Fort Funston is an extraordinary San Francisco park that has been dedicated to recreational use since 1961.  It’s San Francisco open recreation at its finest, with shared use among hang gliders, dune sliders, nesting birds, romping kids and dogs.…and the experience is now threatened for many who love it, as efforts are underway to close off some of the most popular areas of the Fort to recreational use.

 The National Park Service, which manages Fort Funston, closed areas of the park to the public in 1995 and promised at that time that no further closures would be made.  They now propose to close another twelve acres and have already closed ten acres without going through the proper procedures for allowing public input.

If this proposal prevails, much of the land at Fort Funston will be closed to public use.

The vast closure is purportedly to protect the bank swallow, a migratory bird that nests in the cliffs.  However, areas have been closed that are far from the nesting sites of the birds.  The California Department of Fish and Game has advised that closure of a much smaller area would protect the bank swallow.  There have been no scientific studies justifying the proposed or prior closures.

What are we trying to accomplish?

Federal regulations specifically address procedures the Park Service must follow to allow public input before a closure that is expected to be “highly controversial” or to significantly change land use patterns.  Fort Funston Dog Walkers (FFDW) and San Francisco Dog Owners Group (SFDOG) filed a lawsuit on March 13, 2000 contending that the Park Service did not follow these regulations.

On April 23, U.S. District Judge William Alsup agreed; he found that the closure was indeed “highly controversial” and determined that there was “…an intent on the part of the National Park Service to railroad through the closure…”

As a result, the Park Service complied with the regulation for posting notice of the proposed closure in the Federal Register.   This was done on July 18, 2000.

The public now has until September 18, 2000 to give their input on the proposed closures.

What you can do:

If you feel strongly about this, you must act now.  Space WILL be closed to us permanently if we don’t make our voices heard.  Even if you don’t use Fort Funston, please support this cause.  Restriction of off-leash privileges can happen in any park.  

Write letters or postcards (see below for sample letter to print or use for ideas in your own letter).

Attend the GGNRA Citizens Advisory Commission meeting:

        August 29, 7:30 p.m.,
            Building 201, Upper Fort Mason,
            Bay and Franklin Streets
, San Francisco.

Join one or both dog owner groups involved in the current litigation and in advocating for off-leash recreation. 

        *** Timing is everything! ***

The Park Service must receive public input by September 18, 2000.

For more in-depth information about the issues and the legal case:

Fort Funston Dog Walkers: (415) 273-5715
SFDOG: (415) 339-7461



You can do this in two ways:

·        Print the form letter below, adding a few sentences if you wish (or write your own letter), and mail it today. 


·        Write your own letter and send to the following address: 

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Bay and Franklin Streets
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123

Copies to the following addresses would be helpful, but the most important thing is to write to the superintendent.
Please don’t assume your letter won’t count.  Public input is very important.   

Suggested addresses for copies: 

SFDOG:          P.O. Box 31071, San Francisco, CA 94131 

FFDW:            P.O. Box 959, Daly City, CA 95017-0959

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 145380
San Francisco, CA 94102 


The Honorable Tom Lantos
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
400 South El Camino Real, Suite 410
San Mateo, CA 94402
The Honorable Diane Feinstein
United States Senator
525 Market Street, Suite 3670

San Francisco, CA 94105



San Francisco acquired Fort Funston in 1962 to be used as open recreational space.

When GGNRA was created in 1972, the first mandate was that the GGNRA parks be maintained for "needed recreational open space."

The deed that transferred Fort Funston to the Park Service requires the Park Service to use the land for "recreation or park purposes" forever.  If the Park Service fails to do so, the City of San Francisco may take the park back.

More than 20 percent of Fort Funston is being closed through the closures in 1995 and the proposed closure.

The California Department of Fish & Game has advised that closure of only the cliff face and the top of the cliffs is necessary to protect the bank swallows.

Closure of the proposed twelve acres is not necessary to protect bank swallows.

The bank swallow population at Fort Funston has declined dramatically since the initial closures.  Those closures have not benefited the bank swallows.

Dog owners are by far the predominant users of Fort Funston.

There are no scientific studies justifying the proposed or prior closures. 

Please add points of your own and express how you feel about the closures. 

Or use the form letter below -- fill in additional thoughts if you wish, and mail.

Your input does matter.  Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this effort!

 To PRINT the letter below, click here for a page with just the letter.



Brian O’Neill
Fort Mason, Building 201
San Francisco, CA 94123

Dear Mr. O’Neill: 

I am writing in opposition to the proposal to close twelve acres of Fort Funston.  Fort Funston was given to the National Park Service by San Francisco for recreational use, and in legislation creating the GGNRA, Congress specified urban  recreation as a priority.

By far the majority of visitors to Fort Funston are San Franciscans and their dogs.  They go to Fort Funston to enjoy its decades-long tradition of off-leash free play and canine socialization, in a windblown but gloriously beautiful section of San Francisco coastline.

In one of the most densely populated cities in the country, such space is vital to the 38% of us who keep dogs, love the land, and contribute to the maintenance of our local environment.


Join Fort Funston Dog Walkers & San Francisco Dog Owners Group

Please join us!  Membership in San Francisco Dog Owners Group (SFDOG) or Fort Funston Dog Walkers (FFDW) are each $10 per year.  Both groups are dedicated to expanding and preserving off-leash recreation.   Please send forms with payment to the addresses noted below.

Date: __________________________________________________
First Name: _____________________________________________
Last Name: _____________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________
City: ___________________________________________________
State: ____________________                       Zip: ________________
Phone:  ( ________ ) ______________________________________
Email: __________________________________________________



Donations to the legal effort described in this packet are greatly needed and appreciated, and can be sent to either of the dog groups involved in the litigation.  

To donate to Fort Funston Dog Walkers Legal Fund:

Make check payable to Fort Funston Dog Walkers
Write “Legal Fund” in memo section of the check

To donate to SFDOG Legal Fund:

Make check payable to San Francisco Dog Owners Group
Write “Legal Fund” in memo section of check  


Addresses for membership forms/donations:

SFDOG:          P.O. Box 31071, San Francisco, CA 94131 

FFDW:            P.O. Box 959, Daly City, CA 95017-0959

To First Section of Fort Funston Forum