The Current Crisis

Without your action, Bay Area residents in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties will lose significant recreational use of urban open spaces, including areas at Ocean Beach, Ft. Funston, Lands End, Marin Headlands, Stinson Beach, Sweeney Ridge, and Muir Beach.

The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed a new General Management Plan (GMP) reducing recreational use in all Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) parks.

This no longer affects only dog-owners.  Everyone enjoying these national and city parks will be affected forever…unless you act.

A Little More Detail

Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)

In January 2011, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), run by National Park Service (NPS) put out a 2,235-page plan that proposes eliminating 90% off leash dog walking areas and severely restricting dog walking rights and usage of 21 existing GGNRA sites in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo counties, and all future sites.  The main web page for this plan can be found here:  Public comments have been accepted.  We are waiting for GGNRA’s response and revised draft.

In October 2011, the GGNRA is now proposing a more broadly impacting General Management Plan (GMP).  This GMP proposes virtually reclassifying GGNRA parks, eliminating popular recreation such as running, picnicking, informal sports, and dog walking.  Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Congress has denied GGNRA’s official request to change it’s name (and implicit purpose) to “Golden Gate National Parks”.  Once again, GGNRA effectively seeks to sidestep its enabling legislation through this management plan modification.  This is unlawful because only an Act of Congress may accomplish such a drastic outcome that would adversely affect millions of people who live near these urban recreation areas.

More Details

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC)

The GGNPC ( is a non-profit whose “mission is to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the park visitor experience, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future.”

Notice that their mission does not include “recreation.”  The GGNPC donates $millions to the GGNRA with noticeable resulting influence.  For years, the GGNRA has been trying to remove “Recreation” from its name. This may seem harmless, but make not mistake — the GGNRA is trying to distance itself from providing “recreation”, as the GGNRA lands were originally apportioned.  In fact, in disregard to a Congressional rejection of a name change, GGNRA continues to fraudulently use the name “Golden Gate National Parks”.  By using the “Golden Gate National Parks”  name, the GGNRA further blurs the distinction between GGNRA and GGNPC, which has no obligation to watch out fairly for Bay Area residents and urban recreational needs.  GGNPC has even designed their logo to look like GGNRA’s park logos.

More Background Details

What You Can Do

  1. Sign petition calling for congressional oversight of GGNRA and NPS.
  2. Write your congressional representatives asking them to oppose GGNRA’s restrictions to off-leash dog walking.  Point out the flagrant conflicts of interest in the GGNRA and GGNPC relationship and demand transparency and equal treatment despite donations from special interest groups.
  3. Stay informed by signing up for SaveOffLeash updates
  4. Sign petition opposing the 2011 proposed Dog Plan.


Info about previous GGNRA DEIS Dog Plan can be found here.  We are waiting for GGNRA’s response to the public comments submitted in 2011.  You can still inform your congress persons that you oppose this plan that will allow GGNRA to significantly reduce off-leash dog areas at their sole discretion.


12 Responses to

  1. Peter Kagel says:

    Today I sent the following letter from my law office.

    March 19, 2011

    Frank Dean
    General Superintendent
    Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Building 201
    Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123-0022

    RE: Improper notice of March 7, 2011 Fort Mason meeting for the Dog Management Draft Plan/DEIS

    Dear Superintendent Dean,

    The address for the meeting for public comment on your website does not correspond with the print version of where the above-referenced meeting was advertised was advertised to be held and therefore demand is made that the meeting be held over again.

    The written literature had the meeting at Building A at Fort Mason, not Building D. I arrived at twilight and could not find the meeting. I asked someone who directed me to Building D. I note that the meeting was not visible from the Fort Mason entrance, nor was there any signage. The meeting was held at the far end of Building D and there was no noise that one could hear from the Fort Mason entrance.

    Should the National Park Service refuse to hold the meeting over this office will go to Court to force the Park Service to comply with the law.

    Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience.

    Very truly yours,

    Peter Kagel

  2. Deb Carsey says:

    I just read through much of the proposal, and I’m shocked. I had assumed that this report would be a fair evaluation of the issues. It’s not. It’s very clear that this proposal is based on very faulty reasoning. I do not know what the history or politics surrounding this is but it’s very clear to me that someone has pushed this through by making a decision and then hastily coming up with reasons to justify it. As a legislator, or news reporter I would be very suspicious of this entire project. For the first time I wish I was an investigative reporter.

    The writers constantly refer to “conflicts between dog walkers and enforcement officials” yet they provide a document showing _nearly all_ occurred in only THREE GGNRA locations. There are dozens of vague references throughout this document to “conflicts” yet these “conflicts” they list on the raggedy law enforcement document they provide are tiny compared to the volume of people who use these areas. The report admits itself that these conflicts are directly related to a lack of signage. So, why isn’t there enough signage?

    Why is that listed as a REASON to change existing usage? Huh? There is a vague claim that signage was put up but ignored. Exactly signage was this? Where was it and why was it ignored? Isn’t THAT the issue?

    I immediately looked for the comparison charts to other similar locations. There is none provided. What are the comparisons for these locations for non-dog related conflicts such as vagrants hanging out, or teenagers getting drunk, cars being stolen etc? When I see that Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Stinson Beach have almost all the reported conflicts, why include “conflicts” as the overall reason?

    This report simply has not justified their reasons for these sweeping changes. In addition, I question the authenticity of the law enforcement document itself as it appears to be improperly formatted. The totals are inaccurate since they are counting single incidents multiple times.

    There is no reason indicated why they can’t place appropriate signage for the public now or in the past. That’s just the tip of the iceberg on logical questions I have. The idea that Crissy field had by far the largest numbers of “conflicts” might be the millions of people that location serves each year. Why don’t we see what the citations and conflicts that are NON-DOG related at Crissy Field?

    The lack of leadership, service and support to the public from the folks managing these places is something I question every time I go to Fort Funston especially. In the dozens of times I’ve been there I’ve YET to see a SINGLE poop. The writers claim that they need to arbitrate all the damage caused by dog poop. They place in their summary of reasons to make these sweeping changes , so if not Fort Funston…exactly which of these locations DO require such arbitration? I’m going to take a look at that.

    Fort Funston has a major opportunity for providing income for it’s management by offering services to the community, utilizing volunteers to raise money and install improvements/maintenance. Personally I’ve thought of multiple appropriate ways this could be managed. The support for the location by the public is so huge they are even able to organize themselves without the support of government officials.
    Imagine what could happen if the decision to serve the public was made? The pet industry’s growth even during the recession should be a huge flag to even the most dim-witted that America has become dog-loving! Every community in the country is opening up areas for dogs and their owners, yet these officials are flagrantly fighting it. Why?

    Rather than take a stand against the public, what is wrong with serving the public?

  3. Diana Pettit says:

    Our Federal parks belong toe everyone, Franklin Roosevelt said when Yosemite park established for public uses.

    The Fort Funston site is not Only a Park of history where our forefathers and brothers fought during WWII. There are still bunkers, parts of the cannon rails,’and birds eye view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Our families including Our dogs enjoy this as if it was Yosemite only closer for our needs.’Today the ecOnomy,and purchase of gasoline for vacation is not accessable for everyone.

    Please don’t close this park to our family member our dogs and children.


  4. Mary Ellen McDonnell says:

    I am wondering if the public will be given the opportunity to review the “public responses” to the NPS plan for the GGNRA. Will there be some sort of tabulated catalog of the responses???? How do we know that our response “counts”?

  5. Miranda Priestly says:

    I will have my dog off leash no matter what the fascist Feds do. The more they tighten their grip, the more that will slip through their fingers.

  6. Nancy Freeman says:

    San Francisco for years has been an area of pleasurable open space for people as well as dogs with no excuse for trying to shut down space for the enjoyment of dogs. For years I have taken dogs to Fort Funston, where the walkers and the pets have mingled perfectly. When the rangers fenced off a number of areas where the dogs would run, the bank swallows who used to chase my running dog in order to catch the bugs she kicked up had to move over to the golf course to be fed. And I find the “native plant” excuse ridiculous, as included in that category are all of the prickly bushes as well as the poison oak which is prevalent in those areas. I dread the thought of being in a park where all of the dogs are forced to be on leash! That is not natural, and is resented by the animals. Imagine if the dog owners had to be tied up as well!!!!! Where is the common sense in all of this? Please rethink, and realize that pets and people belong together, and are a part of our community.

    Thank you,

  7. Pot Nuntavong says:

    Dogs need freedom like human being needs their own. Please stop doing this thing for the person that is not an animal lover. Thank you. Pot

  8. Tony Favero says:

    GGNRA has history of limiting access to public lands. For a synopsis of such hostile actions please see web link…..

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