Since its inception in 1979, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has been a massive, amazing, wonderful resource for San Francisco Bay Area residents. The GGNRA's charter states that it is to be treated as an urban recreational area for use by humans and their canine companions. It is the only US National park that allows dogs to be walked off-leash, and includes miles of on-leash trails for person and beast to roam. For as long as I can remember, the National Parks Service has been trying to limit or ban dogs from having this access.
I've lived in a small community, inside the parks boundaries, since 2008. There has been constant pressure from the NPS to ban dogs. Almost every year a large group of folks from all over the Bay Area oppose these restrictions and work inside the government-mandated process to prevent these changes. The story is always the same, the NPS does a half-assed job of unscientifically deciding that dogs are bad, presents no real studies or information on the impacts and decrees that dogs must go. This time, they've gone a step further. The Park service has illegally posted signs restricting access. Rangers have also begun harassing dog walkers under the pretense that these restrictions are already law. The NPS is doing this of their own accord, outside the process our Nation is relying on to represent us.
Sadly, I am out of the country and may not be able to reach my representatives. If you are so inclined, please give them a call (their numbers are in the quote below.) Nemo and Pretzel, my best friends, walk on those trails daily. Xeni and Miles have been watching them for me, while I'm out of town on business for the site, and can attest that life would be impossible if we're locked in the house and not allowed to walk in the park.
Honestly, the NPS runs national parks, not urban recreation areas. They don't understand the difference and want to turn a community resource into a tourist attraction. They are potentially wrecking businesses that have been in place for decades, creating massive traffic problems and treating the local residents like second class citizens. I think many of us lucky enough to live close to or inside the park are willing to work with the system, but the NPS just disregards the rules and presents false studies as science.
My neighbor Laura Pandapas shares this via NextDoor:
ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! AGAIN.......I know........
CALL-IN CAMPAIGN TO REPS. JARED HUFFMAN & NANCY PELOSI scheduled for THIS THURSDAY MARCH 20th.
GGNRA initiates actions to restrict dogs NOW! Call your elected officials this Thursday March 20th.
The GGNRA dropped a bombshell late last week. While we've all been participating in good faith in the planning process by providing public input about the Dog Management Plan, the GGNRA has been getting ready to circumvent its own process and started implementing rules against dogs NOW.
• The GGNRA and the Presidio Trust plan to implement an "interim" rule to go in to effect in May that will restrict professional dog walking on GGNRA lands. No matter that professional dog walking rules are included in the GGNRA's dog management proposal that is undergoing an official federal review process; apparently the GGNRA has decided that it can just select a part of it's proposed plan and push it through outside of the process.
• Meanwhile, this past weekend in Marin, the GGNRA installed new signs restricting dog access, and rangers have been hassling the public to try and enforce new dog rules that don't exist yet.
The GGNRA hasn't even had time to read the thousands of public comments we submitted in opposition to their plan just one month ago! And they are over a year and a half away from the scheduled release of the final Environmental Impact Statement and ruling.
CALL YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
THURSDAY MARCH 20TH
...and respectfully request Congressional oversight. That is the ONLY was to stop this disaster.
Jared Huffman sits on the Subcommittee for Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. He has the power to ask the Chairman to call for hearings on this issue. Tell him that's what you want! Call both offices for each Representative.
Jared Huffman (415)258-9657 AND in DC at (202) 225-5161
Nancy Pelosi (415) 556-4862 AND in DC at (202) 225-4965
WHAT TO SAY:
• Over the last week, the GGNRA has taken some extremely troubling and bad-faith steps. They've erected NEW incorrect signage restricting dogs, and rangers are telling people to leash their dogs in areas that don't require leashes, when we are over a year and a half away from completion of a federally mandated public process! And with the "interim permit requirements" for professional dog walking, they are attempting to change the rules outside of the process altogether.
• Congress MUST get involved because the GGNRA is clearly not playing by the rules and don't intend to. The GGNRA's disregard for the public process cannot be allowed to continue. Congress should care when a Federal agency shows such utter contempt for the public and the the public process.
• I am respectfully asking Rep. Huffman/Leader Pelosi to push for Congressional oversight of this process. Thank you!
Endorsed by Crissy Field DOG, Ft. Funston Dog Walkers, Keep Muir Beach Dog Friendly, Marin County DOG, Save Off Leash Dog Walking, SF Professional Dog Walkers, and SFDOG.
Please call Representatives Huffman and Pelosi and let them know how you feel.