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Laura Cavaluzzo

Comments at 1/23/01 GGNRA Advisory Commission Meeting

Commissioners, Superintendent-

My name is Laura Cavaluzzo, and this is my third time standing before you to express my thoughts on this issue. I have spoken about the physical, mental and societal benefits of off-leash recreation, and about how very much the Golden Gate National Recreation Area means to my quality of life. I've skewered the National Park Service's Fort Funston Bank Swallow Protection Plan, using the research and words of the government's own scientists. And my statements, and those of thousands of my fellow San Franciscans, have apparently made no impact on you at all. So, this time, rather than try to tell you anything, I'm going to ask you some questions instead. And I'll be very interested to hear any answers you might have.

How can you call our off-leash dogs an environmental threat after what the Park Service itself has done to our beach at Crissy Field?

How can you recommend our banishment from Fort Funston under the guise of eco-preservation while sanctioning the bulldozing of habitat Fort Baker to build a hotel?

How can you call yourselves a Citizens' Advisory Commission, when some of you are former employees of, and most of you are appointed by, the very department you are supposed to be monitoring?

How can you claim to be a liaison between the citizens and the Park Service, when you so blithely dismiss the needs and concerns of thousands of citizens without so much as a word of explanation?

How can you say that off-leash recreation is illegal in National Parks, when 45 National Parks allow dogs off leash for the purpose of hunting?

How can you say that the 1979 Pet Policy was never in force when letters from Park Service Regional Director Stanley Albright to Senators Cranston and Seymour confirmed that it was the guiding policy on these lands as recently as 1992.

And, finally, why, when this policy has been in force for more than 20 years, are you suddenly in such a rush to rescind it?

When we gave the National Park Service our beaches and bluffs, the citizens of San Francisco were promised that our recreational access to these lands would be protected. Instead, the Park Service has taken the Recreation out of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and replaced it with artificial native habitats we must look at from behind fences, hotels in which we have no need or desire nor the wherewithal to stay and trails and beaches we can not enjoy with our dogs. Your job was supposed to be to ensure that this kind of abuse never happened. If you can't, or won't, do that, then we, the citizens of San Francisco, request that you step down.

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