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GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill

Comments at 1/23/01 GGNRA Advisory Commission Meeting

Rich Bartke, Chair:

Is there anything else on this item to come before the commission?.... The next item on our agenda...

Audience Member:

Excuse me.

Rich Bartke, Chair:

Somebody asked that the Superintendent respond. He's willing to do that -- we will ask him to do that.

Brian O'Neill, Superintendent:

I want to first of all thank the public for -- in most cases -- your decorum and appreciation. I really do appreciate the thoughtful comments of people like Ed Sayres [SF SPCA President] and Linda McKay [Fort Funston Dog Walkers Chair] in understanding the delicacy and difficulty of the issue that we have to deal with here.

We have a park of extraordinary diversity and extraordinary resource values, and there are many, many difficult issues to try to thread through, and I think this Commission, and I know the Park, has tried to be very resourceful in how we've addressed that, given constraints that we have to work within.

I think we want to continue that attitude of being resourceful, but realizing that we have to thread a very difficult needle here on how we do it. And, certainly, representing the Park Service in the spirit of wanting to see if there' s an answer that's appropriate, that's respective of other user interests, is respectful of resource stewardship that we all have a concern with, and that the discussions involve all of the key stakeholder interests, because clearly we heard from a lot of people who felt intimidated about coming tonight because of what they expected would be the decorum, and I don't think we got a full representation of all those views tonight, and I think it's important if we have this dialogue, we understand who those stakeholders are, and that they feel like they have a voice that's being heard, respected, and dealt with as we address it.

So, clearly from the Park point of view, I'm very supportive of moving forward in the spirit of tracking on those three issues. We have to make it clear that in 120 days we will see where we're at, and we have to deploy what we call "discretionary authority". There's no such thing as not citing egregious situations, and I think you all will agree, there's certain situations out there that need to be dealt with on the spot, and under no circumstances are we going to give up that right and obligation that we have to the public that uses the park, so we will continue to use that discretionary authority, and we will do it in a very responsible way.

We have to make it clear also that the Fort Funston twelve acre issue is not subject to this resolution; that's in the courts and that has to complete itself in the courts, and that that is important, that is, that that's a separate issue from this broader question.

Other than that, I think we all here are interested in rolling up our sleeves and trying to find creative ways to deal with the challenges that we've got, and I just want to underscore the fact that we feel blessed in this community to have a national park that has the resource values that are every bit as important and significant as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, and we need to respect those resources and how we use them in responsible ways.

Thank you.

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