You are hereNew GGNRA Dog Management Plan released 9/6/13

New GGNRA Dog Management Plan released 9/6/13


By sally - Posted on 09 September 2013

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) released a new version of its proposed Dog Management Plan on Friday, September 6, 2013. They will be accepting public comment until December 4, 2013. The plan is 1500+ pages, so it will take us a little time to analyze, but once we do, we will post suggested comments that you can make to the GGNRA.

To read the new GGNRA Dog Management Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, go to: http://tinyurl.com/pcq68te

The link also includes a way to comment electronically on the plan.

The GGNRA released a revised version of its Dog Management Plan last Friday morning. An earlier version, released in 2011, was fatally flawed and, frankly, should have been an embarrassment to the GGNRA. It proposed cutting where dogs could walk off-leash (and on-leash too) by 90% compared to where they can walk, both on- and off-leash in the GGNRA today. The plan cited potential impacts from dogs on GGNRA land, but offered no evidence that any of these potential impacts were actually being observed now or had ever taken place in the GGNRA. The plan ignored the impacts on city parks if people with dogs were forced out of the GGNRA, and proposed a plan to automatically and permanently close areas to dog walking if the GGNRA determined there wasn't enough compliance with the new restrictions.

Public comment ran over 3 to 1 against the GGNRA's proposed plan. In response, the GGNRA said they would create a newer version of the Dog Management Plan that would accommodate the public's concerns. They spent 32 months and millions of dollars to create this 1500+ page document. They said they would listen to the people. They did not.

The new version of the Dog Plan, released last Friday, is essentially the same as the old plan, with, at most, a few cosmetic changes to make it look better if you don't look too hard. It still cuts where dogs can be off-leash by 90%. It doesn't adequately address concerns about impacts on the much-smaller city parks, stating that any impacts on city parks are "speculative" only. They see no difference between walking a dog on- and off-leash, arguing that since people will still be able to walk their dogs on-leash in various parts of the GGNRA, that most people who currently walk with their dogs off-leash will continue to walk there. They've changed their compliance plan from being an automatic permanent shutdown, to being a "temporary" shutdown (they state for a year) after they talk about it (in other words, not automatically), but then say nothing about just what those impacts would be or how much of an impact would result in the closure.

The new plan will have NO off-leash anywhere in San Mateo County, including newly acquired Rancho Corral de Tierra (where a dog walker was tased by a Park Ranger a year ago). In Marin, only Rodeo Beach will have any off-leash access. A trail in Oakwood Valley in Marin that was proposed to be off-leash in the old version of the plan is now on-leash-only in the new plan. They do suggest a small off-leash area at Fort Mason, and a second off-leash area at Fort Funston, but when compared to how much off-leash space at Fort Funston alone is being lost by this plan (close to 90% compared to where we can walk today), the additional off-leash is laughably small. Or at least it would be laughable if it wasn't so sad and infuriating.

The GGNRA has completely thumbed its nose at the Bay Area public who conscientiously wrote comments on the first version of its plan and overwhelmingly opposed it. The GGNRA has completely thumbed its nose at those who supported its creation in 1972 for the "maintenance of needed recreational open space" (to quote the legislation that created it). The GGNRA has completely thumbed its nose at the people of San Francisco who gave all of their beaches to GGNRA control in 1973 after getting repeated assurances from GGNRA officials that existing recreational uses (including dog walking) would be respected and allowed to continue as they were then.

Two years ago, the GGNRA released a draft General Management Plan (GMP) showing how they intended to manage their lands for the next few decades. This GMP said that the GGNRA planned to manage nearly 90% of its land for a "solitary visitor experience" like one would expect in the backcountry at Yosemite or Yellowstone. That is an absurd management strategy for lands that are essentially urban parks. That is an absurd management strategy for the GGNRA.

This really isn't just about dogs. The GGNRA's plan to get rid of people with dogs is just the first step in a planned strategy to force most people off of their land (so a lucky few can have a solitary visitor experience).

There is still no scientific evidence to support the radical changes in usage proposed by the GGNRA. It seems clear the GGNRA is using the environmental impact analysis process not to honestly consider impacts and alternatives., but simply to justify its pre-determined plan to remove not only dogs, but people from the GGNRA. It missed a tremendous opportunity to set fort a plan that offers reasonable and fair compromise. The GGNRA is out of control.

We will publish more information on the plan, including specific criticisms and suggested comments on it in the near future. Stay tuned and check here periodically for more information as the comment period goes on.

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