Reversion and Why Now
The GGNRA was created by Congress to maintain and preserve recreational opportunities for all citizens residing
in the greater Bay Area and the nation. People do come from all over the world to enjoy the scenic beauty of this area we
are all so fortunate to reside in. The concept was pure, to keep these lands
in the public domain, free from development so that they might be enjoyed by all (please click here to see an SF SPCA Advisory document).
The management of the GGNRA has perverted this vision. This conflict
is about promises broken, not just as they relate to our recreational opportunities with our dogs, but as much about the GGNRA’s
contractual obligation to be a good manager of our prized properties. It has
become clear that the GGNRA does not want the citizens to recreate on GGNRA lands: the GGNRA/NPS/DOI would prefer to create
areas of native wildlife and plant
habitat circa 1850 within our park that we may observe from “behind the ropes” much like wandering through a museum. The non-native plants and wildlife will be “eradicated”. Consider the
fallow and axis deer in West Marin, the groves of eucalyptus slated for destruction, the ballfields in the Presidio, the open
vistas of Fort Funston lost to the disabled, and the sand dunes there that children can no longer play on (please click here to see a letter from the SF SPCA to the GGNRA). The grant deeds for transfer of San Francisco
city properties specifically state that should the GGNRA use these lands for other than the purpose for which they were transferred,
the City has the right to take them back. In 2001, when the GGNRA abolished off-leash recreation in the GGNRA, the City Attorney
advised the Supervisors reversion was a legal option for the City. However, the
GGNRA appeased the City by promising Negotiated Rulemaking to re-establish off-leash recreation in the GGNRA. If you are familiar
with this web site, you know that the Negotiated Rulemaking process that is currently underway to determine off-leash recreation
in the GGNRA is merely a ruse to take away off-leash recreational rights. Further,
the City of San Francisco is not even a voting participant
in the process.
The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare has a simple directive: to advise the Board of Supervisors
as to what actions they should take to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic animals and wildlife in the City of San Francisco. San Francisco has an ordinance that requires
dog guardians to provide adequate exercise for their dogs, and acknowledges that in our urban environment that exercise will
occur on public lands (please click here to view a copy of the ordinance in the San Francisco
Health Code). The areas of the
GGNRA which were designated for off-leash use by the 1979 Pet Policy are necessary to accommodate the vast number of dogs
currently residing in the City of San Francisco. To lose GGNRA
off-leash areas would put an undue burden upon the City parks AND the citizens who currently utilize those parks. Overcrowding is a sure way to create chaos in any circumstance whether it be children’s classrooms,
prisons or City parks. For this reason alone, reversion is important to the quality
of life of every citizen in San Francisco who utilizes City
parks in any capacity (please click here to view the "Request for Reversion" as submitted
to the SF Commission of Animal Control and Welfare).
Last, we recognize that the current City Recreation and Park Department has not been a manager friendly to dogs,
nor have they done a stellar job of maintaining the parks they currently control. Ocean
Beach DOG has been contacted by people across the nation and in Puerto Rico who are likewise
facing conflicts in recreational usage of public properties. The NPS is consistently
described as a dictatorial agency which ignores the law and proceeds in the manner they see fit despite the objections of
the local population. The consensus is that local control of properties has proven to be much more responsive to the needs
of the people.
We should report that we at Ocean Beach DOG have reached out to local, State and Federal legislators, the NPS
at all levels, and the DOI at its highest level, as well as the Inspector General of the DOI, and none of these people or
their offices have had the courage to initiate a change in GGNRA management. Privately
they all acknowledge wrongdoing, but tell us we can always dispute GGNRA policy in the Federal Court.
The GGNRA has violated our rights as citizens time and again. Even
now, the Emergency closure at Ocean Beach
and Crissy Field is again unlawful, and we at Ocean Beach DOG are contemplating legal action to challenge that as well. But the long term solution for San Francisco
is clearly reversion. We cannot spend the entire lifetime of our pets or the
childhood of our children in Federal Court fighting illegal closures and restrictions imposed by the GGNRA.