SFDOG Pays to Keep Fort Funston Open During Government Shutdown

During the Federal Government shutdown in early January 2019, SFDOG volunteered to pay for maintenance at Fort Funston in order to keep the parking lot at the site open so people – and their dogs – could safely continue to enjoy walking at the site.

 When the Federal government shut down on December 22, 2018 because of a dispute between the President and Congress about funding for a border wall, the National Park Service stopped maintenance at all the sites in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). That meant that garbage cans were not being emptied, and restrooms and port-a-potties were not being cleaned and serviced.

 Because of the lack of maintenance, Park Service staff locked the gate to the parking lot at Fort Funston. People did not stop coming to the Fort, however. They parked on the shoulder along Skyline Boulevard and walked into the park. The speed limit on Skyline near the entrance to Fort Funston is 55 miles per hour. It was not safe for adults, children, and dogs to walk so close to cars going that fast.

When it became clear that the shutdown was not going to end quickly, SFDOG contacted the GGNRA Superintendent and offered to pay for maintenance at Fort Funston for the duration of the government shutdown. In exchange, the GGNRA would unlock the gates to the parking lot. The Superintendent accepted our offer.

It’s no secret that we have not agreed with Park Service efforts to restrict dog walking at Fort Funston and other sites in the GGNRA. None of that mattered in this situation. The closure of the parking lot gate had created a situation that was unsafe for people (and dogs) and we wanted to remedy that.

Ultimately, we paid for three weeks worth of maintenance at Fort Funston. All of the discussions over those three weeks between SFDOG and GGNRA staff were pleasant and respectful on both sides. But most importantly, people were able to safely walk with their dogs – and Fort Funston was kept clean – during the shutdown.

Finally, on January 25, the government shutdown ended, and the Park Service took back responsibility for maintenance at Fort Funston.

Sally Stephens