The San Francisco Board of Supervisors went on record today opposing a federal proposal to restrict parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where dogs can go without a leash.
The board voted 10-1 in favor of a resolution stating opposition to the National Park Service’s plan to reduce the size of off-leash areas for dogs at 21 different locations within the recreation area, including Fort Funston, Crissy Field and Ocean Beach.
The park service has said the proposal is necessary due to visitor conflicts with dogs and the degradation of park resources by the pets.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who had introduced the resolution and held a hearing on the issue at the board’s Land Use and Economic Development committee meeting earlier this month, said today that the park service’s plan “has gone too far” and would negatively affect city parks.
Sean Elsbernd, the lone supervisor to vote against the resolution, said it could harm San Francisco’s partnership with the park service, particularly in the planning of the America’s Cup sailing races in the coming years since much of the activity surrounding the races will take place on federal land along the city’s coastline.
Elsbernd proposed an amendment to the resolution to strike a more conciliatory tone with the park service, saying “we need a collaborative effort to find a solution” to the issues the city has with the plan.
Although aspects of Elsbernd’s amendment were adopted into the resolution, the amendment itself was rejected by the board.
“You can be very collaborative … and still say what they’re doing is wrong,” Wiener said.
“We’re all grownups, everyone’s going to continue to work well together after today.”
Even though the resolution is toothless because the board does not have jurisdiction over the park service, Wiener said that since it was introduced, the federal agency has been more willing to come to the table to discuss the proposal with city officials, including the mayor’s office and Recreation and Park Department.
The public comment period for the off-leash plan ends May 30.
People can comment or find out more information about the proposal at www.nps.gov/goga/parkmgmt/dog-management.htm.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News