NPS Proposed Plan: A 90% Cut in Off-Leash Dog Walking Areas in the GGNRA
On December 8, 2016, the National Park Service released its Final Environmental Impact Statement for dog walking in the GGNRA. Although the National Park Service is touting the plan as a compromise, it is far from a compromise. Right now dog walking is only allowed on 1% of GGNRA lands. The Park Service's plan would cut current off-leash dog walking areas in GGNRA by 90% and on-leash areas by more than 50%.
The Park Service estimates the dog management plan will cost $2.6 million per year to implement. There is widespread opposition to this plan in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. During the last public comment period in spring 2016, people opposed the plan 3:1.
Unfortunately, the Park Service has failed to listen to the public. They are trying to push this highly-restrictive and expensive plan through before the Trump administration takes office in January. As such, the National Park Service said it will next enter their record of decision on January 10, 2017, which will be followed by the final rule.
San Mateo County Impacts
In San Mateo County, the rule will impact on-leash dog walking at four sites: Rancho Corral de Tierra, Sweeney Ridge, Milagra Ridge, and Mori Point. (*Click on the links to view the current and proposed rule maps for the San Mateo County sites.)
As it stands now, the proposed rule would result in the following changes to dog walking in San Mateo County GGNRA:
- Reduce on-leash dog walking trails at Rancho Corral de Tierra, Sweeney Ridge, Mori Point, Milagra Ridge by 50%.
- Access to Sweeney Ridge would be completely lost from the Pacifica side. Pacifica and other coastside residents would have to drive to the San Bruno trailhead to access Sweeney ridge with their dogs.
- There would be a 3 dog per person limit on all San Mateo County GGNRA trails--a restriction that would push commercial dog walkers into smaller city and county parks.
- Out of the 5,400 acres managed by the Park Service in San Mateo County, the plan only includes 3 acres of off-leash space (in the El Granada section of Rancho Corral de Tierra).
- New monitoring-based management provision that would give GGNRA's Superintendent the authority to ban dog walking if people are not following the new rules -OR- in anticipation of impacts by dogs BEFORE they even occur.
Proposed Dog Walking Recreation Restrictions throughout GGNRA
The National Park Service's proposed rule will severely restrict or ban dog walking recreation from 22 areas throughout GGNRA. Fort Funston's off-leash acreage would be reduced from 85 acres to 35 acres, part of Fort Funston would be on-leash, dogs would be banned from 80% of Ocean Beach, and in many other areas. Click here for the full list of proposed dog walking recreation restrictions in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.