Tag Archive for: San Francisco garter snake


Contact: Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, 415-680-0643

As a result of a last-minute Agreement reached between environmental organizations and the SF Recreation and Park Department, the Department has agreed to withdraw its plans to raise golf fairways and fill wetlands at the Sharp Park golf course. This golf course redevelopment had been incorporated into the Department’s Natural Resource Areas Management Plan EIR over environmental groups’ opposition. As part of the Agreement, environmental organizations withdrew their appeal of the EIR. 

The Agreement reached between environmentalists and the SF Recreation and Parks Department will improve the chances for survival for two endangered species, the California red-legged frog (made famous in Mark Twain’s short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County) and the San Francisco Garter Snake from the impacts of the damaging golf course project. The species use the fairways and its wetlands as habitat.

“It is always hard to reach decisions at the very last moment but we believe that this Agreement goes far towards protecting these species on the brink of extinction. And by removing the elements of the project that constitute a golf course redevelopment, the Natural Areas program that we all support can now move forward,” said Arthur Feinstein of the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter.

Sharp Park Golf Course, owned by San Francisco and located in Pacifica, is habitat for the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and California Red-legged frog. Scientists at various institutions, including Cal Academy of Sciences and San Francisco State University, have criticized the golf course as threatening rare and dwindling habitat for the endangered species.

The coalition of environmental groups that signed the appeal included Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Wild Equity Institute,  Golden Gate Audubon, Sequoia Audubon, Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter, SAVE THE FROGS!


For Immediate Release: January 17, 2017
Press Contact: Brent Plater, bplater@wildequity.org, 415-572-6989

Environmental Groups Appeal SF Plan to Redevelop Money-losing Sharp Park Golf Course

Endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and California Red-legged Frog threatened by development

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and PACIFICA, CA – Today a coalition of environmental groups filed an appeal of a plan to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course. The Recreation and Park and Planning Commissions recently approved the project as a  part of a citywide Natural Resources Management Plan.

“In 2009 the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department promised in writing that a controversial proposal to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course would never be inserted into the Natural Resources Management Plan,” said Brent Plater of Wild Equity. “The Department broke this promise, and in the process broke the law and any pretense of honest, open governance of our parks.”
2006 Natural Resources Management Plan for Sharp Park

2006 Natural Resources Management Plan for Sharp Park. The original plan’s management boundary (depicted by areas shaded in brown) was limited to the natural lagoon at Sharp Park. No modifications to the golf course were proposed. Environmental groups unanimously supported this plan.

Sharp Park Golf Course, owned by San Francisco and located in Pacifica, is habitat for the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and California Red-legged frog. Scientists at various institutions, including Cal Academy of Sciences and San Francisco State University, have criticized the golf course as threatening rare and dwindling habitat for the endangered species.

2016 Natural Resources Management Plan for Sharp Park. After no public hearings, the plan significantly changed for Sharp Park. The boundary has been expanded to include the golf course. The plan now includes raising several fairways to “reduce flooding,” moving holes, and modifying hole lengths. Scientists warn this plan threatens one of the last remaining habitats for the endangered species.

“It’s a shame that the golf course redevelopment is part of an otherwise sound plan,” said Arthur Feinstein of the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter. “We support other elements of the Natural Resources Management Plan, so we’re asking the Board of Supervisors to take out the golf course redevelopment, and let the rest of the plan go forward.”

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), which joined today’s appeal, issued the following statement: “We’re simply asking the City to make good on their promise to conduct a complete, separate environmental review of any changes to the Sharp Park golf course,” stated Neal Desai of NPCA. “Raising fairways and moving holes may improve playability but scientists warn it will harm species. San Francisco shouldn’t jam an unrelated golf course development into a natural areas plan.”

Back in 2011, the Board of Supervisors voted to turn Sharp Park Golf Course over to the National Park Service. However, Mayor Ed Lee, a golf enthusiast, vetoed the decision.

“New records show that Sharp Park Golf Course lost more than $600,000 in 2014/15 alone,“ says Plater. “At a time when the Mayor is asking departments to cut budgets, it’s irresponsible to pour millions of taxpayer dollars into a golf course that loses money year after year. We have five other public golf courses in San Francisco that are more popular and accessible to residents. And unlike Sharp Park Golf Course, they don’t harm endangered species.”

Many golf courses have closed in recent years because of the declining popularity of the sport.

Other groups that oppose the golf course redevelopment include Golden Gate Audubon, Sequoia Audubon, Surfrider Foundation San Francisco Chapter, SAVE THE FROGS!, and SF League of Conservation Voters.

Will San Francisco squander one of the last opportunities to help the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake?  

Unless you stand with us now, the City of St. Francis probably will.  

San Francisco Garter Snakes!

Is it too late for our namesake snake?

For years Wild Equity has been leading the fight against the money-losing, endangered species-killing Sharp Park Golf Course.  

In the first weeks of 2017 we will lead a challenge to a terrible plan to redevelop the golf course, a plan that the City just authorized a few weeks ago.

But we can’t do it alone.  When you join Wild Equity, you make sure San Francisco creates a more just and sustainable community for all: including North America’s most beautiful serpent.

Imagine the world we will build together: a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. Thank you for supporting this vision and contributing to our work today!

Brent PlaterThank you so much!

Brent Plater

Brent Plater
Executive Director

Wild Equity’s new online store is now live! So day or night you can get your hands on Nancy Morita’s beautifully heartbreaking ‘Wild in the City’ poster; or our famous “I ‘Bird’ SF” T-shirts; or one of our gorgeous, reusable, non-toxic, 100% recycled aluminum, made-in-the-USA water bottles.  

If you’re looking for something else, consider shopping at AmazonSmile and designate Wild Equity Institute as your charity of choice.  When you do,  Amazon.com will give a portion of the website’s profits to Wild Equity: at no extra charge to you!  Look for items with “Eligible for Amazon Smile donation” in the product description, and again, be sure to designate Wild Equity as your favorite charitable organization.  

Saturday, April 30, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

On April 30 at 11 am, we’ll be joining forces with one of our favorite conservation groups Save the Frogs! We’ll be leading a hike at Mori Point. Join us to learn more about the endangered species living there (the California Red-legged Frog and the San Francisco Garter Snake), and to find out what’s been going on at Sharp Park and Mori Point in the past several months.

Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044.

December 20, 2011



Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Kerry Kriger, Save the Frogs, (831) 600-5442
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643

Mayor Lee Vetoes National Park Partnership Option at Sharp Park

Mayor ignores popular opinion, environmental constraints to push back-room golf development deal

San Francisco— San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee snubbed San Francisco’s political center today by vetoing legislation put forth by environmental and social service organizations. By doing so, he refused to give City policymakers and residents an opportunity to consider a partnership between the City and the National Park Service for long-term management of Sharp Park before a multi-million dollar bailout of the Bay Area’s most controversial golf course is consummated.

The Mayor refused to speak with the organizations that supported the ordinance before acting.

“Mayor Lee’s veto will cost San Francisco millions of dollars, union jobs, and its credibility on environmental issues,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Our coalition will continue to press on all fronts to ensure Sharp Park becomes a public park everyone can enjoy.”

Until now the City has been pursuing a back-room deal with San Mateo County to socialize Sharp Park Golf Course’s costs and privatize the revenue stream so an elite golf development can be constructed on California’s coast. The legislation the Mayor vetoed would have allowed these negotiations to continue, but required the City to also review a partnership option with the National Parks Service, which already manages several properties near Sharp Park. Working with NPS would have allowed the City to consider other feasible options for the land before investing tens of millions into a golf course that will be under water, financially and physically, in the next 50 years.

“Today was an unfortunate day for the democratic process in San Francisco,” said Dr. Kerry Kriger, founder of Save the Frogs, whose supporters sent over 4,000 letters to the City in support of the legislation. “Mayor Lee refused to meet with any environmental group to discuss the issue. His veto extends the death sentence that endangered California red-legged frogs receive every time the City uses taxpayer money to pump Sharp Park’s wetlands out to sea.”

The veto comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a central element of San Francisco’s plan to continue golf operations at Sharp Park Golf Course. In a December 8, 2011 letter to the City the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the City’s application for a “recovery permit” to clear vegetation from wetlands and lagoons that the golf course uses as its drainage system. Instead, the Fish and Wildlife Service stated that the City must either create a habitat conservation plan for Sharp Park or obtain a permit through a formal consultation process for projects that adversely affect endangered species. The letter effectively put the City on notice for civil and criminal penalties should frog egg masses be harmed or moved as a result of golf course operations.

“Mayor Lee and the golf lobby he represents know that their back-room golf development deal for Sharp Park is politically unpopular and will not withstand scrutiny,” said Plater. “So they are trying to prevent the public from having a choice at Sharp Park. We will make sure that the public is given an opportunity to make that choice in 2012.”

“The City is making a poor investment choice for its Recreation and Parks dollars. We will need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to make this golf course operational, and more to make it compliant with Fish and Wildlife standards,” said Arthur Feinstein of the Sierra Club. “In the next 50 years Sharp Park will have to address sea level rise; the properties behind Sharp Park’s sea wall are already experiencing flooding due to a poorly managed water system. Why the City would increase expenditures at Sharp Park when City parks are suffering is beyond me.”

Visit wildequity.org for more information about our campaign to restore Sharp Park.

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


The classic beauty, the troubled slugger, and the Wild Equity Institute’s campaign to restore Sharp Park were all on the front page of the San Francisco chronicle on Thursday, March 24, 2011.
Click here to see a .pdf of the article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

Now send a letter to the editor
thanking the paper for running this important story. Remind all San Franciscans that all the available evidence indicates that Sharp Park was once a backbarrier fresh to brackish lagoon, not a saline tidal lagoon as the proponents of the status quo allege in this article. That means we can restore the natural system while preserving endangered species at Sharp Park. In the process we’ll build a better public park with recreation opportunities everyone can enjoy.