GMP Details

  • Replaces the legislated GGNRA mandate to “preserve for public use and enjoyment” and “provide for the maintenance of needed recreational open space” with a new purpose of “offer national park experiences” (Summary pg 6)  Recreation-based management will be replaced with restoration-based management and give license for more closures at Fort Funston, Ocean Beach, and other park areas.  The stated position of many of opposing dog recreation is that the park is either a “National Park” or “created to offer a National Park experience”.
  • Approximately ninety percent of the park acreage in the plan is assigned to the “natural” zone requiring management to:
  • “restore natural integrity while providing a backcountry type visitor experience”
  • “Aggressively” address “external threats” to natural resources.  (Summary pg 15)
  • “visitor use would be controlled”

These “natural” zones include high visitation areas such as Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, and Muir Beach even though the plan says that San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo will be managed to “Connect People to the Park”.  This plan treats what was originally planned to be peoples’ “backyards” as if it is the Yosemite backcountry.  This zoning does not “Connecting People to the Parks”, which is the stated preferred concept for Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo but instead prioritizes restoration ecology over people in the mandated recreation areas.

Natural Zone Terminology Allows Excluding Recreation | Activities Allowed

  • Visitor Experience instead of recreation is used as a primary objective for management planning.  The plan glossary defines visitor experience as “The perceptions, feelings, and reactions a person has while visiting a park. Examples of visitor experiences include a sense of being immersed in a natural landscape; a feeling of being crowded; a feeling of being in an area where the sights and sounds of people and vehicles are predominant; having a sense of challenge and adventure; or a perception of solitude and privacy.”  (Volume III pg 165)  This makes no reference to the physical health or community building benefits traditionally associated with recreation.

 

  • Every traditional recreation activity, other than stewardship and walking, is at some level of jeopardy under this new draft plan.  For example, the following are not planned activities for the 70% of Ocean Beach (aka Beach Chalet to Fort Funston): dogs, running, bikes, informal sports, picnicking, kites, windsurfing, and horses.  In addition, the draft plan calls for threats to be “aggressively” addressed but does not provide any measureable standards, which can lead to arbitrary exclusion such as those for people with dogs.
  • Doesn’t consider Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, or Muir Beach to have achieved the 1980 Plan objectives (Summary pg 2) even though those three sites alone represent 30% of the tracked GGNRA visitation per official GGNRA visitor statistics , were designated as high visitation areas in the 1980 Plan, are literally people’s backyards, and are deeply loved by the community.  Ocean Beach alone gets more than 40% of the yearly Yosemite visitation and 170% of the Sequoia visitation.
  • Applies to any new lands acquired by the GGNRA.  The GGNRA administrative boundaries include most nearby coastal California state parks and other open spaces, which means they are likely to be acquired.  Some of the major examples include the popular coastal recreational areas at Rancho Corral de Tierra, Linda Mar Beach, McNee Ranch, Sharp Park, SF Peninsula Watershed, and Mount Tamalpais.
  • Focuses recreation primarily on stewardship and educational programs, which it newly defines as recreational activities and assumes, based on general observation only, that young people – many minorities – are increasing because of the educational and volunteer programs managed by the park and park partners (Summary pg 2) .This is the only stated plan to encourage minorities and is a concern since it could take advantage of minorities, particularly the under-privileged, to provide a free workforce instead of more importantly providing friendlier regulations and enforcement, clean and inviting recreational facilities, immersion in traditional outdoor recreation, family opportunities, and improved transportation.
  • Park usage by local residents and health and community building benefits of traditional recreation is buried deep in Volume III and is not a primary objective in the Summary even though it is well documented how vital recreation is to the local communities and that these communities are the primary users.  This is an excellent summary of the many benefits of recreation to a community:  The Benefits of Parks: Why America Needs More City Parks and Open Space By Paul M. Sherer
  • The proposed visitor facilities are impressive but unlikely to be funded since the plan doesn’t prioritize any of the plans, and the Park Service has chosen over the past twenty years to invest almost all discretionary funds in restoration ecology at places such as Lands End, Rodeo Lagoon, Redwood Creek, and Mori Point.  Other than Crissy Field, with significant donor money from park users, and Alcatraz, none of the GGNRA sites have adequate or reasonable visitor facilities, while millions are spent on habitat restoration and creation.  The draft plan includes millions for restoration ecology and for visitor facilities (Summary pg 58)  but provides no indication of priorities.
  • Removing recreation from these areas has little to do with significant wildlife or bird conservation efforts.  In Volume I on Page 289, the plan identifies impacts on wildlife and vegetation as “localized” for all the alternatives, including the “no action” alternative.  This applies except for a few of the endangered species and for those the stated impacts are basically the same between the plans. 
  • The “natural” zone requires controlling visitor use but user capacity standards are only provided for Alcatraz and Muir Woods and not the majority of the land which is traditional recreation areas.   This lack of planning could lead to arbitrary exclusion of people or activities from traditional recreation areas.

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