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National Park Service is pushing through dog walking restrictions NOW


By sally - Posted on 11 December 2016

**"TAKE ACTION on Monday, Dec. 12th!**

On December 8, the National Park Service released its Final Environmental Impact Statement for dog walking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)—the almost final step in the Park Service's decades-long effort to dramatically restrict and in many places entirely ban recreational dog walking on its properties in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties.

On January 10, 2017, the Park Service plans to sign the Record of Decision, the agency's final position.

Although the Park Service is trying to represent the plan as a compromise, it is nothing of the sort. The recently released version would ban off-leash dog walking in the GGNRA by 90% and on-leash dog walking by 50%. Once again, the Park Service ignored the overwhelming majority of public comments that called for significant changes to the plan.

It’s clear the Park Service wants to push through its final decision before the Trump administration takes office. This timing would allow them to avoid having to vet the new rule with a new administration that may disagree with imposing these unpopular and unnecessary restrictions. We need to stop them!

SFDOG and our fellow recreation and dog walking advocates are committed to continuing to fight the dog walking restrictions on the legal front and in the court of public opinion in the coming months.

Summary of Final Environmental Impact Statement

San Francisco Impacts

Crissy Field: Loss of 60% of dog walking space
Fort Funston: Loss of 60% of dog walking space
Ocean Beach: 80% of Ocean Beach will be no dogs allowed
Lands End: Loss of all off-leash space
Baker Beach: Loss of all off-leash space

Changes from previous versions of the plan:

Ft. Funston: a trail that was previously sand will be paved
Crissy Field: on- and off-leash spaces were shifted, but the overall loss of dog walking space is the same

Marin County Impacts

Off-leash dog walking eliminated from all trails in Marin.
On-leash trails have been cut from 24 miles to just 8 miles.
The only off-leash dog walking area will be at Rodeo Beach, a remote location with treacherous surf.
Off-leash dogs will be banned from Muir Beach. There will be no access, even on leash, to any of the fire roads in or around Muir Beach.

Changes from previous versions of the plan:

The addition of Kaashi Way, a pathway from a parking lot to Green Gulch. The GGNRA calls it a “loop,” but it is not a loop unless you include walking on a road with cars and no shoulder as part of the loop.

San Mateo Impacts

Loss of half of the on-leash dog trails at Rancho, Mori Point, Milagra Ridge and Sweeney Ridge (from 29 miles to 15 miles).
No dog walking access to Sweeney Ridge from Pacifica. Pacifica residents will have to get in their cars and drive the 8+ miles to San Bruno to access this area that was once accessible from their doorsteps.
No access to any GGNRA trails in San Mateo County for people walking with more than three dogs, a restriction which will displace commercial dog walkers into smaller city and county parks.
No loop trails at Milagra Ridge and Sweeney Ridge.

Changes from the previous version of the plan:

The addition of three acres of off-leash space at Flat Top in El Granada (part of the 4,000-acre Rancho Corral de Tierra).
The addition of a 400-foot trail segment at Mori Point and a 0.2 mile trail at Milagra Ridge.

Monitoring-based management

Monitoring-based management is still part of the plan. It means that if people do not comply with the new rule, the Park Service can change the status of any area. For example, the few remaining off-leash areas could be changed to on-leash or no dogs, and on-leash could be changed to no dogs.

Walking with more than three dogs

Anyone walking more than three dogs must have a permit, a relatively onerous requirement for individuals who are not professional dog walkers. Permits will only be issued for the following sites and can restrict dog walking use by time: Alta Trail, Rodeo Beach, a small portion of Marin Headlands Trails, Fort Baker, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, Baker Beach, and Fort Funston.

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