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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.
Tina McMillan February 12, 2014 at 11:14 PM
https://m.facebook.com/events/1391930564395496?acontext={%22ref%22%3A1}&_rdr ============================================ Public Date and Time Saturday, January 11 at 8:30am - Tuesday, February 18 at 11:00pm ========================================== About The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has released a plan to dramatically cut where people can walk with their dogs in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties. If you want to save recreational dog walking in these areas, please submit a public comment opposing the dog management plan—even if you submitted comments on an earlier plan in 2011. The deadline for submitting comments is February 18, 2014. HOW TO SUBMIT A PUBLIC COMMENT Below are talking points from SFDOG that you can use to craft your public comment. You’re free to just cut and paste any of these points into the online form where you can submit an official comment to the GGNRA, which is located here: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/comment... You can also submit your comments by mail to: Superintendent, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123, Attn: SEIS. ========================================== Link to website provides talking points. ========================================== "Please act by February 18th. Speak now or forever hold your leash." https://m.facebook.com/events/1391930564395496?acontext={%22ref%22%3A1}&_rdr
Concerned Citizen February 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Make sure u understand the impact of this vote from the bOS. The public opposes this ban by over a 3-1 margin yet ur BOS really don't care what u think. They know what is best for u. Speaking of the utmost in arrogance. Also at a time when the County is trying to obtain a suburban designation for housing element density the BOS have asked the FED to change Marin to a metropolitan designation inviting higher and larger density requirements. Remember that when the next Handicup monstrosity comes down the road. It is time for the BOS to be gone with term limits. Much like Washington they no longer care what their own constituency wants. We saw this with Ms Arnold during the housing element debate in Novato. The disconnect is so glaring u would think some adventurous litigator cold sue the bunch of them for betraying their oath to represent those that placed them in office. Of course if u think they are so gr8 wait for the next time they restrict or remove some freedom u cherish.
Michael February 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM
I hike the trails of Mt Tam on a regular basis. It is my experience that a very very few dog owners abide by the leash laws. In fact I find it amusing to see so many dog owners walking their dogs off leash as they pass the signs instructing dog owners to keep their dogs on their leashes. And the dog walkers who walk without leashes, see you coming, then clip the leash on their dog then as you hike away they remove the leash are real standup citizens in my book. Who do they think they are kidding? They just thumb their noses at the rules that are for 'others' not them because their precious little doggie is 'special'. And few pick up after their mutts and for the few who do pick up after their mutts many just drop their little plastic bags for others to pick up. I say we need to designate spots specifically for dog walking with their owners and make everywhere else for people only. Our real challenge is enforcements of the existing leash laws. And Sears is out there working for votes.
Steven Norwin February 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Everyone must be aware it's in the United Nations Agenda for the 21st Century - Agenda 21. FYI...The UN has a guide book called The UN's agenda for the 21st century.
M. Manzano February 13, 2014 at 11:11 AM
The presence of dogs are not a problem. Dumb owners are. If your dog does not lie down when told to, or does not come when called, then your dog should not be off leash. I am a responsible dog owner that always has my dog on a lead. I can't count how many times a dog or group of dogs has put me in a defense situation. The common reply is, "My dog is just saying hello," or, "My dog is friendly". That delusion doesn't change the instinct of a leashed dog to protect its owner, or become excitable to an approaching dog. I've had people actually take offense to not letting them or their children pet my dog even though he is friendly. That is not being paranoid, it is about protecting myself from dumb people who will sue at the drop of a hat. There are too many people with dogs who aren't responsible enough to own them. They make those of us who are look bad. That is why leash laws are necessary.
Allen February 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM
I'm thinking that the 3-1 vote against this restriction is skewed because there are likely more dog owners than non-dog owners voting. Maybe I'm missing something?
Tina McMillan February 13, 2014 at 04:06 PM
The agenda behind this issue is GGNRA Staff wanting to eliminate people and activities from Golden Gate National Recreation Area open space. ========================================== Look at Lunny's Oyster Farm, look at the Muir Beach Stable run by Ocean Riders and look at the shift in thinking about how public lands should be accessed by the public. ========================================== It might appear as a conspiracy theory a la X Files, but if you read about the restrictions to land use and land access, more and more it looks like the GGNRA Staff do not want people on public lands. If you eliminate dogs, you also get rid of the people who hike with them. ========================================== http://oysterzone.wordpress.com/ ========================================== http://oceanbeachdog2.home.mindspring.com/id30.html ========================================== http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/stable-bids-ggnra-lease
Valerie Taylor February 13, 2014 at 04:08 PM
How is this 3 to 1 number arrived at? As far as I know, there has been no referendum, only dog owners rallying and making their voices heard. There is no way to really know how the general public feels about this without either a statistically significant survey or a vote with a good turnout.
Tina McMillan February 13, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Why restrict dog owners that are following the law? A similar approach would be to stop everyone from driving a particular country road because some drivers aren't following the rules. If the GGNRA has concerns about irresponsible dog owners, then let them provide consequences. To suggest that all dog owners lose access to trails because some refuse to follow the rules is unreasonable.
Mark Smith February 13, 2014 at 04:25 PM
I agree with Concerned Citizen and Tina. The truth is that while we all support conservation, the environmentalists that go to work for the National Park Service (who else do you think takes those jobs?) would like to ban everyone but themselves or other radical 'greens' that share their restrictive views. Teddy Roosevelt would be disgusted with the National Park Service of today and this proposal specifically. He wanted to preserve public lands from commercialization - not from their public free use. That is not what is happening here.
leah aaron February 14, 2014 at 12:37 AM
To M. Manzano: lighten up. If the worst thing that ever happens to you is that a happy dog or, horror of all horrors, TWO dogs try to greet you and your dog, you lead a charmed life. And to those questioning the 3-1 ratio (pro dog off leash on at least the small amount of land that is already zoned that way) you are living in a dog friendly place. Many of us actually get joy from seeing our dogs run free and have fun. What is wrong with you people? If you don't want to see dogs, simply go to any of the trails that don't permit them. The overwhelming majority of people want a limited amount of the trails in the GGNRA to remain off leash. This has been an ongoing study for YEARS, with people weighing in for YEARS. Frankly, 3-1 sounds like a conservative estimate. Oh, and M. Manzano, have a cocktail.
T. Sullivan February 14, 2014 at 03:56 AM
My dog is not off leash in the off leash areas. She would chase those waves right out the Golden Gate, or that deer to wherever it feels safe. Nevertheless, I'm with the dog owners/walkers who want to preserve off leash GGNRA areas. It's a recreation area folks, not a wilderness.
Elvis February 14, 2014 at 04:19 AM
FYI: according to numerous studies by the pet industry, close to 75% of the entire population are dog owners. That's a 3-1 ratio. and this number has been going up by one percent every year for the last decade.
Allen February 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Ok, citing the pet industry's surveys vs accusing government employees of being biased against dogs, is a wash. The fact that the original article cites a 3-1 ratio of "respondents to the draft EIR" still suggests a greater likelihood of dog owner response. Elvis, 3-1 ratio(?), apparently I live in the parallel non-dog universe.
Tina McMillan February 14, 2014 at 01:30 PM
The GGNRA is going too far with added restrictions, however, being a dog owner that loves her pups, I am tired of having people tell me that their dogs are friendly as they come charging toward my dogs who are on leash in areas where leashes are required. Most of this is common sense and good manners.
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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