In January of 2011, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) released a “Draft Dog Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement” (Plan/DEIS) for public comment. The public comment period was open from January 14 through May 30, 2011. As part of the National Park Service, GGNRA administers large areas of urban recreational land along the coast of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The Plan/DEIS proposed a number of changes to current customary access for off-leash, as well as on-leash dog recreation.
Among the landmark park areas included in GGNRA are: Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, the Marin Headlands, Crissy Field, Fort Point, Ocean Beach, and Fort Funston. GGNRA park sites south of San Francisco include Mori Point, Sweeney Ridge, and Milagra Ridge, which are all located in the San Mateo County city of Pacifica. South of Pacifica is the 4,000 acre Rancho Corral de Tierra, which is in the process of transfer to GGNRA management.
GGNRA has now published a compilation of all the comments received. Over 4,000 pages of comments are available as a single pdf file on the GGNRA website. While the Plan/DEIS was divided up into specific park areas, with detailed proposals and alternatives specified for each, the comments are presented in the order they were logged as received. Thus, there is no index, table of contents, or grouping by region. The only way to identify comments pertaining to your particular area of interest is to use your pdf-reader’s search functions.
Most comments appear to regard proposed restrictions on dogs as going too far, with little scientific evidence for adverse environmental impacts posed by dog walkers. Others found the Plan/DEIS to be appropriate, while some expressed the view that the proposals don’t go far enough in controlling canine access to parkland under GGNRA’s control.
Since closure of the public comment period, activist groups such as “Save Off-Leash Dog Walking Areas in the SF Bay Area” have focused their efforts on encouraging letters and phone calls to elected representatives. Their cause is being heard, at least by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who represents impacted areas of San Mateo County. During a telephone town hall meeting held in June, Congresswoman Speier responded to questions about GGNRA’s draft dog management plan. She noted her disappointment with the Plan/DEIS, and has spoken of her concerns with GGNRA General Superintendent, Frank Dean.
GGNRA is currently reviewing and evaluating the comments received, and has provided a schedule for future steps in the process:
1. A summary report on comments received is scheduled for publication in late August of 2011.
2. A project newsletter will be published late in the fall of 2011, as an update on changes under consideration.
3. A “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” will be released for public comment in either late summer or early fall of 2012
4. The “Final Environmental Impact Statement” (FEIS) is expected to be published at the end of summer 2013.
5. A “Final Rule” is to be published at the end of 2013, with implementation beginning 30 days following publication.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Dog Management.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, All Comments Submitted During the Public Review and Comment Period, January 14, 2011 through May 30, 2011.
Facebook, “Save Off-Leash Dog Walking Areas in the SF Bay Area.”
You Tube, “Speier Telephone Town Hall 6.23.11.”