National Park Service Needs to Listen to Bay Area Residents


December 1st, 2013
Bay Woof

On September 6, the National Park Service released its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Draft Dog Management Plan.

The Plan, which follows a 2011 draft that was subject to significant public criticism - including a resolution I authored at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors opposing it - calls for dramatically limiting dog access on federal lands in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties. In San Francisco, the Plan would restrict dog access at Fort Funston, Crissy Field, and Ocean Beach, among other properties.

By Scott Wiener

In response, I held a hearing last month to discuss what changes have been incorporated into the revised plan based on public feedback. Unfortunately, the answer is very few. The Plan will still significantly restrict dog access, impact many San Francisco residents and visitors with dogs, and push more dogs out of these federal properties and into our already-strained city parks.

The hearing was packed with concerned residents who testified about the impact of the proposal on their lives and communities. In addition, Congresswoman Jackie Speier sent an aide, who read a statement from the Congresswoman expressing concern about the proposal. Animal Care & Control and the SF SPCA also expressed criticism, and our Recreation & Park Department described the operational challenges the Plan will cause in our city parks.

I also introduced a resolution opposing the Plan's restrictions on dog access and encouraging the National Park Service to adopt a different, more balanced approach. The resolution was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors on October 29, officially putting the City and County of San Francisco on record in opposition to these restrictions on dog access.

I have enormous respect for the National Park Service, but this proposal is not in synch with the needs of many San Franciscans and with our park system. This is the second time the Board of Supervisors has joined me in opposing this proposed plan to limit dog access in federal recreation areas.

Please be involved and spread the word to other dog owners. The proposed restrictions will have dramatic effects, and it is critical for folks to contact their elected representatives, both local and federal, to push back against the Park Service's Plan.

Scott Wiener is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

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