Photo Daniel Gies Flickr

Today marks the beginning of the 90-day public comment period related to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Draft Dog Management Plan. The full draft plan is now available on the web. The introduction, by Frank Dean, General Superintendent of the GGNRA, lays out the purpose of and reasons behind the proposal:

The purpose of this action is to provide a clear, enforceable policy to determine the manner and extent of dog use in appropriate areas of the park. Action is needed because under current conditions, park resources and values could be compromised to the extent that, without action, these resources and values in some areas of the park might not be available for enjoyment by future generations. Additionally, a dog management policy inconsistent with NPS regulations and increased public expectations for use of the park for dog recreation have resulted in controversy, litigation, and compromised visitor and employee safety, affecting visitor experience and resulting in resource degradation. These conflicts will likely escalate if not addressed in a comprehensive plan/EIS.

The document goes on to propose five alternative plans for 21 different dog-walking sites, including Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, Fort Baker, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, and Marin Headlands trails. The five alternatives for each site fall into the following categories:

  • (A) Does not change the current policy
  • (B) Aligns dog policy at GGNRA with the other existing National Park Service sites
  • (C) Emphasizes multiple-use and apportions dog-walking geographically
  • (D) Allows for the highest protection of “natural and cultural resources” and visitor safety
  • (E) Plans that allow for the greatest level of dog-walking access

However, for each of the 21 sites, the proposal designates a “preferred alternative.” The preferred alternative for a majority of the sites is C, which calls for more on-leash areas. Option D, the most restrictive of the no-leash options, is recommended for Muir Beach, Baker Beach, and the bluffs to the Golden Gate Bridge. For one site, Sutro Heights Park, the preference is for a less-restrictive leash policy.

Each set of alternatives also prescribes rules for commercial dog walking.

Below are GGNRA maps for some the sites. These show current areas open to dogs and also the preferred alternative, so you can compare the areas that now allow for off-leash access to the same areas under the preferred, more restrictive dog-leash policy. The first map you see will be the GGNRA’s preferred alternative, the second will be the way it is now.

A summary of the changes is available in yesterday’s News Fix post.

If you want to submit comments to the GGNRA about these plans, you can do so here.

Public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

March 2: 4 to 8 p.m., Tamalpais High Student Center, 700 Miller Ave., Mill Valley.

March 5: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., San Francisco State University, Seven Hills Conference Center, State Drive, S.F.

March 7: 4 to 8 p.m., Fort Mason Center, Building A, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, S.F.

March 9: 4 to 8 p.m. at Cabrillo School, 601 Crespi Drive, Pacifica.

KQED’s Forum will deal with this topic in its Monday show. If you miss it, the show will be archived here.

GGNRA Dog-Walking Proposal: View Maps and Public Hearing Schedule, Send a Public Comment 14 January,2011Jon Brooks

  • Todd Maxies

    There must be better control, I walk each day twice , Crissy Field is getting to be a serious mess, some folks who have so called “voice control” either have no training in this control or simply refuse to use it. Like most of us I have seen small children bowled over and the dog owner acting as if it was just an addition to americas favorite home videos episode. My dogs are mutts but better behaved then the bred to order bunch I see with their look at me masters and mistresses.

  • Maxx

    The new proposed plan by the GGNRC to ban dogs from Baker Beach and leash only at Lands End are unfair and definitely disrupt our quality of life. I am a widow with two small dogs and no car. Baker Beach is the only respite we have. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. For many years Baker Beach has been a peaceful mix of families and dogs and tourists. I have never seen any problems there and I am there several times a week. Usually, dog owners are the only ones to use the beach except the crab fishermen because of the cool weather. If there is a problem from all of the dog walkers then deal with that. Why not ban children also? They are just as disruptive, noisy and destructive as any dog and promote more trash. It is time we stop punishing all of the dogs for a few bad owners. These new policies will invite more traffic, more air pollution and certainly dirtier streets and more frustrated animals. I really do not see that these new proposals take into account the use and enjoyment of the local San Franciscans. Please, crack down on owners with no control who do not pick up after their animals, I agree. I am sure there are better ways to spend all that money than enforcing unneeded laws against honest citizens trying to enjoy their sparse free time. There must, at least, be some sort of compromise….

  • wolfjjj

    I think the people that live in the parks are more disruptive than dogs. Why not clear out that mess. I have seen caves where people are hacking away vegetation to suit their living arrangements. I agree that dog and probably people feces is gross and have no idea how to control this other than people taking personal responsibility. What if the rangers were visible enforcing these laws and someway to document or turn in owners who don’t take responsibility for their dogs behavior. More permitting and restrictions will solve the problem? Just go after the cause, the owners.


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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