My Heart Is Broken     by J. Davis   April 15, 2000

I was not able to be at the 14 April court hearing because I was having a facet nerve block at that exact time (needles injecting fluid into my spine), although I was with all of you in spirit. I am terribly upset about the closure of the Sunset Trail and I want to do everything I can to help the Fort Funston Dog Walkers fight this issue.

My story: I moved to this area in the Fall of 1998 and immediately fell in love with Fort Funston. I feel a special calling to that place; it's one of my favorite spots on this planet. My husband and I are allergic to dogs, but we love getting out and watching all the dogs bounding over the hills filled with joy at their freedom. The views of the Pacific and the sky are stunning, and the park is quiet and safe.

Fort Funston took on a new meaning for me in September of 1999 when I herniated a disk and became disabled. Because I cannot sit without incapacitating pain, I am unable to work. As part of my physical therapy, when I could still walk, I was walking almost daily on the Sunset Trail, which was level (I cannot walk up slopes) and paved (I cannot walk in uneven sand) and had the kind of scenery that would drag me out of my depression and pain and get me to exercise. Then I became too injured to even do that, and I did not make it to Fort Funston for months. But I always counted on the Sunset Trail to be there when I was able to learn to walk again. I was deeply dismayed to find out that it has been closed. I went up a week or so ago to view the convergence of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars with the moon, and walked out on the trail to see for myself where the pavement ended and where mere sand--opened at that time to dog walkers--remained. It sickened me.

I believe that this may be a valid Americans with Disabilities Act issue, because my access to the park is now nearly void. (Most other trails involve hills and stairs, I believe; that was the only level, paved section.) Even though I am not in a wheelchair, I am unable to walk my beloved park now. A wheelchair-bound person is more visually obviously but similarly screwed in terms of access now.

This is all somewhat ironic for me because I am a beginning birder myself. I want the needs of dogs, humans, and swallows and other birds to be balanced. But I do not feel that all of these needs were taken into consideration in the behind-closed-doors process used by the Park Service. I agree with the Fort Funston Dog Walkers that this issue needs to be decided in the public domain with more studies.

Thank you for keeping the web site up-to-date; it was a relief to be able to log on today, one day after the hearing, and to read such a thorough description of what happened. I learned about this whole issue from your website in the first place, since I hadn't been to Fort Funston since January (when I went with my parents right before my first injection procedure, hobbling out just to the deck). Anyway, your website probably has impact that you never imagined, and thanks again for the obvious hard work that's gone into it.

I will be sending my donation check to the legal fund today and would be happy to help out as much as I can given my limited mobility. Thank you for taking up the cause and organizing so well. It isn't just the dog walkers who are affected, although I am still amazed by the strength and persistence of how you have all organized to save the park for all of us.

Comments? Click here

see also:

Bluff Failures on the Sunset Trail

A.D.A.: Ten .....  Sunset Trail: Zero

Comments at GGNRA Advisory Commission meeting 3/21/2000
-- especially those of John Cranshaw, Jeff Ward & Florence Sarrett.

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