Attention Bay Area: Save Fort Funston!

It’s time to spread the word: the Golden Gate National Recreational Area is trying to cut off-leash access by nearly 90 percent at local recreation areas. The GGNRA released a 1500-page proposal to eliminate off-leash dog areas in the Bay Area at Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and elsewhere in Marin and San Mateo.

We, the dog public, need to fight back! Chair of SFDOG Sally Stephens is leading the charge against these changes. Join Sally and the SF Dog Connectors at Fort Funston Saturday, October 19 at noon to learn more about what you can do to help save the Fort!

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the GGNRA released a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in September for the proposed Dog Management Plan. They released a Draft EIS in 2011, which would have cut where you can go with your dog in the GGNRA by 90 percent. Public comment on the Draft EIS was overwhelmingly against the plan by a margin of 3-to-1. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing the plan, in large part because it did not consider the impacts on city parks if the GGNRA made these cuts.

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Yellow Dog and Sundown enjoying some off-leash time at Fort Funston. If the GGNRA proposal is implemented, we may not get to do this anymore.

Despite this opposition, the GGNRA has essentially not changed their plan. The Preferred Alternative in the SEIS is the same as the Draft EIS with some minor changes. It still cuts where you can walk with your dog, both on-leash and off-leash, by roughly 90 percent.

City Supervisor Scott Wiener, along with co-sponsors Supervisors John Avalos and Katy Tang, have introduced a resolution opposing the GGNRA Dog Management Plan and SEIS and will take public comment on the resolution at a hearing at San Francisco City Hall October 21 at 1:30 p.m. All dog owners against the GGNRA plan are encouraged to attend and voice your opposition. If you can’t make it to the hearing, email the Supervisors directly: Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.org, and Katy.Tang@sfgov.org. The Land Use Committee is expected to vote on the resolution the week following the hearing.

The GGNRA is a federally-regulated agency but the land of Fort Funston, Ocean Beach and Crissy Field used to belong to the city of San Francisco. The city gave the land to the GGNRA in 1973 in a vote of the people called Proposition F. The City Charter Amendment that transferred the land to the GGNRA included the restriction the land would be given to the GGNRA “to hold only for so long as said real property is reserved and used for recreation and park purposes.” So in theory, San Francisco has the legal authority to take back these lands if the GGNRA stops recreational access and usage of these lands.

The movement against the GGNRA’s proposed action to cut off-leash areas is growing. The Facebook group Save Off-Leash Dog Walking in the SF Bay Area has more than 3500 likes and the most up-to-date information. The New York Times detailed the plan and opposition in a recent article.

The GGNRA will take public comment on this issue until January 11, 2014. We at YDB encourage everyone to write in and voice your discontent with this plan. Dogs are presently only allowed off-leash on about one percent of GGNRA land and the current proposal wants to restrict where dogs can walk on about 90 percent of that one percent of land. This is unacceptable! Let’s save Fort Funston and all the Bay Area’s recreational areas!