Fort Funston is a wonderful, foggy San Francisco park filled with iceplant, lupine, coyote bush, playful dogs, ocean smells & fantastic views. It is also one of the few parks that allows dogs to play without leashes (off-leash). In the past few years, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed the Marin Headlands, the Presidio (except for one street), Land's End, and some of Crissy Field, all areas that formerly allowed off-leash play.
Now the Park Service wants to kick off-leash dogs out of the Fort Funston seaside trails. On July 18 they submitted a proposal to permanently close 12 acres. This, along with earlier closures, essentially blocks off a major portion of the coastline for anyone to enjoy.
IS NOT ABOUT DOGS VERSUS BANK SWALLOWS
The NPS says the closure is to "save the bank swallows," and for the past five years have been putting up fences, ripping out iceplant and planting "native plants." However, there is NO evidence that the closures or native plants help the swallows. Bank swallows do well eating almost any kind of insects, and are not "sensitive," i.e. they have thrived next to farms, power plants, etc. In fact this year, the Fort Funston swallows moved their burrows from the protected area to a dog and iceplant cliff!
Bank swallows are a threatened (not endangered) species in California. There are only two coastal colonies because bank swallows normally live on river banks (hence their name, Riparia riparia). The major threat, as determined by the California Department of Fish & Game, is flood control and bank protection projects near farmland in the Central Valley, NOT off-leash dogs at Fort Funston. Outside of California, the bank swallow is a common bird. Dog owners support protecting the bank swallows, but do NOT support the lack of science that the NPS actions have demonstrated.
FOR YOUR PARK, FIGHT FOR YOUR DOG
The NPS's proposal is a land grab to make Fort Funston a nature exhibit, instead of remaining a recreational urban park. This is a park in the middle of a major metropolitan area. Its historical use is as a military base, and then as a park filled with dog owners, hang gliders and others. The NPS can develop a native plant habitat in ALL those acres where dogs already aren't allowed!
Unless you write letters & get educated about this issue, Fort Funston is going to be a fenced corridor where only leashed-dogs are allowed, if at all. YOU have to do this. Numbers count. If the Park Superintendent & Senators & Representatives & City officials don't hear from you, they can assume that San Francisco doesn't need off-leash recreational space.
LETTERS, SPEAK UP
The NPS is required to receive and review public comment on this proposal.
Insist that off-leash dog areas are a valid recreational need, and that any closures be supported by scientific facts.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Bay and Franklin Streets
Building 201 Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
to the GGNRA public hearing:
Tuesday, August 29, 7:30 PM
Building 201, Upper Fort Mason at Bay and Franklin Streets.
Read the GGNRA proposal, and about the Fort Funston Dog Walkers (FFDW).
Become a member. Contribute to the legal defense fund.
San Francisco Dog Owners Group (SF DOG)
A coalition of dog owners like you, fighting for multi-use parks. More info & addresses.
Do it today, for you and your dog!