The GGNRA'S Proposed
2013 Dog Management Plan
It was at the conclusion of the latest legal battle wherein Federal Judge William
Alsup reinstated the 1979 Pet Policy, over the objections of the GGNRA/NPS/DOI, that a statement was made by the Judge that
became the impetus for initiation of the planned changes in Dog Management in 2006. The June 2005 decision by Judge Alsup cited in this SEIS noted that the court’s action “in
no way restricts the authority of the Superintendent to ‘protect the resource,’
including the protection of endangered and threatened species."
asserts that the change in Dog Management Policy (DMP) in this SEIS is intended to protect the resources of the GGNRA. A Freedom of Information Request was made for the data,
documents, and/or Staff Report which substantiated the GGNRA’s claim that there was controversy over the dog policy,
compromised visitor and employee safety and resource degradation which warranted the change in Dog Management Policy (DMP)
and DEIS. The GGNRA’s response merely stated: “The Staff Report and
other documents you seek do not exist at this time”. [emphasis added]
There is no
mention in the DEIS or SEIS of the judge's additional admonition that "Congress has
committed the proper balance of resource protections and recreation to the park professionals.
Their judgments should be respected by the courts absent a violation of the
law." [emphasis added]
The GGNRA has violated the law by ignoring the fundamental legal underpinnings provided by the enabling legislation, NPS Laws, Rules, Regulations
and Policy. The GGNRA has demonstrably violated the enabling legislation
and the Memorandum of Understanding with the City by failing to meet their requirement to utilize sound principles of land
The enabling legislation states
specifically: “In the management
of the recreation area, the Secretary
of the Interior (hereinafter referred to as the ''Secretary'') shall utilize the resources in a manner which will provide for recreation and educational
opportunities consistent with sound principles of land use planning and management.”
The MOU with the City states: “The
1975 agreement for the lands transfer from the City of San Francisco to the NPS states that ―The National Park
Service, acting through the General Superintendent, agrees to utilize the resources of GGNRA in a manner
that will provide for recreational and educational opportunities consistent with sound principals of land use, planning and management..”
Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 established the sound principles for land use, planning and management. This Act provided the framework for fully integrating natural resource
monitoring and other science activities into the management processes of the National Park System. The Act charges the
Secretary of the Interior to "continually improve the ability of the National Park
Service to provide state-of-the-art management, protection, and interpretation of and research on the resources of the National
Park System", and to "assure the
full and proper utilization of the results of scientific studies for park management decisions." Section 5934 of the Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to develop a program of "inventory and monitoring of National Park System resources to establish baseline information and to provide information
on the long-term trends in the condition of National Park System resources."
NPS policy specifically states: “Natural resource monitoring provides site specific information needed to understand and
identify change in complex, variable, and imperfectly understood natural systems and to determine whether observed
changes are within natural levels of variability or may be indicators of unwanted human influences.”
short, site-specific, peer reviewed studies are required to justify and guide changes in management of National Park System
resources. Clearly, the failure of GGNRA management to conduct any consistent
monitoring or study of the resources in the GGNRA is a violation of Federal law. This SEIS highlights
the fact that GGNRA management is in persistent violation of the enabling legislation
for this park property. GGNRA management can provide no monitoring report to substantiate visitor use patterns or conflicts,
no documentation of degradation of the Recreation Area resources, as well
as no documentation as to whether resource degradation is inevitable or under
the control of management prior to proposing these management changes.
fact, the DEIS asserted dogs negatively affect water quality in the GGNRA. Those assertions have been omitted in the SEIS
with the following explanation on page 28:
"Although water quality monitoring
currently occurs at GGNRA, no site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted at the GGNRA sites to document impacts
to water quality specifically from dogs. It is also difficult to discern what is causing an impact to water quality, especially
in a large metropolitan area where water quality may already be degraded. The literature review found very few investigations
or peer-reviewed, scientific studies that document the isolated effects dogs have on water quality in recreational settings.
Water quality has therefore been dismissed as a resource topic in this document due to lack of literature."
the SEIS on pages 373 and 376, admits the following:
"Site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have not been conducted at the GGNRA sites for the sole purpose
of documenting impacts to vegetation or soils from dogs....
Very few site-specific, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted at GGNRA for the purpose of documenting impacts to wildlife as a result of dogs."
Without the site-specific,
peer reviewed studies, the GGNRA is left to argue that potential damage will be
done should they fail to change the DMP. This is not sufficient to justify a
change in the DMP by the standards set by the NPS itself.
The GGNRA has also embarked on a mission to create native plant habitats where no habitat previously existed. GGNRA management alleges this is a part of their obligation to “preserve” the park for future
enjoyment, however, this is NOT what they are doing. When you read the overview
for Fort Funston (in our full Comment text), it is abundantly clear that they are creating these native plant habitats, and in doing so they are destroying parts of the park that existed long before the GGNRA took
control. This process is not preserving anything. Additionally, this is in violation of their
authorizing directive, as they insist establishment of native plant areas requires the exclusion of humans from the site, eliminating all recreational activity in the area.
Essentially the GGNRA is creating habitats adjacent
to heavily used recreational areas, and then subsequently utilizing the habitat as a means to eliminate the recreational area.
If you read
the Affected Environment section carefully, you will learn that there are no
plant species which are endangered or threatened on Federal or State registers that
have designated "critical habitat" in the GGNRA. Based upon the ESA and the
enabling legislation for the GGNRA, it is a violation of the law to displace recreation to enhance the growth of any of these
listed plants in the GGNRA. However, we see that GGNRA management has displaced
recreational access to plant these plants with regularity, the most egregious location being Fort Funston.
It is time to stake our claim and stand
firm on Fort Funston
as the off-leash recreation area set forth in the 1979 Pet Policy. The aforementioned points need to be made to local and federal government officials. Therefore, we ask that you contact
your S.F. Supervisor, submit a comment to the GGNRA and sign the petition requesting Congressional oversight of the GGNRA Dog Management Plan. Otherwise...