GGNRA is conducting a planning process to decide how best to manage dog walking in parks. The overall purpose of GGNRA's dog management planning is to determine the manner and extent of dog walking in appropriate areas of the park, provide a clear, enforceable dog management policy, provide a variety of visitor experiences, improve visitor and employee safety, reduce user conflicts and preserve and protect natural and cultural resources and natural processes.
The six alternatives for each park are listed on the park planning website. In some cases, the alternative to protect park resources the most recommends no dogs on the parkland at all.
The plan for Sweeney Ridge, for example, includes dogs either on leash on all trails except the Notch Trail, which is closed to dogs, or no dogs allowed at all. There are two alternatives, however, which would 1) allow dogs on leash on Sneath Lane, Sweeney Ridge Road from Portola Discovery site to Notch Trail, and Mori Ridge Trail or 2) allow dogs on leash on Sneath Lane and Sweeney Ridge Trail between Portola Discovery Site and Nike Missile Site. Still, three out of the six alternatives for Sweeney Ridge recommend no dogs.
Yet the "preferred alternative" on all plans are a compromise of allowing dogs but on leash and in specific designated areas only.
Take the separate plans for Rancho Corral, for example, which are:
A: The “no-action” plan. This leaves regulations as they currently are, without any amendments. Under the current plan, all of Rancho Corral is a leash-required area, which is the countrywide precedent for dog walking in national parks.
B: This plan reduces the area in which owners are allowed to walk their dogs to two on-leash areas near Montara and El Granada. There are no off-leash areas marked in this plan.
C: This plan keeps the same on-leash areas but adds a small square in Montara for regulated off-leash dog walking.
D: On leash on the two existing San Mateo County trails: Old San Pedro Mountain Road and the Farallon Cutoff in Montara.
E: This plan is identical to C, with large on-leash areas and one small off-leash section.
F: This is the preferred plan, according to GGNRA. This plan is the same as B, allowing two large areas for leashed dog walking.
This final plan includes leash walking in seven specific areas in which safety is not compromised and resources expended are minimal, on-leash requirements in many areas of the park, and no dog walking at all in any areas where impacts are “unacceptable” and difficult to mitigate.
The GGNRA is taking public comment through Dec. 4. The draft plan/SEIS is available for review and comment here. Call (415) 561-4728 for information or attend the next meeting 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 4, at Farallone View Elementary School, 1100 LeConte Ave., Montara.
A copy of the draft plan/SEIS is also available at the Pacifica Sharp Park Library and Half Moon Bay Library.
By Winter 2015 the GGNRA plans to have the final rule and incorporate public comment on the proposed rule into the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with implementation beginning 30 days after the rule is published.
Are you afraid the National Park Service will overly restrict a dog walker's ability to utilize the Golden Gate National Recreation's parkland? Tell us why in the comments.