 
SFDOG will post more background on the GGNRA GMP/EIS in the next day or so. Check back to see if it has been posted.

 
Some suggested comments (thanks to saveoffleash.com for these):
 
Always Include:
 
Specific Opposition: Oppose the draft foundational purpose and all management alternatives for park lands in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties; the plan is deceptive and disregards the legislative mandate to “preserve for public use and enjoyment” and “provide for the maintenance of needed recreational open space”. The plan effectively seeks to change the enabling legislation (which is unlawful without an Act of Congress) and also does not restore and maintain the recreational value agreed to when SF deeded Ocean Beach and Fort Funston to the US government.
 
Who You Are: Where you live and what makes you unique.  For example, what parts of the GGNRA do you visit, how often, what you do, how you and others benefit from recreation in the GGNRA (e.g., physical, mental and socialization).  Also include if you belong to a group that represents the wide diversity of GGNRA regulars – seniors, kids, people with disabilities, gay and straight, all ethnic groups, all religions, all social and economic classes – all interacting in positive ways.   Include how these lands encourage you and your family to get out and move more and interact with nature and others.
 
Add Your Own Comments: If possible, review the plan (e.g., the locations and sites that you frequent most) and add you own unique and in depth thoughts and concerns.
 
 
General Comments to be included(always include):
 
Purpose:  The GGNRA Foundational Purpose should not be to “offer a national park experience” as the GMP says. The Purpose needs to specifically include the legislative mandate to preserve for “public use and enjoyment” and “provide for the maintenance of needed recreational open space”, and the plan needs to comply with the legislative mandate. The plan is not only a significant change from both the legislative mandate but also from the existing 1980 general management plan, which was highly supported by the public.
 
Goals:   Recreation needs to be the highest priority goal for evaluating all plans, and none of the plan alternatives provide the needed recreational open space for public use and enjoyment.  Recreation, the health and well-being of people, and the impact on local communities are not even a stated goals ofAlternative 1: Connecting People with the Parks, which is the Park Service’s preferred plan for all traditional recreation areas.
 
Social Value:  The Social and Economic Value of the recreational areas needs to be included in the plan’s introduction and summary; not obscured in Volume III of the plan. The public and decision makers need to fully understand how vital the GGNRA is to the health and well being of millions of people and local communities.
 
Remove “Aggressively” and “Controlled Access”:The goal of the Plan should be to increase, not decrease, recreational use. Except for highly sensitive areas, remove “involve controlled access” and “aggressively administer”. These lands are part of local communities where millions of people should be actively encouraged to continue enjoying regular relaxation, exercise, and inspiration that make it one of the most valued and visited lands in America.
 
Problems with Public Comment Process: This plan was not publicized in an adequate or timely manner, and even the 60-day public comment period is not adequate to allow for meaningful participation by the general public.  There were no public hearings held at which people could testify about their concerns.
 
The 1980 GMP “won the unanimous support of the community” over a five-year period, while this new draft plan only allows 47 days from the date of the press releasefor the community to learn about the draft plan, understand the major changes proposed, and respond.

 
Some Additional Comments (include as many or as few as you want):
 
Nature in Neighborhoods Not Backcountry: The GGNRA is not the equivalent of the vast Yosemite wilderness and should not be misrepresented as an idealized “backcountry”. Neighborhood trails and beaches should not be managed to artificially exclude people so that a selected few have “solitary” and narrowly defined recreational experiences and expect others to drive farther away and increase crowding in a few small “diverse opportunity” areas.  In the true backcountry, unlike these high usage areas, the low volume of visitation automatically minimizes any long-term impacts on nature, and people receive less guidance and must take greater personal responsibility for personal safety.  Higher visitation warrants greater care not less.
 
Also, the GGNRA is not a wildlife refuge; other large areas in the Bay Area and Northern California are designated as wildlife refuges, bird sanctuaries, and critical habitats for endangered birds, but not the GGNRA.
 
Recreation Facilities First: Recreation facilities and transportation should be identified as having the highest priority for discretionary funding. High visitation areas like Fort Funston and Ocean Beach have almost no facilities, and Stinson Beach facilities are in need of urgent repair. A stated goal of GGNRA is to connect people to parks, yet once they arrive, there are not adequate facilities for basic visitor needs, such as water fountains and bathrooms. Private groups have had to install water fountains and perform basic maintenance on them at Fort Funston. Paved walking paths are crumbling and eroding at Fort Funston and at parking areas along the Great Highway at Ocean Beach.
 
Monitoring:  Scientific studies and monitoring programs for recreation and the local ecosystems, not just endangered species and non-native species, need to be a core competency of the GGNRA. In order to fulfill the mission to conserve parks unimpaired, the Park Service needs to comply with federal law and Park Service policies and guidance on monitoring. These programs should be the core for maintaining and improving the recreational, scenic and natural value of the park for future generations.
 
Science not Dogma:  Management decisions should be based on conclusive science, not on preference and anecdotal evidence. Any recreational closures should be supported by detailed and clear evidence that is immediately available to the public and, if challenged, must be independently reviewed. The GGNRA should not be allowed to use arbitrary decisions to create new wildlife or native plant corridors that displace recreation, without a public comment process and scientific evidence supporting the need for a change.
 
The 1980 GMP “won the unanimous support of the community” over a five-year period, while this new draft plan only allows 47 days from the date of the press releasefor the community to learn about the draft plan, understand the major changes proposed, and respond. This is not a sufficient or reasonable timeframe for public review and input to a long-range plan that affects one of the most popular and highly visited areas managed by the National Park Service.

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