I was sent this note by two of our neighbors. Though I don’t personally have a dog, I believe that dogs and their walkers make areas safer for *everyone* to use.
Why? It’s because dog-walkers are around. In all weathers, every day of the year, dogs need their walks. Who else uses the parks? Joggers do, but they usually go by running, often with their music on. So do hikers and trekkers and parents with their kids – but they usually select nice weather and convenient times. Dog walkers are the eyes and ears of our parks.
Paws in our parks means eyes in our parks.
So I’m pleased that our neighborhood is dog-friendly, and I’m happy to post this – for the dog-walkers, and for people like me who benefit from their presence. I’ve made some minor edits and corrected the deadline date.
SAVE OFF-LEASH DOG WALKING IN THE GGNRA!
What’s the Deal?
This past September, the GGNRA released a revised version of its Dog Management Plan in the form of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or SEIS. This document proposes eliminating 90% of off-leash dog access, and severely restricting all dog walking in 21 existing GGNRA sites in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo counties, as well as in all future sites managed by the GGNRA.
Why Should I care?
If the GGNRA implements their preferred alternatives, Marin will lose off-leash access to the Oakwood Valley Trail, Muir Beach and almost all other GGNRA trails. The only off-leash opportunity in Marin would be Rodeo Beach, the one beach that is only reachable by car by any and all users. And most trails within the GGNRA in Marin would no longer allow any use by people with their dogs, leashed or unleashed. People and their dogs would go from having access to an already tiny 1 % of the GGNRA down to a mere .1 %, effectively removing an entire user group from the GGNRA.
Several years ago, when the plan was first unveiled, public comment ran 3-1 against the GGNRA’s preferred alternatives. But the GGNRA apparently isn’t listening. They’ve re-heated the same plan, with even more restrictions in many locations. And they are requiring new comments for the “new” plan. Even if you commented a couple of years ago, you need to do it again.
What can I do about it?
Comments close on 18 Feb 2014 at 11 p.m. [Webmaster; It’s been extended from January 11th, 2014]. You must submit substantive comments that directly address aspects of the SEIS. No form letters or petitions will be accepted or counted. The GGNRA is making it difficult for a reason. Comments mailed in the old fashioned way always carry more weight. We’ve tried to make it easy for you: key points/phrases to include in your comments are listed below. You may also comment on the NPS website, by clicking on the “Comment on Document” button. Here’s the link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=303&projectID=11759&documentID=55416
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR COMMENTS
- Mention where you walk, how long you ‘ve walked there, and what impact this will have on you as a dog guardian and as a citizen.
- The SEIS lacks scientific data. Instead, it makes assumptions and assertions with absolutely no peer reviewed site-specific studies as required by law. Without these studies and corresponding data, there is no legitimate or legal foundation for these policy changes.
- The plan doesn’t differentiate between impacts caused by humans or other animals. It just assumes all the negative impacts are caused by dogs.
- If the GGNRA further limits dog walking as recreation, what few surrounding parks and trails that do allow off-leash will become overcrowded and overburdened. We need more access, not less.
- A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. The SFSPCA and Marin Humane Society, as well countless other dog behaviorists are opposed to GGNRA’s preferred alternatives.
- There is no federally designated critical habitat in the GGNRA. Yet they cite possible impacts on critical habitat as a reason to ban dogs or restrict access to dog owners.
- The GGNRA is an urban park, not a wilderness area. It’s critical recreational open space for a densely populated urban area. By severely reducing off leash dog walking, the GGNRA is in violation of its enabling legislation that allows different user groups -it specifically mentions off-leash dog walkers -to recreate.
- Oppose the GGNRA’s preferred alternative and tell them you support the NO ACTION alternative.
- Tell the GGNRA to enforce the existing (and adequate) rules to manage dogs.
For more info, visit saveoffleash.com
Send comments to: Frank Dean, General Superintendent Golden Gate National Recreation Area Fort Mason Building 201 San Francisco, CA 94123-002
SPREAD THE WORD! TOGETHER WE CAN KEEP THE GGNRA DOG FRIENDLY!