dog-holding-gavel.jpgThe people at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area must have known they were unleashing a firestorm in a city with more dogs than children when they unveiled a new plan in January eliminating off-leash dog walking areas from Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston and entirely banning dogs from Muir Beach in Marin. This coming Monday, a group dedicated to fighting the proposed ban is staging a protest outside of GGNRA headquarters in Fort Mason Center.

While off-leash dog walking is technically prohibited in nearly all national parks, the GGNRA issued guidelines the late ’70s designating just under 15% of GGNRA land as off-leash areas. In 2001, there was an attempt to eliminate these areas as a means to protect an endangered birds species but that ban was later invalidated by a judge because the change in policy received insufficient public input prior to implementation.

According to the massive document detailing the plan the newly proposed ban is being done for environmentally conscious reasons similar to the ones behind the attempted ban imposed a decade ago.

Consistently exercising your dog is one of the most essential elements in keeping them from eating/peeing on every single thing you own. As any good dog owner will tell you, making sure your dog gets enough exercise is difficult when they’re on leash without getting a ton of exercise yourself. This is America and forcing Americans to exercise is a cardinal sin right up there with touching our junk or gently encouraging us to maybe not mainline quite so much lard directly into our veins.

Opponents of the ban, such as Supervisor Scott Wiener, worry that the closure of off-leash dog paradises such as Fort Funston will lead to at the city’s other dedicated off-leash dog parks like Alamo Square and Duboce Parks turning into overcrowded dogpiles.

The GGNRA’s holding to SF meetings (the one in Marin was reportedly a good time) for the public to comment on the plan: Saturday, March 5 from 11-4, at SF State’s Seven Hills Conference Center, and Monday, March 7, at Fort Mason’s Building D – Fleet Room from 4-8.

It’s during this last meeting that off-leash fans say that “armed with dog whistles (human frequency tuned), signs and pictures of pooches, Bay Area dog owners (will) howl loudly at park headquarters.” According to their facebook page, Supervisor John Avalos is also confirmed to speak during the rally.

If you’re against the ban and want to hit the people at the GGNRA with a rolled up newspaper for rub their faces in their own poop (please don’t do either of those things), Monday’s protest starts at 5:30pm in the parking lot at Fort Mason Center, Building D.

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