GGNRA Dog plan update
GGNRA Dog Plan Suspended & Investigation Launched
The National Park Service is suspending its final decision on the GGNRA dog plan while the agency investigates staff emails brought to light via our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
There have been more developments today.
Today, the National Park Service released their public statement announcing the dog plan hold, as well as the release of 137 pages of emails from a former senior GGNRA official’s personal email account that was used for agency business in the GGNRA dog management planning process. The emails were released in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit and show questionable behind-the-scenes collaboration with a handful of external groups working to severely restrict dog walking access in the GGNRA.
These newly-released emails come on the heels of other NPS internal documents and emails received through our FOIA lawsuit showing extreme agency bias against people who walk their dogs, improper and possibly unlawful record keeping practices, and ongoing behind-the-scenes collaboration with external groups. The NPS staff emails released today and other NPS internal dog plan documents can be viewed on WoofieLeaks.com.
Broad External Investigation Needed into the Dog Plan
Given this new new information, today Congresswoman Jackie Speier announced that she has called upon the Department of the Interior Inspector General to conduct a thorough and public inquiry into improper and potentially illegal actions by National Park Services employees at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), where a National Park Service employee used a personal email account to hide deliberate collaborations with special interest groups opposed to off-leash dog walking within the GGNRA. (Click here to read the full press release.)
Marin County DOG wishes to thank Congresswoman Speier and all of you who have continued to fight the Park Service's highly restrictive dog plan over the years. Our fight is not over, but right now we are thankful that internal NPS dog plan emails and documents are coming to light and actions are being taken.
Last but not least, we are so grateful to our stellar legal team at Morrison & Foerster who is representing Save Our Recreation, SFDOG, Marin County Dog and Coastside DOG pro bono in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The draft rule has completely ignored public comments and has restricted dog access even more than their original proposal. The plan will cut where you can walk with your dog by 90%. (Keep in mind that dogs have only ever been allowed on 1% of GGNRA land.) The Park Service has also introduced entirely new restrictions and onerous permits that were never disclosed in previous drafts of the plan over the past five years.
The Park Service gives no legitimate reasons for these drastic reductions and entirely banning people with dogs in many places. They've given no scientific, site-specific evidence that dogs cause negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, or park safety. They did not address any of concerns raised by the Boards of Supervisors of all three counties with GGNRA land – San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties – who have all gone on record opposing earlier versions of the plan.
This rule will have a terrible impact on our city parks if thousands of people and their dogs are forced out of the GGNRA and into already overcrowded city parks. The final rule is expected to take effect by fall 2016.
Click for Frequently Asked Questions.
What you can do:
Less than 1% of trails and beaches in the GGNRA are dog-friendly. That means anybody who wants a dog-free experience has 99% of the 80,000 acres to play in. This rule will cut that 1% by nearly 90%.
There hasn’t been a single peer-reviewed, site-specific study (as required by law) that supports such a drastic restriction of dog-friendly areas. The Park Service gives no scientific, site-specific evidence that dogs cause negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, or park safety. They should have to prove it before they legislate it.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was set up to be a RECREATION AREA for a densely populated, urban area. These trails and beaches have been set aside for dog-walking since the original pet policy in 1979. The GGNRA is not a wilderness national park like Yellowstone and shouldn’t be managed as if it were.
If the dog management plan is adopted, Marin’s estimated 60,000 dogs will have to go somewhere — overcrowding the few dog parks available. That will create more dog-related problems than the GGNRA proposal allegedly solves.
The Park Service did not incorporate input from the thousands of Bay Area residents who submitted public comments opposing the restrictions. They did not address concerns raised by the Boards of Supervisors of all three counties with GGNRA land – San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties – who have all gone on record opposing earlier versions of the plan. These are public lands and the GGNRA needs to listen to the public.
The GGNRA has recently changed the designations of fire roads to trails in order to eliminate off-leash dog walking on them. Yet these new "trails" are still accessible to vehicles.
Learn why there has been an effort to rebrand the GGNRA as a National Park and why this designation is important to everyone, not just dog owner's. Click here.
Reminder: Never leave poop bags on the side of the trail. Always pick up after your dog.
Marin County DOG is dedicated to promoting some simple rules to ensure that everyone has a positive recreational experience. Courtesy, common sense and communication will help us keep the trails and beaches dog-friendly. Click here to learn more.