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Marin Co. Supes Want Plans to Restrict Dogs in Golden Gate Recreation Area Changed

By Bay City News: 

The Marin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution asking the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to modify its plan to dramatically restrict dogs on its federal land in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

 In a letter asking her fellow supervisors to support her resolution, Supervisor Kathrin Sears said the GGNRA's preferred Alternative F as outlined in an environmental impact statement regarding restrictions on dogs "will come very close to being a de facto ban on dogs in the GGNRA in Marin."

Restricting dogs on GGNRA land will prompt dog owners to walk their pets on Marin County Parks and Open Space lands and in the watershed of the Marin Municipal Water District, Sears said.

 Sears said there is no data supporting a virtual ban on dogs in the GGNRA, and she asked the GGNRA to seek compromises that allow dogs both on- and off-leash while still protecting the environment.

 There have been public hearings on the dog issue for almost a decade, and 4,700 respondents to the draft environmental impact report opposed Alternative F by a 3-1 ratio, according to the resolution.

 The GGNRA approved guidelines for a pet policy in February 1979 that allows licensed dogs off-leash and under voice control in the 18,000 acres it owns and manages.

 The 1979 policy allowed leashed dogs on 24.1 miles of trails and fire roads and allowed dogs under voice control on an additional 16.1 miles if trails and fire roads.

 There are 52.7 miles of trails and fire roads in the Marin County portion of the GGNRA. The policy was reviewed in 2005, and on Jan. 15, 2011, the GGNRA released a draft environmental impact statement that included Alternative F's dramatic restriction of dogs in all of the GGNRA including Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties and the city of San Francisco.

 The dog restriction was opposed by a 3-1 margin among 4,700 respondents to the proposed restrictions.

 The Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space said the restrictions to dog walking would move the displaced dog walkers to the 40,000 acres of county open space and parklands and the Marin Municipal Water District's watershed.

 The Department of Parks and Open Space asked the GGNRA to allow dogs off-leash on most beach areas and dogs on-leash when crossing sensitive habitat areas among other changes.

 Under a supplemental environmental impact statement in September 2013, the GGNRA then proposed restricting dogs on leashes to 8.8 miles of trails and fire roads -- a one-third reduction from the 1979 policy that is still in effect -- and restricting off-leash dogs under voice control to a half-mile section of one fire road in the Marin Headlands.

 The only permitted off-leash area would be at the north end of Rodeo Beach.

 Sears' resolution asks the GGNRA to manage its land as a metropolitan recreation area distinct from other national parks, wilderness areas and monuments. It also asks the GGNRA to create continuous trail loops instead of dead end trails that are accessible to dogs, and that off-leash opportunities continue on Muir Beach.

 The resolution also requests the GGNRA to continue to allow 12-foot-wide fire roads to be accessible to dogs on leash, with off-leash being preferable.

The resolution also asks the GGNRA to create continuous access to dogs on its land from Muir Beach to the Golden Gate Bridge and to accommodate access for dog owners in Tam Valley, Tennessee Valley, Marin City, Sausalito, Homestead Valley and Muir Beach.

 Lastly, the resolution states the Board of Supervisors recognizes the need for restoration of sensitive habitat, but it encourages the GGNRA to plan it in more remote areas away from heavily trafficked fire roads and connecting trails.

 The public comment period on the supplemental impact statement ends on Feb. 18. A final environmental impact statement is expected in mid-2015.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
craig thomas February 14, 2014 at 01:32 PM
Supervisors of NIMY County USA; time you stop bikers from disrespecting parks, beaches, trails etc. Place restrictrictions on Bikers, biker need to learn respect understand Supervisor Steve Kinsey of NIMY County USA
craig thomas February 14, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Take videos of bikers disrespecting nature, time bikers pay FEE'S for disrespecting mother nature, understand Supervisors of NIMBY County California USA!
Elvis February 14, 2014 at 02:12 PM
I cite the reports of the pet industry simply to show that it would not be unreasonable for a 3-1 ratio of people to want to allow favorable dog rules in the GGNRA, however balancing the needs of the local flora and fauna with those of nature loving dog owners is really what the discussion needs to be about. Certainly mountain biking can take its toll on the trails and should be in the discussion. I would agree with the notion of certain trails and beaches be available to off-leash activity while other beaches and trails be off limits to dogs and bikes.
Allen February 14, 2014 at 02:32 PM
Now I get it. The 37,000 dogs in Novato as well as the 27,000,000 CA dogs should have access to more trails. I'm outa here . . .
DavethePragmatist February 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Number 1 rule - be responsible and show respect for your neighbor and others on the trail with you. You do not own the trail any more than I do. Just because you pay taxes to keep the Federal land up, doesn't mean you own more rights to a trail than I do. I always keep my dog on leash except in a designated dog park area. I hope all trails remain dog friendly for those on leash - but I do not appreciate dogs off leash on a trail as that is way too narrow a space in case a dog decides to go off on another. Beaches are fine as there is plenty of space. @LeahAaron - you show complete disrespect for others. @craigthomas - what is to say you are not disrespecting nature by your disregard for others?

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