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Sample Comment Letter #1
This is a sample letter. Do not copy all or part of it, but use it to see how one person organized their thoughts about the GGNRA's plans.
Frank Dean, General Superintendent
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco CA 94123-0022
Re: Draft Dog Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Dear Superintendent Dean,
My name is XXXX, age 67, former City College instructor, now retired. I have lived in San Francisco for 40 years, and have owned my home in the West of Twin Peaks Area for over 30 years. Since owning my home, I have had a number of active and well behaved and well trained dogs. Being a responsible dog guardian, I have always kept my dogs under voice control and in my sight when walking them in any area where they are off leash. At Fort Funston, where I walk my three dogs frequently, I have always cleaned up after them, and kept them from passing into the fenced off areas.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS VS OFF-LEASH DOG AREAS
At Fort Funston , to the south of the large parking area, considerable areas have been replanted, and there the newly planted and developing areas are clearly indicated with environmental barriers. I find this very attractive, easy to see and respect. I applaud the work of those who have done this planting. As a concerned environmentalist, and a member of Sierra Club of many years, I am delighted to see this work which enhances and area and allows visitors to see sections of native planting take hold.
I might mention that at other areas of Fort Funston a number of years ago, fenced off areas (with dunes and iceplant) were fairly clearly marked, but currently the fences and signs are in poor enough shape as to be quite unnoticeable. Newcomers to the area can be excused for not “seeing” which areas to keep out of. I consider these folks to be uneducated rather than irresponsible. Better fencing and better signage indicating the
current off-leash areas is clearly called for to maintain and protect the environment.
I have trouble with the GGNRA’s preferred alternative plan in that it severely limits and affects the off leash dog walking area at Fort Funston.
From the maps I have seen, the preferred alternative off leash area is bound by the large and always busy parking lot , steep cliffs and one paved walkway and one sanded path. Most of the day there are many dogs and walkers in that area now, but most of them are on their way heading to or from a longer walk. I am concerned that, if the number of dogs allowed to play off leash in that area, and that area only, increases hugely (as it will), the cliffs and the parking lot become major safety concerns. Furthermore, the severe crowding together of exercise-needing and excited canines becomes a safety issue too for both dogs and people. I feel that the DEIS has failed to analyze the impact of restricting the off-leash area at Fort Funston.
RECREATION and SOCIAL FACTORS for people
The GGNRA site at Fort Funston allows me and so many other urban residents the recreation that we need. Having increasing mobility problems, I try to walk frequently and purposefully as often as I can, and the hike from the Fort Funston parking area to the on-leash-from-here sign to the north (I don’t know the name of that area; there is a lovely bench where one can fully relax for awhile and enjoy the view) makes a perfect distance. I do know, however, that I would not want to take that walk with two or three of my dogs on leash. I have large dogs, and at 10 ½, 9, and 2 ½ years old, their walking paces and needs are very different, and walking two or three of them on leash for a distance would be quite uncomfortable for me. (Fortunately, they are tired enough at the end of a walk to come to me happily and we walk on leash back to the car.) Also, my dogs actually need
more vigorous exercise than I can give them on leash. The current availability of paved trail and off-leash running at Fort Funston perfectly accommodates the recreational needs of citizens of people like myself, and allows us to keep ourselves and our wonderful companions healthy and exercised.
There is another social aspect to Draft Dog Management Plan that disturbs me. Our daily walks, necessitated by our dogs’ need for exercise, also allow us to get out of our homes and socialize with others. One can, of course, avoid “chatting” with others, but at the same time and if one wants, it is always easy to begin conversations with other dog walkers. Always pleasant, often informative, never awkward….such encounters, even brief ones, help one feel less alone, less isolated. Indeed, most of the friends and acquaintances that I have made since retiring have been made while pursuing canine activities. I treasure this aspect of my frequent dog walks. I trust I speak for many, many other SF residents that I meet daily.
What is true is that conversations are rarely if ever started between folks who have dogs on leash. For one thing, one doesn’t know why a leash is being used. Is the dog aggressive? Is the untrained? Is the dog getting used to a new owner? Will dogs get defensive or protective? Will dogs tangle up if they are near? There are so many possibilities that folks with dogs are far less likely to approach others when there are leashes at work.
In May of this year, I attended an Open House put on by the GGNRA (at San Francisco State University), and had an opportunity to observe the plans for changes at Fort Funston. The allowable off-leash area currently available at Fort Funston perfectly meets the recreational and social needs of people and dogs alike. I feel that the “preferred alternative” choice that I learned of failed, seriously, to accurately analyze the need for residents of this urban area.
I trust that the GGNRA, in developing a general management plan, will take into consideration and respect the specific character and situation of the Fort Funston Area. I fully support Alternative A, the No Action alternative of the DEIS, as it relates to Fort Funston.
copies sent to:
Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior
Christine Lehnertz, Regional Director, National Park Service, Pacific West Region
Jon Jarvis, Director National Park Service
Nancy Pelosi, Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator
State Senator Leland Yee
State Senator Mark Leno
email copies sent to:
Mayor Ed Lee
Distric 7 Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd
District 8 Scott Wiener