On February 22, 2016 the National Park Service released a “dog rule” for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that will reduce current on- and off-leash dog walking recreation space by 90 percent. The rule ignores overwhelming public opposition to earlier identical proposals from the Park Service as well as resolutions by the San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Boards of Supervisors.
The National Park Service is about to severely cut or entirely ban dog walking at most of Ocean Beach, Ft. Funston, Crissy Field, Muir Beach, the Marin Headlands, Rancho Corral de Tierra, Sweeney Ridge and many other parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).
Time is running out! Let the National Park Service know that they must keep their promise and keep the GGNRA accessible to everyone, including our furry companions.
The dog rule, as published in the Federal Register: http://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/upload/Fed%20Reg%20Final%20Rule091908-2.pdf
Proposed dog rule maps: http://www.nps.gov/goga/getinvolved/prop-rule-maps.htm
Summary of Dog Rule Impacts in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo (https://www.facebook.com/notes/save-off-leash-dog-walking-areas-in-the-sf-bay-area/ggnra-dog-rule-recap-where-to-submit-comments/967764836634316)
Baker Beach: All off-leash dog walking recreation will be eliminated. Dogs allowed on leash at southern half of beach and on Coastal Trail. Dogs banned from northern half of beach.
Crissy Field: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be cut by 60%. Dogs allowed off-leash at Central Beach and middle of airfield. On leash the rest of airfield and on Promenade. Dogs banned from East Beach (near parking lot) and from Western Beach.
Fort Funston: Dog walking recreation area will be cut by 60%. Dogs allowed off-leash at beach from Sand Ladder north to North Access Trail, and at Chip Trail (upper level). Dogs banned from the beach at the North Access Trail north to stairwell 21 at Ocean Beach. All other trails on leash or no dogs.
Fort Mason: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be eliminated from Great Meadow. Dogs allowed off-leash at corner of Laguna Street and Bay Street, and on leash at Great Meadow and some other places. Dogs banned from half of overall area.
Fort Point: Dog walking recreation will be allowed on leash.
Fort Miley: All off-leash dog walking recreation will be eliminated. Dogs allowed on leash at most trails.
Lands End: All off-leash dog walking recreation will be eliminated. Dogs allowed on leash at most trails.
Ocean Beach: Dog walking recreation area will be cut by 80%. Dogs allowed off-leash from stairwell 21 north to the Cliff House. Dogs banned from stairwell 21 south to Fort Funston.
Sutro Heights Park: Dogs walking recreation will be allowed on leash.
There will be one beach area for off-leash dog walking recreation and almost all on leash trails will be eliminated. Park Service has just changed the names of fire roads to trails in order to eliminate off-leash dog walking at these locations.
Homestead Valley: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be banned from all fire roads and trails. Dogs allowed on leash at some trails.
Fort Baker: On leash dog walking recreation will be allowed at parade route and some trails.
Marin Headlands: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be banned from all fire roads and trails. Dogs on leash will be banned from all but several trails. No loop options. (Maps do not show detail of trails.)
Muir Beach: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be banned from beach and trails. Dogs allowed on leash at beach, but not where and when the ocean and Redwood Creek are connected by water. Dogs on leash banned from all surrounding trails. (Maps do not show detail of trails.)
Oakwood Alta: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be banned from all fire roads and trails. Dogs allowed on leash at some trails.
Rodeo Beach: Off-leash dog walking recreation will be allowed at beach, and at northern end when lagoon surface water and ocean are not connected. Dogs allowed on leash at some trails. Dogs off-leash banned from southern beach and all trails.
Stinson Beach: Dog walking is banned entirely from beach.
There will be no off-leash dog walking recreation access anywhere in San Mateo County and people will not be allowed to walk more than three dogs at one time.
Milagra Ridge: Dog walking recreation area will be cut by 50%. No loop options.
Mori Point: Dog walking recreation area will be cut by 50%.
Rancho Corral de Tierra: Historical dog walking recreation area will be cut by 50%. Dogs allowed on leash at four trails.
Sweeney Ridge: Dog walking recreation area will be cut by 65%. Dogs banned from Pacifica access.
There will be additional restrictions for anyone walking with more than three dogs in San Francisco and Marin, and they apply to everyone – not just professional dog walkers. People with more than three dogs will need to purchase a permit, they will only be able to walk with more than three dogs and a maximum of six during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will not be allowed with more than three dogs at Lands End, Fort Miley and Sutro Heights. They will also be restricted from more areas than are already being cut at places like Crissy Field and Baker Beach. The maps that accompany the rule are unclear where these additional restrictions will take effect. The tables in the rule list where dog walkers with more than three dogs will be restricted regardless of whether they are designated for dog walking. (We have asked the National Park Service to amend the maps to show these areas and differences.)
A monitoring-based management program is part of the rule. It means that if people do not comply with the new rule, the GGNRA Superintendent may arbitrarily change the status of any area without going through the required public comment period. For example, the few remaining off-leash areas could be changed to on leash or no dogs, and on leash could be changed to no dogs. There is no criteria for what level of non-compliance would trigger a change or how it is recorded.
The rule directs law enforcement rangers to engage people walking a dog by stopping and asking them for proof of rabies vaccination, proof of dog license, and prove the dog has immediate “recall.” Voice and Sight control has been redefined to mean a dog that is within direct eyesight of the dog walker and that the dog walker is able to both immediately recall directly to his or her side, without regard to circumstances or distractions, and attach a leash to the dog’s collar. The dog walker must demonstrate this ability when requested to do so by an authorized person. GGNRA will spend $2.6 million annually to hire rangers to enforce the new rule.