You are hereTalking Points for SF Supervisors' Hearing on GGNRA - Mon, OCT 21 1:30 pm

Talking Points for SF Supervisors' Hearing on GGNRA - Mon, OCT 21 1:30 pm


By sally - Posted on 19 October 2013

It is critically important that the community of people with dogs come and speak in opposition to the plans to severely restrict where you can walk with your dogs at Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, and other locations within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) at the Board of Supervisors hearing:

Land Use Committee of the SF Board of Supervisors
Monday, October 21, 2013
1:30 pm
Room 250 (the Board of Supervisors Chambers)
City Hall, San Francisco

Please come and speak. Take the day off from work if you have to. Get a sitter for the kids (or better yet, bring them along). Ask a neighbor to walk your dog. It's time to show the Supervisors the strength of the dog community's opposition to the GGNRA's plan.

In 2011, the GGNRA released a Draft Dog Management Plan that would cut by 90% where you can walk with your dog compared to where you can walk today. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing the plan, primarily because it did not look at impacts on city parks if thousands of people who currently walk in the GGNRA were forced out and into city parks. Public comment was overwhelmingly opposed to the Draft Plan. The GGNRA said they would release a Supplemental Plan that would take into account the public criticisms. We expected significant changes to the plan.

In early September this year, the GGNRA released the Supplemental Plan, but it contained only minor changes from the Draft Plan. Supervisor Wiener has authored a resolution opposing the GGNRA's Supplement Dog Management Plan that will be considered at the October 21 hearing (to read the resolution: http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=15402 ) Supervisors Jane Kim and John Avalos have signed on as co-sponsors.

Plan to speak for two minutes and go on record opposing the GGNRA's plan and supporting Supervisor Scott Wiener's resolution opposing the plan. If you cannot attend, please email the Supervisors on the Land Use Committee (contact info at the bottom of this email) and let them know what you think.

Possible talking points:

1) Tell the Supervisors where you walk with your dog and how important walking with your dog is to you, your health, and your dog's health. The Supplemental Plan still does not include any consideration of the benefits of dog walking on people's health and well-being nor of the benefits of the social communities that have developed and flourished at Fort Funston, Crissy Field and other GGNRA locations.

2) Tell the Supervisors how important the community of people who walk their dogs in the GGNRA is to you, and how incredibly diverse people walking with dogs in the GGNRA are -- you routinely see seniors and kids, people with disabilities, men, women, people from every ethnic and religious group, minorities, gay and straight, and people from every social and economic class interacting in harmony, drawn together by our common love of dogs.

3) The GGNRA did not listen to the people. They ignored overwhelming public opposition to their plan and made only minor changes to their original plan. The Supplemental Plan does not address many of the criticisms made in public comments on the Draft, despite being required to do so.

4) The GGNRA did not listen to the Board of Supervisors. They are not being good neighbors.

The Board's 2011 Resolution called for a thorough study of impacts of the GGNRA's plan on city parks, yet the Supplemental Plan does not include that. The Supplemental Plan does contain the names of city parks near GGNRA properties but not much more than that. It does not include any real accounting of current usage in those parks, nor does it include any substantive analysis of impacts if thousands of people with dogs are forced out of the GGNRA and into city parks.

The Board's 2011 Resolution opposed the Compliance Based Management Strategy, yet the changes made to it in the Supplemental Plan are largely cosmetic. While changes from off-leash to on-leash or no dogs are no longer automatic, the Supplemental Plan still creates a process that penalizes all people with dogs by progressively cutting where they can go, rather than penalizing individual offenders.

5) The Supplemental Plan still cuts where you can walk with your dog by nearly 90% compared to where you can walk today. There was little change in access for people with dogs in the Supplemental Plan, compared to the Draft Plan:

Ocean Beach -- Dogs will still be banned entirely (even on-leash) on the southern 2/3 of Ocean Beach (everywhere south of the Beach Chalet)
Crissy Field -- Dogs will still be banned entirely from the East Beach and from the West Beach. The airfield is till half off-leash and half on-leash. Dogs will be allowed off-leash on the Middle Beach.
Fort Funston (currently nearly all off-leash) -- Dogs will still be banned entirely from most of the Fort. The Supplemental Plan does add a second off-leash area, but the added area is small compared to the size of the area where dogs will be banned entirely. Dogs would still be banned entirely from the northern half of the beach at Fort Funston, although allowed off-leash on the southern half.
Baker Beach (currently all off-leash) -- Dogs would still be banned entirely from the northern half of the beach, and on-leash only on the southern half.
Lands End -- An off-leash trail provided in the Draft Plan became on-leash only in the Supplemental Plan,
Fort Mason -- The Supplemental Plan did add a small off-leash area at the corner of Laguna and Bay, but the rest of the on-leash area has been reduced compared to the Draft Plan.
San Mateo County -- There will be no off-leash area or off-leash trail anywhere on GGNRA land in San Mateo County, including at Rancho Corral de Tierra, where last year a GGNRA Park Ranger used a taser on a man walking a small dog off-leash.
Marin County -- Rodeo Beach will be the only place where off-leash is allowed on GGNRA land in Marin County. Muir Beach, which is currently well used for off-leash dog walking, will still be on-leash only.

6) The change in access means that the roughly 40% (or more) of San Francisco households that have dogs will be denied access for a popular recreational activity on 99.9% of the GGNRA's land. Currently, people can walk dogs (both on- and off-leash) on less than 1% of GGNRA land. Put another way, people who want to walk with dogs are currently denied access to 99% of the GGNRA's land. If the cuts to access proposed in the Supplemental Plan go into effect, people who want to walk with dogs will be denied access to 99.9% of the GGNRA's land. Nearly half of San Francisco households will be denied access to 99.9% of the GGNRA's land, including most of the beaches in San Francisco. People with dogs have never asked to be allowed to walk everywhere in the GGNRA. But we do want to keep access to the less than 1% of the GGNRA's 80,000 acres that we currently have.

7) The Supplemental Plan does not present any site-specific evidence that dogs are causing problems or environmental damage. The Supplemental Plan, like the Draft Plan, lists impacts and damage that "could," "may", or "might" happen, but does not provide any credible scientific evidence that any of those impacts ever actually occurred in the GGNRA, or are occurring now. There must be solid evidence of negative impacts to justify the severe restrictions being proposed, but none is given.

8) The Supplemental Plan ignores the fact that forcing people out of the larger GGNRA areas into the much smaller city park areas will increase potential conflicts and negative impacts. This is also true of forcing people with dogs into much smaller areas within the GGNRA itself.

9) The GGNRA is ignoring its enabling legislation and reneging on promises made to San Franciscans when we gave city parkland to the GGNRA.

The GGNRA was created for the "maintenance of needed recreational open space." A Report from the US House of Representatives said: "This legislation will ... [establish] a new national urban recreational area which will concentrate on serving the outdoor recreational needs of the people of the metropolitan area." The Report added that the objective of creating the GGNRA was: "to expand to the maximum extent possible the outdoor recreation opportunities available to the region."

A few weeks before the 1973 election where San Franciscans voted to give over 500 acres of city parkland to the GGNRA (Proposition F), GGNRA Superintendent William J. Whalen told the SF Chronicle that the GGNRA "intends to preserve the general character and present use of the various parks that could be affected by the passage of Proposition F." Dog walking was a well-established traditional use on these lands. The Supplemental Plan flies in the face of that promise.

10) The Supplemental Plan is part of a larger plan to radically change the way the GGNRA manages its land -- one that will restrict access for everyone, not just people with dogs.

The 1980 GGNRA General Management Plan offered a realistic view of the GGNRA. It acknowledged that much of the GGNRA, especially in San Francisco and southern Marin, is "man-created landscapes," and called for managing Ocean Beach and Fort Funston to "continue to accommodate relatively high use levels with a commitment to intensive maintenance in order to retain the appearance of a natural landscape."

The 2011 GGNRA Draft General Management Plan (released in 2011, but not yet finalized) offers a completely unrealistic view of the GGNRA. It calls for 90% of the GGNRA to be managed as "nature zones," including the souther 2/3 of Ocean Beach and most of Fort Funston. These zones will be managed to provide visitors with "backcountry types of visitor experiences," defined as a "sense of remoteness and self-reliance," with low visitor use, controlled access by visitors, and few amenities, where "challenge, risk, and testing of outdoor skills would be important to most visitors accessing this zone." The idea that urban parks like the GGNRA (especially Ocean Beach and Fort Funston) should be managed as if they were remote wilderness like Crater Lake or Yosemite is absurd, yet that is what the GGNRA wants to do.

The 2011 GGNRA Draft General Management Plan will force most people out of the GGNRA so that a lucky few can have a backcountry visitor experience. The move to force people with dogs out is just the beginning. Over time we can expect additional traditional recreational uses of the GGNRA to be banned in favor of a low-use, remote, backcountry visitor experience.

11) The Supplemental Plan is fiscally irresponsible, with an estimated cost of $2.5 million each year. The GGNRA says it doesn't have enough money to pick up garbage and do routine maintenance, yet they want to add a number of glorified dog catchers to their staff.

Please plan to attend the Land Use Committee hearing on Monday, October 21.

If you cannot attend, please let the Committee members know you oppose the GGNRA's plan and support Supervisor Wiener's resolution against the GGNRA's plan:
Supervisor Scott Wiener: Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org, 415-554-6968
Supervisor Jane Kim: Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, 415-554-7970
Supervisor David Chiu: David.Chiu@sfgov.org 415-554-7450

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR LEASH!

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