Environmental Groups Criticize SF Board of Supervisors’ Hearing on Proposed GGNRA Dog Rule

For Immediate Release

Golden Gate Audubon Society Executive Director Mike Lynes, (415) 505-9743 cell
Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater, (415) 572-6989
Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter, Arthur Feinstein, (415) 680-0643
SPRAWLDEF President, Norman LaForce, (415) 932-7465

Environmental Groups Criticize SF Board of Supervisors’ Hearing on Proposed GGNRA Dog Rule

Representatives of local environmental groups urge Board of Supervisors to focus on funding and improving San Francisco parks

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Representatives of local environmental groups are declining to take part in a hearing called by Supervisor Scott Wiener on the proposed regulation of dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – and are instead urging the Board of Supervisors to focus on pressing issues affecting San Francisco’s own parks.

The Board of Supervisors does not have jurisdiction over the GGNRA, a federal agency. While a public hearing is ostensibly intended to elicit public input on important policy matters, Supervisor Wiener has predetermined the outcome of the hearing and already drafted a resolution condemning the GGNRA plan.

“This hearing is really only an opportunity for Supervisor Wiener and others to make a public display of their support for unlimited off-leash dog recreation in the GGNRA,” said Arthur Feinstein, on behalf of the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It appears he’s trying to gain points with a minority of extremist dog owners by attacking the National Park Service’s effort to strike a balance between dog-related recreation and other activities in the GGNRA.”

At the hearing on Monday, October 21, it is expected that Supervisor Wiener will introduce a resolution co-sponsored by Supervisors Breed and Tang condemning the GGNRA’s proposed Dog Management Plan, as urged by some off-leash dog advocates. In 2011, also at the urging of off-leash dog advocates, Supervisor Wiener introduced a similar resolution that had no effect on the National Park Service’s proposed rule.

“Supervisor Wiener and the rest of the Board should spend their time ensuring that the city’s own parks are fully funded and that leash laws within the city are enforced,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “The city’s park system is in crisis—the Supervisors have cut funding even as demand is increasing—and the Board is wasting time on a meaningless resolution instead of working on real solutions to the city’s problems.”

If adopted, the National Park Service’s proposed dog rule would make the GGNRA the most accommodating unit for dogs in the National Park system. In addition, the city of San Francisco has more than 28 off-leash dog play areas and leash laws in other park areas are unenforced, making San Francisco the most dog-friendly city in North America. Despite that, off-leash dog advocates, and their political allies like Supervisor Wiener, are rejecting any attempt to regulate dogs in the GGNRA.

“The proposed Dog Management Rule is about accommodating all reasonable uses in an appropriate way within the GGNRA,” said Mike Lynes, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “The proposed rule—while far from perfect—creates clarity so that dog walkers know where on- and off-leash recreation is appropriate and so that others, who do not wish to interact with dogs, can also enjoy the GGNRA. Right now, that’s just not happening.”

About the Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter
The San Francisco Bay Chapter is a local Chapter of the Sierra Club, America’s largest and most effective grassroots environmental organization. The Bay Chapter is comprised of the 30,000 Sierra Club members who live in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Francisco counties.

About Golden Gate Audubon
Golden Gate Audubon has been dedicated to protecting Bay Area birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitat since 1917. We conserve and restore wildlife habitat, connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay Area residents in the protection of our shared, local environment.

SPRAWLDEF works to educate the public about landfill issues and connection between landfills, recycling, landfill expansion, the loss of habitat and the need to protect habitat from unwarranted land fill expansions. SPRAWLDEF also works to educate the public on the benefits of recycling and how to improve recycling. Additionally, SPRAWLDEF works to educate the public on the benefits of limiting sprawl development and protecting critical habitat from destruction.

The Wild Equity Institute is building a healthy and sustainable global community for people
and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.



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